Rights and law

Arrest and court

Arrest and your rights

The police may arrest you if they:

  • believe that you have broken the law
  • have a warrant (court document) for your arrest
  • believe you are mentally ill, and might harm yourself or someone else.

If an incident has occurred and the police ask for your name and address, you must give them this information. It is an offence to give a false name or address.

If you are not under arrest you do not have to go to the police station, even if you are asked to.

If you are arrested

When you have been arrested, you will be taken to a police station where you should be advised of your rights.

  • You will be told why you have been arrested and the nature of the allegations.
  • You can make one telephone call (in the presence of a police officer) to a relative or friend to inform them of your whereabouts.
  • You are entitled to have a solicitor, relative or friend present during any questioning or investigation while in custody.
  • You are entitled to an interpreter if you need one.
  • You are entitled to receive medical treatment if you need it.

Young people under 18

  • You are entitled to certain protections, such as having an adult present if you are questioned.
  • The police must try to contact your parent, guardian or carer if you're under 18 and have been arrested.
  • You can't be subjected to an interrogation or investigation until an 'appropriate adult' is present to represent your interests - this can be your parent or guardian, another family member or friend aged 18 or over, a social worker.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI)

If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI), you should be provided with a copy of the printed information from the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM). The police will notify the ALRM that you have been arrested. An Aboriginal field officer can help ATSI prisoners:

  • initiate arrangements for bail or legal assistance and notify friends or relatives
  • arrange for an interpreter to be present during investigation or court proceedings.

Am I entitled to bail?

Bail is an agreement made between an arrested person and the Crown which sets out the conditions of release from custody before their matter is heard in court.

If you have been arrested, you have the right to apply for bail and this may or may not be granted. If bail is rejected, you will be given a form with the reasons why bail is refused. If you are under 18 years of age, you can request a review of the bail refusal and the matter heard at a youth court as soon as possible. For adults, the review of the bail refusal will be heard in court no later than 4.00 pm the following day.

Going to court

See the Courts Administration Authority for information about:


Related information

On this site

Complaints against police

Other websites


Page last updated 1 November 2017

Provided by:
Government of South Australia
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/rights-and-law/arrest-and-court
Last Updated:
01/11/17
Printed on:
25/11/17
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016