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Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 4 Dec 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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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
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
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