What should I do if I'm arrested?

If you find yourself arrested, it’s crucial to remain calm and know your rights. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do:

  1. Stay Calm and Cooperate: Do not resist arrest or argue with the police officers. Stay calm and cooperate with them.
  2. Ask for the Reason: You have the right to know why you’re being arrested. Ask the arresting officer for the reason for your arrest.
  3. Exercise Your Right to Legal Representation: You have the right to legal advice and representation. You can ask for a solicitor from MK Law to be present during any police questioning.
  4. Provide Personal Information: You may be asked to provide personal information such as your name, address, and date of birth. Provide this information truthfully.
  5. Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent during police questioning. You are not obligated to answer any questions beyond providing basic personal information. Anything you say may be used as evidence, so we advise to wait for legal advice before speaking.
  6. Understand Your Rights: The police must inform you of your rights, including the right to legal representation and the right to notify someone of your arrest.
  7. Cooperate with the Custody Process: You will be taken to a police station for processing. Cooperate with the custody process, including fingerprinting, photographing, and providing DNA samples if required.
  8. Keep Track of Time: The police can only detain you for a certain period without charge. After this time, they must either charge you or release you. Keep track of time and ask for updates on your status if needed.
  9. Contact Someone: You have the right to notify someone of your arrest. This could be a family member, friend, or employer. The police may allow you to make a phone call to inform someone of your situation.
  10. Seek Legal Advice: If you haven’t already done so once at the police station, contact us for legal advice. We can provide guidance on your rights and how to proceed with your case.


The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) sets out a number of rules regarding the procedure the police must follow before and during arresting someone. Under section 24 PACE, a lawful arrest has two key elements:

  • A person’s suspected, attempted or actual involvement in the commission of a criminal offence.
  • Reasonable grounds for believing that the person’s arrest is necessary.

Both of these conditions must be satisfied, and the police officer must make the person being arrested aware that they are being arrested, both conditions are satisfied and why.

An arrest can only be necessary to:

  • enable the name and address of the person in question to be ascertained;
  • prevent the person being injured, causing damage to property, committing an offence against public decency or causing unlawful obstruction of a highway;
  • protect a child or vulnerable person;
  • allow prompt and effective investigation of the offence or the conduct of the person; or
  • prevent the person disappearing.

Upon arrest, unless exceptional circumstances exist, a person must be given a caution and a record of arrest must be made.