Home > Ask Our Experts > Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 26 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Charge Caution Offence Interview Police

Q.Can you be charged with an offence if you have never been interviewed under caution about it?

(Mrs A.I, 22 September 2008)

A.

This is a thorny issue and has been the subject of a great deal of court cases and newspaper articles. The Police are required to follow stringent procedures when dealing with a suspected offender. On many occasions offenders are detained by the Police under their stop and search procedures, they can then, if they have a valid reason to suspect it, arrest you for having committed or being in the process of committing a crime. What it comes down to is evidence, if you have been caught during the commission of a crime then you can be arrested on the spot, charged at the police station and interviewed under caution. If they have only a suspicion and no evidence then they can interview you voluntarily or under caution, then charge you.

If you have been arrested, you must be cautioned and interviewed ‘under caution’, at which time you will have the right to legal representation. Once they have concluded their questioning they must either charge or release you. In some circumstances they can ask a magistrate or crown court judge to give them permission to keep you in detention for longer than the normal 24 hours.

Once you have been charged you must be produced before a magistrates court at the earliest opportunity where you can either be committed for trial (if you plead not guilty) or for sentencing (if you plead guilty), for minor offences the magistrates could sentence you there and then but their powers are limited and the majority of them seem to prefer the sentencing to be dealt with by a higher court, for more serious offences.

Sometimes people can be asked to attend the police station voluntarily to help with their enquiries. This will be done without a caution and you are free to leave at any time. If, from the result of your answers, they believe that you may have been involved in a crime, they must then caution you and proceed with a formal interview followed by charge if appropriate.

One point that must be stressed is that you are entitled to legal representation; it is highly recommended that you avail yourself of this right at the earliest time. Do not let yourself be fooled into believing that you don’t need a solicitor or have the right to remain silent. The act of staying quiet can be construed against you so, if in doubt, seek legal advice.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I was cautioned and charged with an allegation about a racist comment on social media, I didn't do it but had commented on the post about the person that they were discussing. It was Feb 16 the police told me at the time that it would probably get thrown out. I have heard nothing about this its been well over a year now. Can I still be summoned to court & will I have a criminal record that will show up on disclosure checks?
Dolphin - 26-Mar-17 @ 12:27 AM
I had cpu at my home the day after police officers attended..to ask questions thay asked me to attend at the police station as we couldn't really talk with small children so that asked me to get a sitter I took them to my parents.I was under the impression it was just a volunteer interview thay repeated questions over I'd already answered so I got up to leave the room as I thought I could.thay then arrested me locked me up & while I was locked up thay went into the sealed bag with my house car keys etc took my house keys & went to my home striped my childrens beds ect took black & white photos after 2hrs called my dad to get clothing for children to stay over night iv been done for neglect & S's removed my children...is it right how this was done as thay could of took pictures while I was there & asked permission or even called my dad to let them in & be there while thay did it..or got a warrant staged photos
Littlebird - 10-Feb-17 @ 2:07 AM
I was caught shoplifting in m and s i was detained round the back with plain clothes officers store detective and then an eventual pcso on foot who when he got there read my rights and wrote down what i had taken, things from that store and also things from two other stores. Which i had to sign. Checked all my details and id were correct and then said an officer will attend my address at a later date! I asked if i would be arrested when he came to my address and he said not likely but they will come out to issue a fine. Im terrified and dont know what to expect and when they are coming, yes i have done wrong so please only helpful comments you dont know my life
Completeidiot - 19-Jan-17 @ 6:14 PM
Jinty - Your Question:
In march/april 2016 money went missing at work totalling £278. In June the area manager highlighted it to me. I went to the bank who then credited the money into the account. The bank then said the payin slips had been tampered with and debited the money back out of the account. I contacted my area manger who on June 21st suspended and on 12th August I was summarily dismissed with them thinking I stole the money which I never. The police called on 12th August asked me to go in and see them which I did they explained what would happen they took all my details no fingerprints though told me I could speak to a lawyer. The lawyer said to give a no comment interview as there was no evidence no cctv available from the bank. The policeman asked me about the what had happened. Gave me back my belongings and said he'd be in touch I haven't heard anything back. This has been a truly terrible time for me I never stole the money but as I was the only paid staff member I feel they dismissed me although the store had volunteers coming and going. My question is how long til the police contact me again?? Sorry for the long and winded story I'm just at my wits end now

Our Response:
Wereally don't know the answer to this. Your lawyer (who was with you at the time of the interview) should be able to tell you this.
AboutHumanRights - 17-Jan-17 @ 10:37 AM
In march/april 2016 money went missing at work totalling £278. In June the area manager highlighted it to me. I went to the bank who then credited the money into the account. The bank then said the payin slips had been tampered with and debited the money back out of the account. I contacted my area manger who on June 21st suspended and on 12th August I was summarily dismissed with them thinking I stole the money which I never. The police called on 12th August asked me to go in and see them which I did they explained what would happen they took all my details no fingerprints though told me I could speak to a lawyer. The lawyer said to give a no comment interview as there was no evidence no cctv available from the bank. The policeman asked me about the what had happened. Gave me back my belongings and said he'd be in touch I haven't heard anything back. This has been a truly terrible time for me I never stole the money but as I was the only paid staff member I feel they dismissed me although the store had volunteers coming and going. My question is how long til the police contact me again?? Sorry for the long and winded story I'm just at my wits end now
Jinty - 16-Jan-17 @ 10:03 AM
I meant to say theres 100% no chance of them seeing me take them this was a few months ago as the camera only looks onto the fire exit, most of them were losing cards i did cash a few in how long is cctv retained for? Either way from my side it was morally long and i want to own up,what to do?Should i go to advice beareau or do you think if i voluntarily speak to an officer and give money that she/ he can directly speak to them on my behalf and maybe negotiate so that they wont need to take matters further my paranoia and anxiety level is at an all time high please someone advise me what i should do.
Reñny - 19-Dec-16 @ 11:33 PM
Right i been suffering fromdepression, i have good days and very dark days, i work in a shop and sell alot of scratch cards and lotto after i started here, i became addicted to scratchcards and just one day when i was having a bad day while i was putting something back, i saw a whole stash but i dont know what got into me i ended up nicking 2-3 packs after cashing it in the guilt kicked in i cant live like this move was totally out of character for me no-one suspected anything yet and im due to leave this job soon, what would happen if i voluntarily admit what i did and pay them direct i really dont want to a criminal record theres no camera to show i took them but therrs cameras cashing them in if i arrange a meeting with a police officer will they be understanding of my situation i just dont want to be randomly arrested at my new job or in front of family im not confident so the oublic humiliation can make me vulnerable and break me help:( or can i write a direct letter to my employer confessing and post a wad of cash and ask them to please accept my apology.As they were nice people but im not sure how nice they will be after this.
Reñny - 19-Dec-16 @ 11:21 PM
My boss phoned me today and said a customer had made a complaint to the police , saying that £200 Has gone missing from his bedroom but I never went in there. I was working in the property11 days ago but it took until today to speak to the officer who said to come in this week sometime
Petes - 19-Dec-16 @ 8:01 PM
I lost my lost because I did fraudulent refund at work. I have admit to everything and I have want to pay it all back. I have the money I s Didn't spend it. Now the police is dealing with the case how long will I hear from them? How will they contact me? Will I know the outcome once the police call me in for a interview? Or will I have to go back again and see them? Silly Girl ??
D - 12-Dec-16 @ 10:34 AM
Hi the police came to my house today and asked me to go to a voluntary interview next week regarding an incident outside my house were a taxi driver dragged my friend out of the car after having an altercation with her then he grabbed her arms so I ran over and pushed him to get him off her but my friend did punch him a few times after he pulled her about what do you think will happen please
Leanne - 1-Dec-16 @ 10:05 PM
Can I be convinced of a crime without beingcaution by police
Leedslad4462 - 1-Dec-16 @ 7:25 PM
Stupidgirl - Your Question:
I stole £300 from my employer. They have cctv footage so I admitted it. I lost my job. And now the police want me to attend a voluntary interview under caution. He said on the phone to me "you've admitted to this". I stupidly said yes. I have a lawyer meeting me there for the interview. I was also told by the officer that I'll not be arrested. Not go to court and no prison time. That they just want to sort out a re payment. Is he lying!? Terrified

Our Response:
We really don't know whether he's lying or not of course, but if you admit to it and are willing to repay the amount you stole it's unlikely they'll spend time and money prosecuting etc.
AboutHumanRights - 17-Nov-16 @ 11:43 AM
Nash - Your Question:
I attended voluntary interview at police station for 2 accounts of criminal damage , broken window and broken door. I had a soliciter present and they gave disclosure so,embody had a photo of me on a phone outside the house according to the police , but they did not show it to me or the soliciter , do you think they are bluffing about the photo. after interview I was allowed to leave with out being charged and not on bail. what happens next

Our Response:
We can't tell you whether they were bluffing or not! If they have enough evidence, they may charge you, if not, they won't. Hasn't your solicitor given you any of this information?
AboutHumanRights - 16-Nov-16 @ 12:01 PM
I stole £300 from my employer. They have cctv footage so I admitted it. I lost my job. And now the police want me to attend a voluntary interview under caution. He said on the phone to me "you've admitted to this". I stupidly said yes. I have a lawyer meeting me there for the interview. I was also told by the officer that I'll not be arrested. Not go to court and no prison time. That they just want to sort out a re payment. Is he lying!? Terrified
Stupidgirl - 16-Nov-16 @ 11:23 AM
I attended voluntary interview at police station for 2 accounts of criminal damage , broken window and broken door. I had a soliciter present and they gave disclosure so,embody had a photo of me on a phone outside the houseaccording to the police , but they did not show it to me or the soliciter , do you think they are bluffing about the photo. after interview I was allowed to leave with out being charged and not on bail. what happens next
Nash - 15-Nov-16 @ 5:14 PM
Dave - Your Question:
Hi, police asked to come out and see me get time wise it was quicker for me to go them, when I said the they mentioned interview under caution. I got a Solicitor who when at the police station said it was alleged text and email harrassment against my exs new bloke who I've never met or got phn number etc. Police said they had no evidence linking me to allegation. I told them this bloke was doing that as revenge because Social Services are checking his background due to fact he's not allowed to see his children. To my Solicitors surprise they didn't do interview under caution, said they'd call me back if needed. Why no interview under caution? Solicitor thinks police haven't got budget to pay to check ips etc. When should I hear anything? Thank you

Our Response:
Maybe the police knew they didn't really have enough evidence?
AboutHumanRights - 7-Nov-16 @ 12:18 PM
Hi, police asked to come out and see me get time wise it was quicker for me to go them, when I said the they mentioned interview under caution. I got a Solicitor who when at the police station said it was alleged text and email harrassment against my exs new bloke who I've never met or got phn number etc. Police said they had no evidence linking me to allegation. I told them this bloke was doing that as revenge because Social Services are checking his background due to fact he's not allowed to see his children. To my Solicitors surprise they didn't do interview under caution, said they'd call me back if needed. Why no interview under caution?Solicitor thinks police haven't got budget to pay to check ips etc. When should I hear anything?Thank you
Dave - 5-Nov-16 @ 12:07 PM
I have been charged contray section5(1) and 6 contrary to section 89(2) risited constable in the execution of his dute and contray to section 89(1) assault on one constable and 2 sergeants ive got 2 previous cautions one when i was 17 and one 3/4 months ago whats the likely outcome?
Keets - 25-Oct-16 @ 9:28 PM
Me and my wife got charged with dangerous dos act 1991/sec3 but in the citation we have 5 more charges with the dangerous dog act without even seeing a police officer can that stand up in court next month ????
Cod worth - 21-Oct-16 @ 4:15 AM
Jerico9 - Your Question:
Hi, I was accused of theft from my employer. I attended a voluntary interview in which was a standard no comment interview pending the result of police investigation. That was 18 months ago. I've not heard anything back from the police, no calls, mobile or home, visits. nothing. The police know where I am living plus both phone numbers. The other day, a summons was sent to the address that the alleged items where sent to in my former name. My name was changed by deed poll over 15 years ago. The police knew the name but I was never referred in my old name. Am I right to think That person legally does not exist, as I legally renounced that name. I know it is referring to myself but do I have to acknowledge it? Also, how can I be charged for something I've not been arrested for, seen the evidence against me also my side of evidence. They state it was from May 2013- February 2015. However, I was off work from September 2014 till March 2015 with mental health issues. The police are all aware of this but the whole thing looks messed up. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

Our Response:
You should seek professional legal advice on this as we're not sure what the situation is from your description.
AboutHumanRights - 7-Oct-16 @ 2:13 PM
Hi, I was accused of theft from my employer. I attended a voluntary interview in which was a standard no comment interview pending the result of police investigation. That was 18 months ago. I've not heard anything back from the police, no calls, mobile or home, visits... nothing. The police know where I am living plus both phone numbers. The other day, a summons was sent to the address that the alleged items where sent to in my former name. My name was changed by deed poll over 15 years ago. The police knew the name but I was never referred in my old name. Am I right to think That person legally does not exist, as I legally renounced that name. I know it is referring to myself but do I have to acknowledge it? Also, how can I be charged for something I've not been arrested for, seen the evidence against me also my side of evidence. They state it was from May 2013- February 2015. However, I was off work from September 2014 till March 2015 with mental health issues. The police are all aware of this but the whole thing looks messed up. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
Jerico9 - 6-Oct-16 @ 1:56 PM
Hi, I was accused of theft from my employer. I attended a voluntary interview in which was a standard no comment interview pending the result of police investigation. That was 18 months ago. I've not heard anything back from the police, no calls, mobile or home, visits... nothing. The police know where I am living plus both phone numbers. The other day, a summons was sent to the address that the alleged items where sent to in my former name. My name was changed by deed poll over 15 years ago. The police knew the name but I was never referred in my old name. Am I right to think That person legally does not exist, as I legally renounced that name. I know it is referring to myself but do I have to acknowledge it? Also, how can I be charged for something I've not been arrested for, seen the evidence against me also my side of evidence. They state it was from May 2013- February 2015. However, I was off work from September 2014 till March 2015 with mental health issues. The police are all aware of this but the whole thing looks messed up. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
Jerico9 - 3-Oct-16 @ 11:15 PM
Just received a voluntary interview request for theft from previous employer. It's been well over a month since I was dismissed and employer took all of last paycheck. The letter did say I was not being arrested but not sure what will happen. alsoletter was sent to old address earlier this month so only got it today. Any advice please?
K - 26-Sep-16 @ 7:03 PM
Collie - Your Question:
I attended a voluntary police interview.I was told I had the right for a lawyer and could leave anytime.Interview over I never heard from the police for one year three months and was told I was being charged.In all this time I was never arrested or cautioned and left station with my charges.Shouldnt I have been arrested first?

Our Response:
No, you can be charged with an offence following an informal or voluntary interview.
AboutHumanRights - 26-Sep-16 @ 2:15 PM
A friend was arrested, collapsed, went to hospital under police surveillance.From hospital handed over to police.Spent two nights in custody, not allowed a wash or change of clothes.Went before magistrate in a filthy state and finally released with no charges.The expartner of this man has a vendetta and this is the thrid time he has been arrested on false allegations.He spent more than 36 hours in custody and was treated in a thoroughly degrading manner. Are there no standards of care for prisoners in custody???
Prisoner's friend - 25-Sep-16 @ 4:13 PM
I attended a voluntary police interview.I was told I had the right for alawyer and could leave anytime.Interview over I never heard from the police for one year three months and was told I was being charged.In all this time I was never arrested or cautioned and left station with my charges.Shouldnt I have been arrested first?
Collie - 24-Sep-16 @ 8:40 PM
If I was fighting up town then got told to go home obviously I have my details ect, a week later the police come to my house about what will happen when I go to see them?
Sean - 10-Sep-16 @ 11:31 AM
i was issued with "simple caution" for child neglect. Although I was never arrested buti was invited to the police station to sign a Caution ..however i was surprise that they took my fingerprint, photograph and DNA swap? is this the right procedure...i felt i was being deceived to sign these papers. I was also told that the offence will no longer be disclose on DBS after 3 years as my case is minor offense.How true is their statement? Many thanks
Toky - 9-Sep-16 @ 10:51 PM
I got arrested interviewd and charged but befor me interview I was not read my rights or cautioned befor now I have to go to court can this be dismissed becouse of that as the interview should not stand
Dave - 2-Sep-16 @ 1:36 PM
Can you be charged on something in court ,that you were never questioned about, in the police station. And then sentence you on it
kat - 1-Sep-16 @ 8:19 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AboutHumanRights website. Please read our Disclaimer.