Interview under caution; What does it mean? Should I go? Do I need a Solicitor?
A police interview under caution at is also known as a ‘Caution plus 3’ interview, or a voluntary interview. You will usually be contacted by a police officer who will ask you to come to the police station at a certain time because they want to talk to you about an offence, usually a fairly minor one or something that happened a while ago. Sometimes they will tell you they just ‘want a quick chat’. Even if you are not under arrest, what you say or don’t say in your interview is still important. It can make a big difference to the outcome of your case, so you should still have a solicitor.
Interview under caution; your rights
We will make arrangements for you to attend the police station at an appointed time. Everyone is entitled to free and independent legal advice, so we will attend the police station with you. You still have the right not to answer any questions. However, what you say in your interview can be used at Court, if your case gets that far.
You are free to leave at any time, although if you leave before the interview there is the danger that you could be arrested. If you attend the police station as a volunteer you should not be arrested, unless the officer can show that one of the grounds for arrest exists. You probably won’t be searched and you won’t have your DNA and fingerprints taken. You will not have to go into a cell.
Before the interview
Before you are interviewed, the police officer will give your solicitor ‘disclosure’. They will tell us what you have been arrested for, and give us a summary of the evidence. We will then speak to you in private before you are interviewed. Your lawyer will tell you what you are going to be questioned about and what evidence the police have. We will advise you on the law and if you should be answering the questions or not.
During the interview
Even if you are not under arrest, what you say or don’t say in your police interview is still important. If you end up in court many months later, the Judge and jury, or magistrates, will know what you said or didn’t say in your interview and will pay close attention to it. If you do the right thing in your interview, you might not even get to court. You might be given a caution or your case might be dealt with in another way that means you don’t have to go to court. You might not even be charged. It can make a big difference to the outcome of your case, so you should still have a solicitor.
After the interview
Following your police interview, you will be free to leave. The Police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will then decide how to proceed. Should they decide that there is sufficient evidence against you and that you should go to Court, then you will be sent a summons in the post. The summons will detail the charge against you and will give you the date to attend Court.
If you have any questions or you want us to assist you in arranging a voluntary interview, please contact us on 0207 388 1658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask to speak to one of our experienced criminal lawyers.
John Howey, senior solicitor
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.