FAQs

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions Page.

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Featured FAQ

The Police came to my door with a search warrant; what do I do?

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You should not take advice from a police officer about Court process or likely penalty. Even if a police officer tells you “you don’t need a lawyer”, it would be wise to seek out independent advice.

Even where matters may seem minor in nature, e.g. drink driving, there are often pitfalls for inexperienced persons appearing on their own behalf in Court.

If you would like initial advice on whether you should have a lawyer represent you at your next Court hearing, contact our firm and one of our solicitors will be able to discuss the matter with you.

If investigating more serious offences known as indictable offences, police can hold a person for questioning and investigation of the offence for up to 8 hours. Within that time period, you are entitled to ask to contact a friend, family member or legal representative.

Our firm can be contacted 24 hours a day for emergency legal advice. You should delay any interview until advice can be obtained from a lawyer. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and refuse to partake in an interview.

If you are required to go to Court by either a Notice to Appear or a complaint and summons, this information may be of use to you.  This information is about what might happen at your first Court appearance.

Anyone charged with an offence will ordinarily appear in the Magistrates Court first before their charge proceeds to any other Court or jurisdiction.  The type of charge you are facing will determine whether or not you need to go to a District or Supreme Court or whether you can remain in the Magistrates Court to have your matter finalised.

On your first Court date, if you do not have a lawyer, it can be extremely daunting.  You should turn up early to your Court date.  Missing a Court date may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

Once you are in the Courthouse, you should find the Courtroom and approach the Prosecutor or the Court staff who may be able to assist you.  Speak with the person about what you intend to do.

If you are speaking with a Prosecutor prior to Court, either a Police Prosecutor or a representative from the Director of Public Prosecutions, you should be very brief about what you tell that person if you intend to plead not guilty.  We have had the experience of people not understanding that the person they were speaking to was the Prosecutor.  You could be careful to ensure you know who you are speaking with and their role within the Court system.

If the Prosecutor or a Court staff members indicates to you that you should or could plead guilty, you should understand that a plea of guilty must be made of your own free will.  If you do not understand what you are pleading guilty to, you should obtain legal advice.

If you are facing Court and even if you think the charge is minor, it is important that you obtain legal advice to understand what penalty or outcome you might be facing.  The impact of criminal convictions are extremely far reaching and may effect your employment, your travel plans or your lifestyle in a way you did not anticipate.  If you are unsure or concerned about how your charges might impact on your life, you should seek legal advice.

If you want to put your matter off to another date, you should seek an adjournment.  When your matter is brought on before the Magistrate, be respectful and confirm to the Court that you are the defendant.  Ask for an adjournment and say to the Magistrate why you want the adjournment.  A good example of a reason why you might want an adjournment is to obtain legal advice.  If you say that you will be obtaining legal advice you should ensure that you do so because if you go to Court again and have not obtained advice, the Court might be critical of you.

Once you ask the Court for an adjournment the Magistrate will decide whether to grant it for you.  The Magistrate, if they grant the adjournment, is likely to then place you on a bail undertaking.  A bail undertaking is a promise to come back to Court and comply with any conditions on your bail undertaking.  You must sign your bail undertaking before you leave Court.  If you do not sign it, a warrant may be issued for your arrest and you will be arrested by Police and brought back before the Court.

At Robertson O’Gorman we represent people in relation to all charges, both simple or minor offences and major or serious offences.  It is important for each person before a Court to understand their options before they go to Court.

If you or a family member requires legal advice, please contact one of our solicitors today.

If you have a question you would like to ask one of our solicitors please contact us today.

If you are questioned by a police officer in relation to a possible offence, you are only obliged to inform police of your name and address. Police can also ask for proof of identity.

You should NOT answer any other questions put to you by police until you are able to contact a lawyer.

You should be aware that police will often record their conversations with you from their first point of contact. You should not answer any questions until you speak with a lawyer, now matter how innocent the questioning may seem.

Often our clients find themselves in circumstances where they have either been charged or are about to be charged with a criminal offence. Police will typically request the client to participate in a record of interview.

We strongly advise that clients NOT participate in any record of interview without first contacting a lawyer.

In some circumstances police will inform suspects that if they participate in a record of interview they will be released. Do not be persuaded by this advice, seek proper advice from a lawyer first.

Police are able to search your house with a warrant. Under section 118 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act the Police are required to show you a copy of this warrant.

There are also circumstances where police can enter and search your premises without a warrant including;

-to make an arrest

-to attend a crime scene

-situations of domestic violence

-to carry about breath tests in traffic offence investigations

-to locate someone who has escaped from prison or arrest

-to search if they reasonably suspect there is evidence which may otherwise be hidden or destroyed

-to prevent an out-of-control event

In any case a police officer may only stay for the reasonable time required for them to carry out any investigations, observations or questioning.

In the absence of a warrant or any of the above reasons, police do not have an automatic right to enter your home. In this case you can refuse them entry by clearly stating you do not consent to the police officer remaining on any part of your land or property.

If police are searching your house it is advisable not to answer any questions until you seek legal advice as although not a formal interview your answers can still form evidence. Apart from providing your name, date of birth and address you do not need to answer questions or assist the police in their search.

Police can search your car in some circumstances.

A police officer can stop you on the road and search your vehicle and any passengers if they reasonably suspect that there may be item in the vehicle such;

  • A dangerous drug;
  • A weapon;
  • Property that has been stolen;
  • Items that could be used to commit an offence or harm either yourself or someone else.

They are also able to stop, detain and search your vehicle if they;

  • Have cause to and are seeking to arrest you;
  • If they have a reasonable suspicion the vehicle is being used unlawfully or as part of participation in a criminal organisation.

A police officer may take the vehicle if it is impracticable to conduct a search where the vehicle was originally stopped.

If you are arrested, police do have the power to search you and they may confiscate property you have with you at the time, such as a mobile phone.

If police ask to go through your phone you may refuse consent.

The police will then have to seek a warrant to search that specific property but can seize it in the interim. You should recieve a receipt for any property taken by the police.

Police can also obtain orders from the court requiring you to release your security passwords or codes to allow them access to your phone or device.

‘Identifying particulars’ are details which can confirm someone’s identity such as fingerprints or photographic identification.

Police can request these details and issue a notice to provide the particulars under section 470 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act (PPRA). They may do this on the spot at a police station or issue you a notice. The notice will require you to attend a police station within 7 days and allow an officer to take photographs and fingerprints.

If you have been issued with an Identifying Particulars Notice it is a good idea to seek legal advice in the 7 day period. For some minor offences you may not need to provide the details however if the police require you to you must comply or risk a contravening orders offence.

For indictable offences the Police may issue a “DNA Sample Notice” under section 482 of the PPRA.

You have to go with the police if you are being formally arrested for an offence or you are being formally detained for questioning about an indictable offence.

You can also be required to go to a police station for a blood/breath test in relation to a drink/ drug driving offence.

If police ask you to accompany them to the station in a circumstance distinct from those above then you can decline to go with them.

If you have been asked to attend a police station for any reason it is best to seek legal advice before attending.