Your right to free legal advice
You have the right to free legal advice (legal aid) if you are questioned at a police station. If you turn down the free legal advice, you can change your mind later.
The Access to Justice Act 1999 provides that the LSC shall fund legal advice and assistance to individuals involved in criminal investigations - from initial questioning by the police to the point at which the decision is made as to whether the individual is to be charged.
How you can get free legal advice
If you have been arrested, you must be told about your right to free legal advice before you are questioned at a police station. You can:
- ask for the police station’s ‘duty solicitor’ (they’re available 24 hours a day and independent of the police)
- tell the police you would like legal advice - the police will contact the Defence Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC)
- ask the police to contact a solicitor (e.g.a solicitor of your choice)
Being questioned without legal advice
Once you’ve asked for legal advice, the police can’t question you until you’ve got it - with some exceptions.
The longest you can be made to wait before getting legal advice is 36 hours after arriving at the police station (or 48 hours for suspected terrorism).