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Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 17 Nov 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.

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My son got summoned to court been charged with having illegal drugs (cannabis) on him the drug had been dropped to the ground by his friend and picked up by the garda. The said they could smell it off my son so therefore it had to be his. They then told him that if he didn't sign to say it was his he would be brought to the station and strip searched and his family would be disgusted with him. This is a 19 yr old who broke down crying and was told this was just a warning then 5months later gets a summons to appear in court and answer these charges he was not arrested or charged at the time so where does he stand legally?
Mum - 17-Nov-17 @ 2:03 PM
Hi, my partner attacked me at the weekend and I stupidly called the police. I gave a sort of written statement in the car about what happened but signed to say I didn’t want t to go to court or anything. The police then turned up at my house at 5.20 in the morning today and asked him to attend our local police station on Monday to talk about what happened. Why are they doing this and what’s going to happen??
Mx - 16-Nov-17 @ 9:00 PM
Hi my mother had been setting up a nursery at our local church. From the get go the reverend of the church had stated that she had no intention of making the process easy, which really should have been warning signs for us. There was no formal contract signed but a lot of emails with agreements and a license partially signed. My mother travelled briefly to finalise the nursery and when she came back she received a letter telling her to remove her stuff from the nursery when she arrived they had bailiffs moving her stuff. One of the reverends then punched her back because she was taking photos, my mum called the police and went to the hospital and then station the next day to file a report. She then received a call 2days later tell her to come to the police station, she arrives and is told someone has filed an assault charge against her. The police officer was rude abrupt and very judgemental. The church have now gone to churches in my borough to tell them they should not hire to my mother and they have now gone to ofsted to lie she has been charged with assault. Is it possible to be charged with assault without knowing? And is there something we can do against the church for slander and blocking future business. She also has font to church members and said my mother is having an affair with one of the church members.
Cv - 13-Nov-17 @ 4:38 PM
What happens if you do not agree or attend an interview under caution.I am being asked to attend by a civilian officer (called investigator) who I believe is abusing their position,and being overzealous in having no grounds. If arrested for not turning up for the interview under caution I could evidence false arrest.What would be my recourse?
Thenerveofit - 9-Nov-17 @ 10:34 PM
Jonno - Your Question:
I was detained 2 months ago due to been caught with a small amount of drugs on me on a night out, the took all my details and what not and then said they would contact me to arrange for me to go in and accept a caution, they did this and I went it but was sat waiting for an hour when I told them I couldn’t stay all day and was told it would take no more than half an hour, I haven’t been able to go back since even though they have contacted me to arrange for me to go back in, what I’m asking is if I don’t turn in soon to accept my caution will they issue a warrant for my arrest??

Our Response:
Possibly. If you're told by the police to attend and accept a caution you can't simply say it's not convenient for you.
AboutHumanRights - 7-Nov-17 @ 12:33 PM
I was detained 2 months ago due to been caught with a small amount of drugs on me on a night out, the took all my details and what not and then said they would contact me to arrange for me to go in and accept a caution, they did this and I went it but was sat waiting for an hour when I told them I couldn’t stay all day and was told it would take no more than half an hour, I haven’t been able to go back since even though they have contacted me to arrange for me to go back in, what I’m asking is if I don’t turn in soon to accept my caution will they issue a warrant for my arrest??
Jonno - 1-Nov-17 @ 3:58 PM
During a night out, things got heated in a pub, a bar stool was thrown at my partner and we left the pub, outside the pub there was more arguments which we unfortunately got involved in a women pushed my partner so I grabbed her hair then I have been knocked out and she has broken my nose, burst my lip and scratched my face, leaving it a mess. No arrests were made and a huge public order investigation is on going, it's been 2 days and I still haven't been arrested and called in for questioning, how long will it take ? And I know it's my own fault for pulling someone's hair, so what type of conviction am I looking at and will she get charged with anything or not as it was me who pulled her hair- the women in question has no injuries and is currently on bail for attacking a nurse and also for intimidating witnesses.
Wellyshellie - 24-Oct-17 @ 11:30 AM
I have been asked to attend a police interview in regards to a civil matter, the problem is that I live 200 miles away from the station! I have asked to maybe meet them closer, put me onto a conference call or go to my local station, all have been refused. I don't want a warrant out for my arrest but what can I do, I live alone & don't have anyone willing to take me?
Sean - 8-Sep-17 @ 4:20 PM
after we complained to the council about a noisy neighbour we have beenasked to go to our local police station for an interview after they claimed we were harrasing them. the neighbours have said they will get t us evicted and because theyown there house and we rent they can do what they like. the police say this has nothing to do withthe council. where do i stand legally?
dave - 23-Aug-17 @ 10:22 PM
Nora - Your Question:
Hi, my sons girlfriend was asked into the police station for a chat.so being police she turned up not knowing why (she had already phoned to ask why, but they just said it was for a chat). Thinking it was something to do with my sons ex wife.it was like lambs to the slaughter. They cautioned her as soon as she got in taken away and locked in a cell for around 3or 4 hours without a peep from anyone.(I went with her and when they police took her away, I informed them she was under the hospital for very high blood pressure, and she informed them she was severely depressed). Eventually they gave her a phone and on the line was a solicitor, who asked her what she was being questioned or charged with, she said she didn't know as no one had told her. I was sitting outside in the foyer for the 5 and a half hours she was in and in walked a friend of mine (the duty lawyer) I asked her when did she get called, she said over an hour ago coz she was still in her jammies, and the police told her to take her time. Eventually she was told she was being charged with assault of my grandson, my sons ex made up a story and told the kids to tell the police (I know this now as my grandson just jumped into my arms crying tell me his mum made him tell lies). Thing is my sons girlfriend was a childminder and had her own business and a son of her own. she has lost her business and is struggling to make ends meet now and having to go on benefits (my son helps where he can but he has a house to keep and pays cma). The police said they Had to send it to the procurator fiscal, but told the solicitor to get the PF to put a red line through it. The thing is I don't think the police followed the PACE code, but do they have to and are they allowed to do this to people?

Our Response:
Make a complaint to the IPCC if you think the police have not followed the correct procedure. If this is upheld, she may be able to get some compensation to help start up her childminding business again.
AboutHumanRights - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hi, my sons girlfriend was asked into the police station for a chat..so being police she turned up not knowing why (she had already phoned to ask why, but they just said it was for a chat). Thinking it was something to do with my sons ex wife..it was like lambs to the slaughter. They cautioned her as soon as she got in taken away and locked in a cell for around 3or 4 hours without a peep from anyone..(I went with her and when they police took her away, I informed them she was under the hospital for very high blood pressure, and she informed them she was severely depressed). Eventually they gave her a phone and on the line was a solicitor, who asked her what she was being questioned or charged with, she said she didn't know as no one had told her. I was sitting outside in the foyer for the 5 and a half hours she was in and in walked a friend of mine (the duty lawyer) I asked her when did she get called, she said over an hour ago coz she was still in her jammies, and the police told her to take her time. Eventually she was told she was being charged with assault of my grandson, my sons ex made up a story and told the kids to tell the police (I know this now as my grandson just jumped into my arms crying tell me his mum made him tell lies). Thing is my sons girlfriend was a childminder and had her own business and a son of her own.. she has lost her business and is struggling to make ends meet now and having to go on benefits (my son helps where he can but he has a house to keep and pays cma). The police said they Had to send it to the procurator fiscal, but told the solicitor to get the PF to put a red line through it. The thing is I don't think the police followed the PACE code, but do they have to and are they allowed to do this to people?.
Nora - 6-Aug-17 @ 9:20 PM
Iqqi - Your Question:
Hi, for the last year my brother who is 11 years old has been constantly bullied in school from 2 lads who are even bigger than him. We have constantly reported this in school and the school dealt with these situations by giving the two kids detentions. However bullying never stopped, instead it got worse. I was away for a year and when I got back my brother hugged me at night and told me he has been strangled and kicked while playing in the ground. He was not feeling safe to go to school. I asked him if he has told this to the teachers. He has told to the teachers who sometimes ignored him and other times gave the kids again detentions. As an older brother I got really worried and at the same time angry. I decided to speak to those kids in the following morning. You know sometimes knowing the victim has an older sibling works with these kids. So I went up to the first kid in the playground and I told him to stop bullying my brother because I am watching in a very angry tone. He apologised to my brother and shook hands with him saying he will be his friend. That really gave me a relief and a feeling of safety for my brother. However later on Police called me telling me parents involved the police about what happened. I understand what I did was wrong and should have approached the parents or the school instead. But after seeing my brother in such situation despite telling the teachers about it, this was my last resource and I thought intimidating the kids would work and it did. Now the police called me in for questioning and I am scared as I never had to deal with the police in my life. I have a career to set up and the last thing I would want is my name to go on a criminal record. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks

Our Response:
You didn't actually touch or do harm to those responsible. As long as you are clear about your case it's unlikely the police will take it much further. You must write a letter to the headteacher and to the board of governors with details of everything that's happened to your brother (tell your parents to do so as well). Say that you are unhappy with the action that's been taken so far and ask that the parents of the bullies are spoken to as well. Ask to see the school's bullying policy and see if you can compare it with other schools. Some schools manage bullying extremely effectively, while others just see dealing with it as a bit of an incovenience. Your brother should not be made to feel frightened to go to school after all this time.
AboutHumanRights - 31-Jul-17 @ 2:04 PM
Hi, for the last year my brother who is 11 years old has been constantly bullied in school from 2 lads who are even bigger than him. We have constantly reported this in school and the school dealt with these situations by giving the two kids detentions. However bullying never stopped, instead it got worse. I was away for a year and when I got back my brother hugged me at night and told me he has been strangled and kicked while playing in the ground. He was not feeling safe to go to school. I asked him if he has told this to the teachers. He has told to the teachers who sometimes ignored him and other times gave the kids again detentions. As an older brother I got really worried and at the same time angry. I decided to speak to those kids in the following morning. You know sometimes knowing the victim has an older sibling works with these kids. So I went up tothe first kid in the playground and I told him to stop bullying my brother because I am watching in a very angry tone. He apologised to my brother and shook hands with him saying he will be his friend. That really gave me a relief and a feeling of safety for my brother. However later on Police called me telling me parents involved the police about what happened. I understand what I did was wrong and should have approached the parents or the school instead. But after seeing my brother in such situation despite telling the teachers about it, this was my last resource and I thought intimidating the kids would work and it did. Now the police called me in for questioning and I am scared as I never had to deal with the police in my life. I have a career to set up and the last thing I would want is my name to go on a criminal record. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
Iqqi - 28-Jul-17 @ 10:10 AM
Blue - Your Question:
Hi my friend was stopped while driving his car with only a provisional licence. He had mot insurance and tax. He owned up to it before being asked any questions by police. They took his car away to be crushed. But what I'm asking is. If the police don't caution you at the time of being stopped or give you a slip can they prosecute you at a later date. If they haven't cautioned you how can the prove he was the one driving at a later date???

Our Response:
The police officer will have made a note of his details and information about the offence at the time of stopping him, they don't need to issue a caution.
AboutHumanRights - 26-Jul-17 @ 2:15 PM
My partner was recently arrested as he was under suspicion of driving a vehicle while intoxicated. He was found asleep in his car parked up- and failed to give a breatheliser due to medical conditions which he explained. He was arrested and taken to the station, he still could not give a sample and was left to sleep in a cell for 6hrs. He was then charged with Suspected of having attempted to drive a vehicle and failure to give a specimen of breath for analysis and therefore failed without reasonable excuseand is appearing in court this week. My question is can you be charged without having a police interview? As he never had one but was still charged and they also never noted why he didn't give a sample which was due to medical reasons. Thank you
Beth - 23-Jul-17 @ 10:24 PM
Hi my friend was stopped while driving hiscar with only a provisionallicence.He had mot insurance and tax. He owned up to it before being asked any questions by police. They took his car away to be crushed. But what I'm asking is. If the police don't caution you at the time of being stopped or give you a slip can they prosecute you at a later date. If they haven't cautioned you how can the prove he was the one driving at a later date???
Blue - 20-Jul-17 @ 6:30 PM
rocky2014 - Your Question:
Hi, 2 months ago there was an incident at my flat to which the police were called to regarding someone at the property. Everybody had a few drinks and things got out of hand. Noone pressed charges against the individual and now 2months later the police have turned up to ask the individual to go in for a chat and that he will only be there for 5mins will he get into trouble even though nobody pressed charges and its took them 2 months to come and see the individual

Our Response:
Yes the police could still decide to take it further if they feel there is a case.
AboutHumanRights - 4-Jul-17 @ 11:36 AM
Hi, 2 months ago there was an incident at my flat to which the police were called to regarding someone at the property. Everybody had a few drinks and things got out of hand. Noone pressed charges against the individual and now 2months later the police have turned up to ask the individual to go in for a chat and that he will only be there for 5mins will he get into trouble even though nobody pressed charges and its took them 2 months to come and see the individual
rocky2014 - 3-Jul-17 @ 12:14 PM
I have just been accepted for nursing with conditions of a CRB I am under mental health support and unfortunately was going through a tough time with alcohol etc 2 months ago and wasn't in control I had the police knock on My door to arrange a Voluntary interview next week - as I've " been seen " On CCTV taking a bottle Of tan spray from savers . I am defeststed and the whole action is not a Blur and I'm Seeking help and want to start my Career in September , I am Lost and I don't know what to do as I don't want to get into trouble Over something I did out of character now I'm in recovery and wanting to start my career ? Please get back to me With any advice Thanks in advance x
Cally - 28-Jun-17 @ 11:20 PM
Hou99 - Your Question:
Hi, I'm 17 and was caught taking money from the till at my work place, I've obviously lost my job and the police are now involved , I took £1800 , and have told the police I want to give the money back and pay my dues. The police have given me a interview and a caution. I'm terrified. As this is the first time I've ever done something serious and have to deal with the police, I admitted to everything. what can I do ?

Our Response:
You've done the right thing by admitting you did it and by saying you'd like to pay the money back. Ask the police if they have any suggestions about voluntary work you could do to help in the community, that way you can include it on your CV to help with what may be a blemish on your record.
AboutHumanRights - 21-Jun-17 @ 11:05 AM
Hi, I'm 17 and was caught taking money from the till at my work place, I've obviously lost my job and the police are now involved , I took £1800 , and have told the police I want to give the money back and pay my dues. The police have given me a interview and a caution. I'm terrified. As this is the first time I've ever done something serious and have to deal with the police, I admitted to everything..... what can I do ?
Hou99 - 19-Jun-17 @ 12:23 PM
I was stopped by police cautioned n charged with 2offences but there's a charge on my complaint which also states that I was not caution or charged with that offence at that time should that not get thrown out in court (Scotland).
Wullie - 16-Jun-17 @ 1:41 PM
My mate was arrested when he was 17 and put on bail he is due to answer bail soon what will happen? He was caught with a bit of class A DRUGS and it was his first offence?
George - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:55 PM
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
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