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Understanding the procedure at the Police Station

November 29, 2019 by in category News with 0 and 0
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Understanding the procedure at the Police Station / Your rights to an interpreter whilst at the Police Station- By Justyna Blazewicz

If you are detained at the police station and English is not your first language you have the right to request an interpreter. This needs to be provided free of charge.

This fundamental right to understand the proceedings and to have a fair trial, derives from the Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Know your rights in your own language

Whilst at the police station, as a detained person, you must be told about your rights and subsequently given written notice of those rights. You are also entitled to ask for the written notice of your rights in your own language.

One of those rights should be an access to an interpreter, if you don’t speak or understand English.

It is the police responsibility to make sure you understand why you are being detained, what is required of you, and what is going to happen.

The police are required to inform you of any decision to keep you in custody after you have been detained, in your own language, yet many people don’t understand the reason for their detention, simply because of the language barrier.

In some circumstances, the police officer will refuse to provide you with access to an interpreter, when they think you have ‘some’ understanding of English and you can make ‘basic’ conversation. However, ‘basic’ understanding often isn’t enough.

We have successfully defended cases where the detainee’s first language wasn’t English and although they could have a ‘basic’ conversation with the officers, it wasn’t sufficient for them to understand the procedure in full.

Often, when it comes to drink or drug driving procedures, the officers have to use very specific and technical language, which isn’t always easy to understand, particularly if English isn’t your first language.

Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) 1984

The role of the interpreter at the police station is governed by Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984. This act sets out powers of the police in England and Wales and it also provides codes of practice for exercise of those powers.

Any breach of the Act or the Codes by the police could result in the evidence being excluded under section 78 of PACE. The court might refuse to allow the prosecution evidence, if it appears that “…the admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court ought not to admit it.”

This also relates to the drink and drug driving procedures at the police station, where you haven’t understood the questions or statements, even if your answers to any of the questions could have been positive and you appeared to have some understanding of English.

How can Geoffrey Miller Solicitors help you?

At Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, we understand the impact that a driving disqualification can have. Our expert knowledge of this area of law, combined with our selected advocates who attend court with you will ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

It is extremely important to carefully review the evidence in every case, because even if on the face of it you think you might be guilty of the offence, there might be some procedural issues, such as a lack of an interpreter and lack of understanding of the procedure, that might result in a defence to your charge. At Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, we regularly employ technical legal defence strategies that lead to high levels of success in achieving a full acquittal to any charges.

More About The Author – Justyna Blazewicz

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are proud to announce Justyna’s appointment as a solicitor and member of our legal team.

After completing her Law and Criminology Degree in 2013, she began working for a multi service law firm assisting clients in her native, Polish language. After a year in the law industry, she commenced the Legal Practice Course alongside her training contract. She completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice with a distinction and shortly after, in January 2017 she qualified as a solicitor.

Justyna explains about her career move to the firm:

“I quickly became aware that criminal law was my passion. I assisted my clients with various matters including motoring offences, sexual offences, assaults and extradition proceedings. In 2019 I decided to move away from general crime, as I wanted to specialise in a niche area of motoring law. I was pleased to be offered a place at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, where I work alongside the country’s leading motoring law experts.

I am proud to share the same values as my colleagues in the team, treating our clients as ‘Kings’ and making sure that our excellent service derives not only from thorough preparation of the case, but also our positive working environment, where teamwork is the key.”Justyna Blazewicz

Justyna is able to assist with any Polish or English speaking enquirers who require input on the options available with a motoring case.

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