Discovering that a friend or close family member has been arrested can be a distressing and bewildering experience. In such challenging times, it is crucial to understand both the rights of the person arrested and the rights of their loved ones. This article explores the steps to take when faced with such a situation, addressing legal considerations, mental health concerns, and the role of support.

Supporting your loved ones:

Providing Emotional Support:

The shock of an arrest can be overwhelming for both the arrested individual and their family. It is essential to remain composed and offer emotional support. Whether present during the arrest, communicating over the phone, or visiting them at a holding facility, staying calm can help your loved one navigate the challenging days ahead.

Assistance in Legal Matters:

Assure your family member that you will help them find legal representation, this support is critical, as their future may be on the line. By showing unwavering support, you can assist them in making rational decisions about their case.

Addressing Mental Health Concerns:

Informing Authorities:

If your family member has mental health issues, a physical illness, or a disability, it is vital to inform the arresting officers immediately. Knowing where they are being taken is crucial for subsequent contacts with the facility.

Communicate with Watchhouse Staff:

Contact the watchhouse where they are held, providing detailed information about your family member’s condition and diagnosis. Share any behaviours that may be of concern. Additionally, provide documentation of their mental health issues to the facility.

Medication Needs:

If your loved one requires medication, inform the police about their specific condition and prescribed medications. You may be allowed to bring the medication to the holding facility with proper documentation and packaging.

Understanding the Arrest Process:

No Advance Notice:

The police are not obligated to provide advance notice of an arrest. It is crucial to be prepared for the formal arrest, detainment, and questioning.

During Arrest:

If present during the arrest, gather details of the officers and the destination. Avoid contacting witnesses or offering explanations to the police. Remember that no one should provide a statement or information to a police officer without legal advice.

Police Interview:

The accused has the right to request a support person and a lawyer during a police interview. It is strongly advised not to talk to the police without legal counsel. You have the right to remain silent.

After the Arrest:

Watchhouse Location:

The accused will be taken to a local watchhouse. Knowing which watchhouse is crucial, as locations may overlap.

Role of a Lawyer:

Obtaining legal representation is paramount. A lawyer can protect the accused’s rights, explore possible defences, seek bail, and provide essential guidance throughout the legal process.

What can I do to help?

In the face of police questioning or an arrest involving a family member – be it a spouse, son, brother, or any close relation – securing the services of a lawyer emerges as the single most crucial action one can take, and the urgency of this matter cannot be overstated.

Time is of the essence in such situations, and a lawyer can swiftly engage with law enforcement officers, advocating for the rights of the family member and providing essential legal counsel.

It is imperative to recognize that individuals under investigation may inadvertently utter statements to the police that could potentially lead to their being found guilty of an offence. This scenario unfolds frequently, where an arrested person, in their attempt to prove innocence, unknowingly discloses information that may have adverse consequences, such as:

  • Admitting to some or all elements necessary for an offence conviction.
  • Undermining the lawyer’s ability to negotiate with the prosecutor for charge withdrawal or reduction.
  • Hampering the deployment of a valid defence during trial.

Instances abound where ordinary citizens in Queensland engage with the police and, as a consequence, find themselves convicted of offences. Many of these cases could have been prevented had individuals invoked their right to silence.

It bears repeating emphatically: DO NOT TALK TO POLICE without seeking legal advice. This precautionary measure can safeguard the legal interests and rights of individuals facing police questioning or arrest, preventing unintended self-incrimination and contributing to a more robust defence strategy.

What if they do not get Bail?

In the unfortunate event that bail is not granted, the family member will be compelled to remain in custody until the resolution of their charges, unless bail is later approved by a judge of the Supreme Court.

Subsequently, they will be transferred to a prison or remand centre at the earliest opportunity, a process that may take several days to complete. To ascertain their location once in custody, individual can utilize the search for prisoner form.

Upon their arrival at the prison, arrangements ban be made for family members to, providing an opportunity for face-to-face communication. Additionally, the family member will typically be granted the ability to make phone calls, to foster an ongoing connection during this challenging time.

The First Court Appearance

After first court appearance, may not be for several weeks. You will be able to attend the court on that date unless it is a closed court. Your family member will likely appear by video link not in person.

Coping with Stress:

Seek Professional Help:

The stress of a family member’s arrest is understandably overwhelming. It is advisable for family members to seek professional help and not bear the burden alone.

Coping with Incarceration:

Life slows down for the incarcerated, causing stress. Family members can help by maintaining hope without giving false expectations. Legal questions should be directed to the lawyer.

Discovering that a family member has been arrested is a challenging ordeal, but understanding your rights and the legal process can significantly impact the outcome. Providing emotional support, addressing mental health concerns, seeking legal representation, and managing stress collectively contribute to a more informed and resilient approach in navigating through such difficult times.

Our team specialise in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.