I’ve been accused of a crime, what happens next?

A lot will depend on what you have been accused of and what action the Police are likely to take.

If you have been informed that a complaint has been made against you, then the Police are likely to want to interview you to get your version of events. This may taken place at a Police station for a voluntary interview or you may be formally arrested - depending on the accusation.  

The police can ask you to come to the police station voluntarily to talk to them, but they shouldn’t formally interview you without first giving you a caution. If you’re going to be interviewed you should always ask for a solicitor to be present. If you haven’t been arrested the police must tell you that you can leave whenever you want.

The police can arrest you if they have a warrant for your arrest, or in other situations such as if they think you’re about to commit a crime, are committing a crime or have committed a crime. The police can also arrest you under The Mental Health Act if they feel they need to for your safety.

There are strict procedures that must take place when you are arrested.

  • The CAB has a guide to the powers of the police. 
  • You can also find government information about being arrested.

For minor offences you might be offered a Police Caution. This is where you admit to the offence and agree to be cautioned. A caution will show on a standard and enhanced DBS check.

If you are charged with a crime you’ll normally have to go to court. You will be given a charge sheet which tells you what you’ve been charged with. The police will then decide whether you can go home or have to stay in custody. 

You can find out more about what happens when you are charged with a crime.

You can also find out about the courts here

If you are arrested for a criminal offence you must tell the University, as they might take their own action on the offence. There is more information on how the University deals with criminal offences. If this happens, you can get help and support from LUU Advice.