Speaking with the Police. Which police questions do I have to answer?
One of the main techniques that Police in South Australia use to investigate criminal and traffic offences is questioning.
It can be very intimidating being asked questions by the Police, especially if you are unfamiliar with Police procedures and Criminal Law. Police can ask members of the public any question they like and do not need any statutory authority to do so. People often think they have to answer these questions.
The general rule, however, is that you do not have to answer Police questions.
There a few exceptions to this general rule. To help you know your rights, our Expert Adelaide Criminal Lawyers have put together a list of:
“Police Questions You Have to Answer”
- Request for Personal Particulars
If a Police Officer requests your “personal particulars” you must provide them. Failure to answer this question is an offence. However, you only need to provide
- Your full name
- Date of Birth
- Business Address (if you have one)
A request for personal particulars does not mean you have to provide your
- Mobile phone number
- Personal particulars of another person
- Car registration
If the Police suspect that you have provided a false detail they can ask you to produce evidence in the form of an ID. You also have the right to request the identity of the Police officer. They must produce Police ID or state their surname, rank and identification number to you.
- Questions about the Driver or Owner of a Vehicle
You must answer questions put to you by Police about who was driving a vehicle and who was the owner of the vehicle at a particular date and time. Refusing to answer or answering these questions untruthfully is an offence.
- Licensed Premises – Questions about Proof of Age
Police can require you to provide personal particulars, including your date of birth, if you are at a pub, nightclub, hotel or other licensed premises. If the Police suspect that you have provided a false detail they can ask you to produce evidence in the form of an ID.
- At the Airport – Questions from Customs
If a customs officer questions you about the import or export of goods, you must answer their questions. This includes before you get on a plane, while you are on board or after you have landed.
- Public Transport – Drivers, Conductors and Police Officers
The fifth exception relates to trams, buses and trains. If you are requested to leave any of these vehicles because of intoxication, bad behavior or other reasons and the driver, conductor or a Police officer asks, you must provide your personal particulars.
If you have possession of a firearm, or you are in a car, house, boat or aircraft when a firearm or ammunition is found, then you have to tell Police your personal particulars, whether you are the owner and if are you not, who is the owner.
If you have been arrested or police have spoken to you about an offence, it is essential that you get immediate expert legal advice. Our team of Criminal Lawyers and Traffic Lawyers at Williams Barristers and Solicitors will stand with you, give you forthright advice and protect your rights.