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Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 2 Nov 2019 | 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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A friend of mine has been under investigation for 11 month now, why is it taking so long
Dino - 1-Oct-19 @ 11:12 AM
Hi I was involved in an RTA April last year I heard nothing until September when a officer turned up asking me to give a statement so I did. I then received a summons in late December. The CPS was charging me for failing to stop and careless driving when I got to court the CPS withdrawn the charge and then a month later summons me for dangerous driving I wasn't cautioned and it had also been 8 months for them to log the summons to Court how do I stand
Daz - 13-Aug-19 @ 2:05 PM
Can you be released no paperwork no charges then be charged later on
Trev - 16-Jul-19 @ 2:14 PM
Hello everyone i am in desperate need of help. I was given a warning call by police to leave my ex boyfriend alone as its harrasement. After that my mother had a conversation with my ex and he agreed to resolve the complain. Later on he taked to me and said he will marry me. I waited for his call that never came and then out of emotional out burst and worry i called him 70 times and went to his place . He staright away called police and said shes breached warning and is here .They arrested me detained me for 22 hrs. Now released on Bail with condition of not contacting him and called me on again on a date to surrender. my case is with CPS. can i know if they will charge me to convict or will they give me a caution. I have admitted my mistake appologized and promised not to do it again during police interview. Will they still take it to court or rather just fine me and let me off with a caution . I am very much worried here.
sadia - 7-Jul-19 @ 1:38 PM
Hi, I was charged with money laundering in March 5th 2019 and was told that a letter would come through the post for a date to go too magistrate court. I’m still waiting... it’s now nearly July 2019 and that’ll be four months since I got a phone call of the DS saying I was being charged. I’m just wondering how long does it usually take to get a court date? Thanks
Bigman - 20-Jun-19 @ 9:07 PM
my son was recalled bk to prison after a breach off peace during this time theres been alegations off other offences , my son has never been interviewed but police sent a report to proculator fiscale 9 months agobut we are getting no response from the proculator fiscale , can they keep these allegations or charges hanging over him or is there a time scale
help plz - 6-Jun-19 @ 10:58 PM
My partner was recalled last night for having a drink I can't find out any information no one will tell me anythink would just like some advice as how long can they keep him he only had 2 months left on licence any help would be appreciated
Claire - 31-May-19 @ 11:00 AM
Hi i was put on bail under caunion and accused of intimidating a witness, I have a witness that can prove I was with them but they have not spoke to him. I go back for my bail Wednesday, why haven't they spoke to my witnesses.
Leah Flowers - 26-May-19 @ 9:17 PM
Two months ago, I was sitting in my car in McDonald’s it was the early hours of the morning. I’d had a drink the police was called as someone smelt alcohol on my breath. Police arrived, I wasn’t actually driving, wasn’t drunk but I was clearly over the limit. I was compliant with the police, they also was very polite. I wasn’t cuffed. Got took in. Tried one breathe machine but it kept failing, tried anther that also kept failing. Not due to my efforts just old poor machine. Finally took my reading. And I was over the limit which we knew. I was placed into a cell. 3hrs later taken out took my dna prints put back into the cell. Left there for another 9 hours. Then released with insufficient evidence. Heard nothing for 2months.Then today got a court summons saying I’m being charged, I haven’t been interviewed or anything? I’d like to know where I stand.
Ash - 14-May-19 @ 4:56 AM
I was invited to attend a Court Panel Meeting by the local authority for my son's non-attendance at school. The correspondence included a 'warning letter' advising that I would be interviewed under caution. My understanding from contacting a number of advice lines was that the interview would be audio-recorded and I would receive a copy of the recording/transcript. This did not happen; instead the Education Courts Team advised my solicitor that the interview was a 'fact-finding' exerciseso she didn't attend, as I could only obtain Legal Aid for an interview under caution. Thereafter, 4 months later I received a summons to attend Magistrates Court, with no correspondence whatsoever in between. Is this legal? I think there has been an abuse of process.
Jade - 16-Apr-19 @ 7:54 AM
I have been told by my work that I stole 17500 due to an in balance in lotto figures And I need to pay this back.they gave me no time limit to pay it back.,now they say they will get police ,this was 4months ago. They haven't shown me any proof of this What can I do and how long will a court case take to be heard
J - 9-Apr-19 @ 4:34 PM
I was arrested for GBH in December last year and was re bail for 3 months I am back to answer bail on the 13 the March but todate me and my legal have not had any updates what's the most likely out come when I attended my bail this time ???
Ash - 6-Mar-19 @ 11:44 AM
If someone attends a voluntary interview, how long do the police have to make a decision on that. Would it take 18-24 months to decide if that person was being charged with an offence.
Fdkdes - 26-Feb-19 @ 5:27 AM
can you be charged under caution without being arrested first under an enditible offence
jamierudd123 - 30-Jan-19 @ 2:45 PM
Hi,as per your response to my post on 5th June 2018. There is no charge sheet I’m aware of or ever seen. Initially the charge was of having cannabis with intent to supply which was dropped at court to personal use. Anyway as stated before I was detained for a search of the home I live in.Afterward I was NEVER charged never cautioned never arrested.Then received a letter to attend court on charges.I attended court and was convicted and fined.Iam baffled as never charged formally. Never arrested.Never interviewed.Never cautioned after the search of my home just letter from procurator fiscal saying charged go to court. Is this the legal and lawful system in Scotland and the uk now. I’m thinking I would be better taking chances in a third world court as at least they would charge you and read me my rights. I find this utterly shocking and like every right I have was thrown right out the window.Any advice be appreciated. Thanks.
Scotsguy - 4-Dec-18 @ 2:20 PM
Back in approx May '18 my bf had a an argument on a train in surrey. Undercover traffic cops pinned him down and he was arrested then released next day without charge. He was invited for a voluntary interview a few weeks later which he attended with no further arrests,cautions or anything. A letter came saying he had to appear in court over this matter..?? We were on holiday and didnt think too much of it so he didnt go. Then today, about 5 months later, police turned up to take him into custody for court in the morning! Does this sound right to any legal experts out there? He hasn't been charged with a crime so why are they taking his liberty (albeit for one night...according to the officers). What's going on? Many thanks
Kah - 24-Oct-18 @ 9:01 PM
Kaz- Your Question:
Police came to my home an told me I hate to come up the sration as I was accused of being racist an threatened a child the person who called told them they didn't know who it was but as I was in the home they took me with no evidence or cctv or description of who it was I was held in cell till statement taken. Can they do this? I'm in England.

Our Response:
You would need to seek professional legal advice on this. The police would not really arrest you/hold you in custody unless they had some basis for it.
AboutHumanRights - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:29 AM
Police came to my home an told me I hate to come up the sration as I was accused of being racist an threatened a child the person who called told them they didn't know who it was but as I was in the home they took me with no evidence or cctv or description of who it was I was held in cell till statement taken. Can they do this? I'm in England.
Kaz - 8-Aug-18 @ 7:58 PM
Can the police charge a suspect with a crime without first interviewing them or taking a statement from them? (Scots Law)
Izzy - 15-Jul-18 @ 11:43 PM
This IS a hypothetical question. If I am forced into a physical exchange, do nothing more than hit the man until he falls, leavng him with nothing more than a sore chin and leave, with no video footage/CCTV and maybe one witness. I'm then not arrested on the spotrain but the the man in question decides he wants to charge me, am I likely to be found guilty of anything?
Rob - 8-Jul-18 @ 3:33 AM
Hi, im hoping that someone may be able to shed some light on the situation im in. I was drug raided September 17, they found my weed, (kept in my locked filing cabinet) which I smoke for pain relief, they also found cocaine, under my sofa in my lounge,that i knew nothing about. Due to very poor health, i wasn't arrested, but had a voluntary interview in February 18. Was advised by the interviewing officer that the cps were backlogged, but should have an outcome by April 18. I've tried numerous times to speak to the officer in charge of the case, but nothing. My solicitor hasn't been able to get hold of him either. I had my phone given back to me after the interview as it was clean. We're now in July 18, and im at a loss as to how to proceed.Surely I'd have been charged with something or dismissed by now,? Any idea why it's taking so long,and how can i get an answer,?This is having a huge impact on my health. Many thanks in advance,
rakles - 7-Jul-18 @ 3:06 PM
Hi my dad was involved in a road traffic accident early last year...he has to appear in court soon..as my dad was the driver behind the vehicle that slammed their brakes on and unfortunately 2 people died in this accident .but he has not been charged by the police in person they have done this over email. Is this the correct way that they can do this. I would be grateful for any help you can give me Thank you
Caz - 30-Jun-18 @ 6:31 PM
Hi in April 2017 and Oct 2017 police searched my house. They took some bits and cash and arrested my son. He was released both times and told he may hear from them. He then received a letter saying the case had been shelved but if new evidence was found he could be charged. He heard nothing else until last week when he got a letter to attend court as he is now charged with the offence. My question is should they not have arrested him and charged him under caution?
Debsydoo - 25-Jun-18 @ 8:37 PM
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
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