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

Can You Be Charged Without Caution?

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 30 Nov 2023 | 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)


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

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

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

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

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

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
So I was arrested from my home for something but I was taken to police station searched trousers took off me for there own trousers and checked around my boxers put into a holding cell with a police officer for roughly one hour to be told I’m being released with in obligation to hold me also without an interview is this legal
Big cheese - 30-Nov-23 @ 1:20 AM
Can I be taken to court when no Interview was done and was on bail awaiting a new date to return for interview.
Mervin - 21-Nov-23 @ 5:41 PM
I was arrested on suspension of abh. When I was arrested at the time they had no witness statements an no evidence based solely on hearsay of a supposed witness. After cctv footage showing I was completely innocent I was interviewed and released on NFA are they grounds to get compensation for the loss of wages for the time I was in custody and was the arrest lawful?
Jay - 23-Sep-23 @ 7:09 PM
Back in January 2023 I was arrested alleged non fatal strangulation my girl friend for three year and two counts off A.B.H which are questionable as we were involved in a domestic violent case where I was attacked first in my home and she smashed my i phone and my TV and punched me in my and scratched my arm were evident s were taken by the police. Yet I have now since court added control and cohesive behavior which I was never interview about or cautioned or charged at any police station just added on without even mentioning this charged until the court date is this correct behavior by the police . I am a black man who feels hatered and set up by the victim and the police because they have not looked into or investigated this case properly before these charges were made.I need to let people know ..
Richard - 30-Jul-23 @ 4:03 PM
Can I be charged without being interviewed? Can police decide not to contact witnesses that would have prevented me from getting charged in the first place. Have they investigated right if they knew that witnesses where present. What happens after I got to my plea dose the prosecutor fiscal then decide to speak to my witnesses?
1314 - 22-Jun-23 @ 2:13 AM
I was arrested after fighting off my violent partner, now ex. In court I was found guilty of this but I was also found guilty of assault on my son, something I wasn't arrested on, read rights, charged or questioned. My solicitor made that point in court but the judge went ahead regardless of my adult son protesting that there was no such assault too. I asked about appealing and my solicitor told me the way the judge worked I could be sentenced to a custodial sentence as an outcome, what do I do?
T Boo - 16-May-23 @ 10:58 AM
Hi so i have a question. My boyfriend and i had got into a fight he pushed my arm some guy walked by and seen it happen the guy was yelling why you hitting a women like that why dont you hit me so my boyfriend made threats to the guy then this other people pull up and start making it worse so my boyfriend made threats the dude happened to punch my underage boyfriend who is 17 and the guy looked like he was in his 30s i talked to the cops they asked if i wanted to press charges i said nope they kept asking me i said no they have no statement of me or anything. So my question is. Can my boyfriend still be charged with assault even though i told the cops not to charge him?
Katelyn44 - 29-Dec-20 @ 5:48 AM
Hello, I was arrested becausethehoteldo mistakeand say the person who gone in room A1was me and in that room was agun.Police have arrested meandhavingtakemy phones and allmy stuff what I had to hoteland put me on bailtonot go To Westminster.and to divine every week police station The problem it’s Who was the gun Iknowtheguy andthe guy coming on my roomandput thegunon my safewho was open Itake from safeand give back andput the guyoutsidefrom my roomandthe guy gone another room and 2days I not hadany connection withhim And after2days I was arrested by police because The receptionDoing mistakesayIgone in the roomwherethe gunwaspolice have rightto put on bail just becauseI know theguy and I see him with thegun?
Ruben210 - 8-Nov-20 @ 4:34 PM
can i be taking to court butive not been charged police are saying they could not charge meor interview me because of the covid but was eased off in june but offence was to have taking place in december
ali - 5-Nov-20 @ 9:16 PM
Can the police take my victim statement then question the other and also get evidence from another.Later call me and say the police want to take it to court, themn some weeks later I get a call to say how I am doing and to tell me they are building a story.Say.... 2 weeks later, call me again and say they are not taking it to court now because the evidence is not independent and it took to long for me to contact them.?? I think its a cover up for something else as there has been lots of troubles with the neighbours over the covid period, the police were also not interested in the flat that is cultervating cannabis in our street. Any advise
Tilb - 28-Sep-20 @ 4:10 PM
If arrested by the police for drunk and disorderly in England, will I be interviewed?
CM - 18-May-20 @ 5:02 PM
If arrested by the police in England for breach of the peace, will I be interviewd?
CM - 18-May-20 @ 5:00 PM
I have been made aware by bullying managers in my organisation that I was microchipped in an nhs hospital without my knowledge. This was part of a wider gangstalking by authorities abusing their power. Now everyone is maintaining a conspiracy of silence. Is this now happening in the UK? When I went back to challenge my GP, they threatened to deregister me from the practice. Now I am afraid they will try to silence me for good.
Gg - 20-Feb-20 @ 11:39 AM
I was pulled over for speeding on a motor way. Regret it big time and I’m not a speed demon. The officer asked me to get into his car, when in there I was there for maybe 1 min, gave me a verbal telling off but mentioned Notice of Intended Prosecution. I was so nervous I didn’t ask but now I look over it I’m even more worried. I have read up a bit, if I’m suspected of an offence, I’m meant to get the “caution” where you get told anything you say can be given as evidence. Literally, got in his car, told me off, checked my details on his computer and sent me on my way. Any idea what may happen or what to expect? Can’t sleep or eat I’m so nervous
Munnsie - 22-Jan-20 @ 9:29 PM
Is it legal and lawful to be prosecuted at court in Scotland without ever being cautioned charged and read my rights anytime before court case?Is it not unlawful to be taken to court again by proceeds of crime whilst it is against the law and government guidelines as what I was convicted for is not in the proceeds of crime remit.ie a conviction which they can take to court for.My final conviction isn’t in the proceeds of crime remit to even take someone to court by the government own guidelines and law So therefore it was indeed unlawful and illegal to do so.Is it not illegal for proceeds of crime to use evidence against you that has nothing whatsoever to do with yourself but another individual in an entirely separate court case and indeed no one was ever convicted at all with the evidence (so called) that was put in evidence against myself and which was nothing to do with me. I find it shocking as well that police put up severely false and untrue evidence to the crown and court and basically lies in a case against myself which was proven and upheld(police lies) in complaint I made to police which I have in writing and fully officialYet still stay in the job In the police force and that’s all fine and well. My opinion that’s ten times worse than a member of public committing perjury in a court when police are doing this submitting evidence to the court and crown for court cases!!! Seeing at the outset I was never cautioned charged arrested or read my rights I fail to see how I could have been taken to court in a case in Scotland unless I have no civil rights?? If someone knows an answer to these actions I’d be very interested to hear them. Thanks
Sm - 18-Jan-20 @ 11:12 AM
Can you be charged by the police later in a case of passion of drugs and realised on the night of the offence?
Hhhh - 25-Nov-19 @ 12:51 PM
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments