A record of interview (also known as a police interview), broadly describes a process where police will question a person about a crime they are alleged to have committed.
If police are investigating an indictable offence (e.g., theft, robbery, trafficking, fraud or assault charges), they will conduct a Record of Interview, where the police officer puts the allegations to the person accused of an offence.
Record of Interview: Allegations and Questioning of Suspects
If there are criminal allegations against you, a police officer may ask you to attend a police station for an interview regarding the allegations.
Generally, this is not an arrest but a “taking into custody”. Under the Crimes Act (Vic), police must read you your rights and, if necessary, explain them before they can question you.
When an interview is over, the law enforcement officer may release you without charge. This can be pending a summons, or bail to attend a court hearing. Sometimes, your answer is sufficient and the result will be no charges.
For more information about a record of interview, please see our frequently asked questions.
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What Are Your Rights in a Police Interview?
Before going into a police interview, it is important to understand your rights.
- You will have the opportunity to contact a lawyer. It is important to obtain legal advice before you
commence an interview.
- Police must provide an interpreter if you request one or if your English is limited.
- If you are under 18 then a support person (parent, guardian or independent adult) must attend.
- If you have a cognitive or mental disability, an independent third person must attend.
- The law allows you to refuse to answer any police interview questions. You have a right to maintain silence and give a “no comment” interview.
- Inform you in sufficient detail about the allegations.
- Provide information about the circumstances of the alleged incident.
But, police do not need to:
- Disclose all information.
- Be specific about what offence you may have committed.
- Tell you if they have obtained witness statements and forensic evidence. It is not unusual for investigating officials to have made significant enquiries before they question you.
The Police Interview Procedure – What You Need to Know
Overview of the Police Interview Procedure
- The police will read out your rights in a ‘caution’.
- These are for your protection. If you do not understand, ask them to explain in more detail.
- One of your rights at this time is to call a lawyer. Use this right and call a lawyer straight away.
- You will be asked for your name and address. You must provide this information.
- After you have provided your name and address, you have the right to remain silent and complete a ‘no comment’ interview’.
- If you choose to remain silent, do that for every question and answer with the words, “On legal advice I decline to answer” or “No comment”.
- If you choose to respond to questions, be careful as your answers can be used against you later. Prosecutors may use your answers to questions in a police interview recording in court.
- After the interview, police may:
- Release you, without charge
- Release you, and then charge you later
- Release you, and give you a notice to appear in court within 14 days
- Charge you, but release you on bail
- Charge you and keep you in custody
Police Interview Recordings
For an indictable offence, police are likely to record the conversation using an electronic device. This can be used as evidence in court.
If the police interview you, they will provide a copy of this recording to you.
Be Prepared For a Police Interview and Contact a Lawyer Early
Before attending a record of interview, it is important to think about your approach. Ensuring this is discussed with a lawyer prior to attending is paramount, as this will allow you to make an informed decision about how to approach the interview. This can be particularly important in sexual offence cases, as well as in serious traffic cases, such as culpable driving.
Seeking out legal advice prior to attending means that you can carefully consider your options. This may well make a real difference to your ability to defend any allegations, if police lay charges against you.
Please note, even if you plan on making an admission in an interview, speaking to a lawyer prior is still relevant.
Slades and Parsons: Criminal Law and Defence Experts
Slades & Parsons are highly experienced in giving people advice before attending a police interview. Our lawyers will provide sound and sensible advice about how you should approach your interview, ensuring you are well equipped before attending.
If you are eligible under the Victoria Legal Aid guidelines, we can represent you on Legal Aid funding for an offence punishable by imprisonment.
Contact us today to speak to an accredited lawyer.
Record of Interview – Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a record of interview?
- Can you be released without charge after a record of interview?
- What if English is a second language?
- Can minors be interviewed by the police?
- How long does the police interview last?
- Can the police charge you without interviewing you?
- Can you refuse a police interview?
- Can police tell you why they’re interviewing you?