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Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 9 Jun 2018 | 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.

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I was arrested 4 months ago (12.2.18) for trying to purchase a flashlight online last summer, unbeknownst to me the flashlight had a taser built inside it I did not know this as it wasn’t shown in the pictures or mentioned in the description, the item never arrived I was refunded and had forgotten all about it, the app I tried to purchase it from was called “geek” a legit app where I have purchased countless items such as speakers and games consoles, the police showed up at my house searched everywhere found nothing but still arrested me, I explained what happened and was realised after 20 mins but was cautioned and had my iPhone taken from me, I had suffered abuse early in my life and was constantly reading support pages about abuse and such on my iPhone to help me, the police say they will go through my iPhone to check about the flashlight can they look at what I’ve been reading and say something to me? I managed to get ahold of the arresting office this week after 6 weeks of phoning, and he says the police fiscal will now decide if it will go to court or not? Even though it’s not related to the flashlight can the court bring up I have visited abuse pages? Also i found out that the arresting officer kept my iPhone is in possession for at least a week before handing it in to the proper tech staff, is he allowed to do this? Cause for all I know he’s been going through my iPhone and looking at pics of daughter, I mentioned it to his sergeant but he refused to do anything about it I was so angry
Sad Soul - 9-Jun-18 @ 9:17 PM
Scotsguy- Your Question:
Hi,in jan 2017 I was detained by police till they searched property I was in with a search warrant. Upon finishing the search I wasn’t charged cautioned or arrested (I was strip searched also by only one officer which felt really violating ). Anyway around five months pass when I receive a letter from procurator fiscal with charges to attend court. This baffles me as I was only detained for a search and I was never cautioned charged arrested or indeed read my rights and I was looking to know is this now legal acceptable lawful practIce in Scotland and the uk now. Police also seized money from myself but when it left my home and mentioned on charge sheet it is hundreds of pounds less which is shocking to me as only place it went was to the police and fiscal so any advice to make complaint on that would be fab. Thanks

Our Response:
Is there is a charge sheet, you have been charged...contact a solicitor for some advice. What was the offence?
AboutHumanRights - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:07 AM
Hi,in jan 2017 I was detained by police till they searched property I was in with a search warrant.Upon finishing the search i wasn’t charged cautioned or arrested (I was strip searched also by only one officer which felt really violating ).Anyway around five months pass when I receive a letter from procurator fiscal with charges to attend court.This baffles me as I was only detained for a search and I was never cautioned charged arrested or indeed read my rights and I was looking to know is this now legal acceptable lawful practIce in Scotland and the uk now.Police also seized money from myself but when it left my home and mentioned on charge sheet it is hundreds of pounds less which is shocking to me as only place it went was to the police and fiscal so any advice to make complaint on that would be fab. Thanks
Scotsguy - 4-Jun-18 @ 8:45 AM
A work colleague has made a false allegation about me & I’ve been suspended from work, this is the 5th week I’ve been off. She’s a nurse & I’m a healthcare assistant she’s said I hit a patient which is untrue but there’s no evidence or witnesses. The patient is elderly with dementia so cannot provide any evidence therefore it’s her word against mine.Ive voluntarily given a statement to the police who couldn’t make a decision so said it would be passed to the CPS. The police said I could have a long wait to hear from them with their decision to take it to the majestrates court or not. My question is, do you think the CPS will send to to the majestrates court? Thanks, Debs
Debs - 21-Apr-18 @ 8:38 PM
Hi, a work colleague has made a false allegation about me & I have been suspended from work pending an investigation. She’s a nurse & I’m a healthcare assistant, she’s accused me of hitting a patient but it’s her word against mine as the patient has dementia & is elderly.This is my 5th week of suspension which I’m sure will be extended as the investigation isn’t over yet. I’ve voluntarily given a statement to the police but as yet work have not requested the same. The police informed me this week that they are unable to make a decision about the case due to lack of evidence & witnesses. They are passing it onto the CPS but said I could have a long wait to hear from them..I was not arrested or charged & I’m definitely innocent & will plead not guilty if it goes to the majestrates court..My question is, do you think it will go to the majestrates court as the police said there’s insufficient evidence & witnesses, it’s her word against mine? Thanks, Debs
Debs - 21-Apr-18 @ 8:25 PM
Hi I broke my top-up up supervision but the. I whent to Scotland on the run . but now its been 6 months now and my top up supervision period has now ended . I called probation and they have advised me that I'm not on probation no longer but I'm still worried that could they still recall me to prison because I broke my conditions before the end date . help please
Don't.have.a.clue - 20-Apr-18 @ 6:40 AM
Police knocked on door and asked for me and said could they have my mobile number as office wanted to call me ref a follow up incident not said what Officer called and said think I am on cctv taking a mobile phone not me As going on holiday said back on the 19th he said call then what do I do
Chris - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:14 PM
You need to go and tell the police about these things you have made up, it is the right thing to do. I did write out a longer answer but it seems to have not shown up, i will try again, basically it was a bad idea to make these things up, you will probably be charged with something and have to appear in court but i would expect the punishment to be nothing too detrimental/serious, as you have said he had been abusive in the past, a solicitor may be able to go through mitigating circumstances,i am no professional by any means,once again good luck with your situation.
Okay - 13-Apr-18 @ 10:54 PM
Also if you spoke with a solicitor he may be able to help you with any mitigating circumstances that led to you making things up. Good luck with your problem
Okay - 13-Apr-18 @ 10:42 PM
M.m - Your Question:
I have a qustion plz need advice. I have been in abusive relationship for 5 years but we are divorced and he want to see his son. Bcoz I suffer from depression every time I see him I get really angry with him. So one day he came I call the police and accused him of threats toward me and aslo he slap my son. Ge is in prison I really want revenge but I feel guilty coz I make lots of lies on that day. I want to go to the police and tell the truth. How much trouble I am in?

Our Response:
Please see this advice from the Inbrief website on the penalties for wasting police time and/or perverting the course of justice
AboutHumanRights - 11-Apr-18 @ 3:25 PM
I have a qustion plz need advice. I have been in abusive relationship for 5 years but we are divorced and he want to see his son. Bcoz i suffer from depression every time i see him i get really angry with him. So one day he came i call the police and accused him of threats toward me and aslo he slap my son. Ge is in prison i really want revenge but i feel guilty coz i make lots of lies on that day. I want to go to the police and tell the truth. How much trouble i am in?
M.m - 8-Apr-18 @ 10:33 PM
Thankyou for responding, i appreciate your advice, thankyou for your time. I will speak to a solicitor regarding the allegations as i have found out that they had been made up to get me removed from the property, what ever gets mentioned in court so be it, legal advice shall be sought
FellOffWagon - 3-Apr-18 @ 4:17 PM
Hash14100 - Your Question:
I was wondering it would be a good idea to include an edit comment section in your comments section for the person who has wrote a comment as this would make it easier for people to ammend and add to their comments as things progress weather that be in the court of law or if they have anything to add to their comments that they have missed out

Our Response:
Unfortunately we cannot offer this facilitiy since there is no "login" required - we do that to make it easier for people to post anonymously (it's highly unlilkely that anything posted here could be used in a court of law).
AboutHumanRights - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:23 PM
Felloffwagon - Your Question:
Hello I have posted my question my times now and have not received any sort of response what are your general response times.

Our Response:
We havealready responded to your post (for some reason you used a different nick name though). Please note, we do not answer all questions. This is a comments section not a questions section and is for readers to add feed back and for other readers to help out if they can. We do try and answer some of the questions posed whenever we can. Note that if you need professional legal help then you should do so - we cannot give individual advice in place of this.
AboutHumanRights - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:20 PM
ash14100 - Your Question:
EDITED POST : Hello I am wondering if you can give me any advice I was arrested at my home address after a domestic altercation, the police were wearing body cams and my family members both made comments to what supposedly/allegedly had happened, but never made statements ( probably because it was untrue), a family member called the police to report me acting in a aggressive manner and was scared etc, I am wondering if any of this can be brought up by the prosecution, it is only what has been said to the police when they attended, Also I feel awful about the night as I had relapsed and ended up in the back of a police van!!!, I am a recovering alcoholic who foolishly thought could have a few small bottles of lager but in the end ended up getting really drunk and have no recollection of the nights events after becoming extremely intoxicated. I cant even remember resisting arrest So my main question is can the (false) allegations my family members made against me be brought up by the prosecution even though they both made no statements, only told to the arresting officers once I was in the van ( so I had been told ). Previously I had rushed my comment asking for advice without going into the fact I know the allegations to be false/made up.Thankyou for reading

Our Response:
The courts usually ask the policeto give evidence of what happened at the scene, so will be able to repeat any comments in court. Your solicitor (or Citizens' Advice) will be able to help further.
AboutHumanRights - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:03 PM
I was wondering it would be a good idea to include an edit comment section in your comments section for the person who has wrote a comment as this would make it easier for people to ammend and add to their comments as things progress weather that be in the court of law or if they have anything to add to their comments that they have missed out
Hash14100 - 30-Mar-18 @ 9:00 PM
Hello i have posted my question my times now and have not received any sort of response what are your general response times.....
Felloffwagon - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:54 PM
EDITED POST : Hello i am wondering if you can give me any advice i was arrested at my home address after a domestic altercation, the police were wearing body cams and my family members both made comments to what supposedly/allegedlyhad happened, but never made statements ( probably because it was untrue), a family member called the police to report me acting in a aggressive manner and was scared etc, i am wondering if any of this can be brought up by the prosecution, it is only what has been said to the police when they attended, Also i feel awful about the night as i had relapsed and ended up in the back of a police van!!!,i am a recovering alcoholic who foolishly thought could have a few small bottles of lager but in the end ended up getting really drunk and have no recollection of the nights events after becoming extremely intoxicated. I cant even remember resisting arrest So my main question is can the (false) allegations my family members made against me be brought up by the prosecution even though they both made no statements, only told to the arresting officers once i was in the van ( so i had been told ). Previously i had rushed my comment asking for advice without going into the fact i know the allegations to be false/made up.Thankyou for reading
ash14100 - 30-Mar-18 @ 7:38 PM
Also since i have posted both of my comments in the wrong place, since it has nothing to do with "being charged without a caution" if any admin can remove my posts it would be much appreciated, Thankyou for your time.
FellOffWagon - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:13 PM
Hello regarding my earlier post, just a follow up as i rushed the first post it was inaccurate,the allegations and what were said to the police on the night were false in my opinion, regarding the incident i feel awful for resisting the arrest and making a fool of myself on the front street. Just to set the record straight, thankyou for reading have a nice day
FellOffwagon - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:04 PM
Ss - Your Question:
I was in uk last year for vacations and came back to my home country. Yesterday I received a mail from btp constable that they want to talk to me and my phone is not reachable. On calling them, I was told that as per cctv , I have been a suspect of sexual touching occured in central line in July. Iwas shocked and asked him to give more information to which he refused and said that whenever I for interview came to Uk I need to visit a police station and he also told me that I am safe untill I do not come to Uk.Though I am not returning to UK in near future but I am very much worried about this incident. Please let me know what should I do and also what further actions the law will take as I have no plans of coming to uk in near future.

Our Response:
The police will probably keep your details on their database and make arrangements to question you about the incident when/if you ever come back to the UK.
AboutHumanRights - 20-Mar-18 @ 2:25 PM
I was in uk last year for vacations and came back to my home country. Yesterday I received a mail from btp constable that they want to talk to me and my phone is not reachable. On calling them, I was told that as per cctv , I have been a suspect of sexual touching occured in central line in July. Iwas shocked and asked him to give more information to which he refused and said that whenever I for interview came to Uk I need to visit a police station and he also told me that I am safe untill I do not come to Uk.Though I am not returning to UK in near future but I am very much worried about this incident. Please let me know what should I do and also what further actions the law will take as I have no plans of coming to uk in near future.
Ss - 19-Mar-18 @ 7:47 AM
Morning ... I had to attend court this week after fiscal IScotland decided I had a charge to answer to... Around six months ago I was phoned by a police office and ask to help with a complaint .. I told the office I new nothing about it ... she said I would get a police caution to stop matters going to court..so I said I would except this cautionto help out..please bear in mind I was never charged or caution under law .. this was all on a phone call... So a few months later she phones meagainan said I would have to now go to court...I told her I had never been charged or cautionshe said it does not matter in Scotland.. Wow ok ... So long story short I have still never been charged or cautioned but when to court last week I told the fiscal I would like it remanded for 4 weeks to allow some chat to take place... Tbh I feel my legealright as a eu member been broken ... But I have never been cautioned so I have never had to explain if in fact I had any part of the charge I'm charged with...
Joseph - 18-Mar-18 @ 11:53 AM
Hello i am wondering if you can give me any advice i was arrested at my home address after a domestic altercation, the police were wearing body cams and my family members both made comments to what had happened, but never made a statement, a family member called the police to report me acting in a violent manner and was scared etc, i am wondering if any of this can be brought up by the prosecution in court as neither of my family members made an official statement, it is only what has been said to the police when they attended P.S i feel awful about the incident i am a recovering alcoholic who foolishly thoughti could have a few small bottles of lager but in the end ended up getting really drunk and have no recollection of the nights events after becoming extremely intoxicated. I cant even remember resisting arrest, also NFA on police assault, could that be brought up even though the charges were dropped ? So my main question is can the allegations my family members made against me be brought up by the prosecution even though they both made no statements, only told to the arresting officers once i was in the van ( so i had been told )
FellOffWagon - 17-Mar-18 @ 7:29 PM
Me and my partner had an altercation when I was under the influence that ended with me lashing out.. he stopped all contact with himself and my daughter but 2 days later met up with me and allowed me back home. He made the statement on the Friday but on the Monday he retracted and we carried on trying to improve our relationship.. sadly our relationship broke down again and ended with me and my 8 week old being kicked out of our accommodation on his terms. I am staying at a friends house and am being put into emergency accommodation. I have offered several times for him to see my daughter on the terms that she returns to me and we meet in a public place but he's refused.. now he's gone and written a statement to pressed charges on the alleged assault even after he dropped them. This is clearly vindictive and he's trying whatever path to get my daughter taken off me. I have no history of violence and am clean as a whistle. Where do I stand in regards to the alleged assault charges and does this mean I'll have my daughter taken away from me. I'm so upset that it has got to this and that he is doing this to me.. there is much more to the story but my worry is loosing my baby. Can anyone help?
Hattie - 15-Mar-18 @ 3:34 AM
My ex husband attacked my current husband 2 months ago. My ex husband went to the police and told them loads of lies that my husband attacked him with a hammer. My husband was asked to attend an appointment at the police station which he did. He wasn't arrested or charged and was free to leave at any time. He was told my ex husband went to the hospital but there is no medical paperwork. We know there isn't because my husband didn't hit him with a hammer!! My hubby literally got my ex in a headlock and told him to stop trying to start fights with him (10 Years of abuse from my ex cs he's bitter I left him) Upon leaving the interview room the officer said my hubby is getting done for GBH and carrying an offensive weapon. However, he wasn't arrested or cautioned or anything. It all seems so unfair when my ex started it and my hubby had worse injuries than my ex did but we didn't think to take pics. Police have pics of my ex that shows a few red marks on his face and scratches on his hands. Can someone tell me what happens now please cs this isn't making sense to me. Thank you in advance.
Wondering - 14-Mar-18 @ 1:11 AM
Ss - Your Question:
I was in uk last year for vacations and came back to my home country. Yesterday I received a mail from btp constable that they want to talk to me and my phone is not reachable. On calling them, I was told that as per cctv , I have been a suspect of sexual touching occured in central line in July. Iwas shocked and asked him to give more information to which he refused and said that whenever I for interview came to Uk I need to visit a police station and he also told me that I am safe untill I do not come to Uk.Though I am not returning to UK in near future but I am very much worried about this incident. Please let me know what should I do and also what further actions the law will take as I have no plans of coming to uk in near future

Our Response:
You should just attend the police station as requested. If you're concerned you could ask a lawyer to go with you.
AboutHumanRights - 13-Feb-18 @ 11:44 AM
Anon - Your Question:
I was arrested and held for just over 24 hours before being charged. I was charged with drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer. I asked to see a solicitor on more than one occasion and did not see one. I was released on bail and not interviewed. I also asked for medical help for bump on head and was told the medic would see me. Medic never saw me. Is this right?

Our Response:
If you feel correct police procedure was not followed, you should make a formal complaint. ( Here are the IPCC details )
AboutHumanRights - 12-Feb-18 @ 3:29 PM
I was in uk last year for vacations and came back to my home country . Yesterday I received a mail from btp constable that they want to talk to me and my phone is not reachable. On calling them, I was told that as per cctv , I have been a suspect of sexual touching occured in centralline in July. Iwas shocked and asked him to give more information to which he refused and said that whenever I for interview came to Uk I need to visit a police station and he also told me that I am safe untill I do not come to Uk.Though I am not returning to UK in near future butI am very much worried about this incident. Please let me know what should I do and also what further actions the law will take as I have no plans of coming to uk in near future
Ss - 11-Feb-18 @ 3:27 PM
I was arrested and held for just over 24 hours before being charged. I was charged with drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer. I asked to see a solicitor on more than one occasion and did not see one. I was released on bail and not interviewed. I also asked for medical help for bump on head and was told the medic would see me. Medic never saw me. Is this right?
Anon - 10-Feb-18 @ 3:20 PM
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