WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE CAUTIONED BY THE POLICE
We recently had to deal with a client who due to a caution received from an undercover cab enforcement officer unfortunately found that he had lost his PHV Licence. How had this occurred? Well he had been approached by the undercover cab enforcement officer and asked how much a fare was; the next thing he was aware of was being arrested and cautioned at a Police Station. He was assured by the Police that a caution would not be regarded as a criminal offence that could affect his PHV Licence, and in his hurry to have the matter resolved signed documents without first seeking advice from a Solicitor.
A caution is a tool used by the Police for low level offending. In the event that you find yourself in a situation where you are cautioned and arrested by the Police REMEMBER YOU HAVE A RIGHT to free legal advice under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). If you have been cautioned but not arrested you cannot be prevented from speaking to a Solicitor.
A person cannot be invited to accept a caution unless he has first admitted the offence and there are strict guidelines set down by PACE regarding the method for obtaining and recording admissions and if these are not adhered to you may be able to challenge the police’s decision to caution you.
A caution is not appropriate if you have not made a clear and reliable admission of the offence or, in the event that you have raised a defence. As difficult and frustrating as it may be, if, you find yourself in this situation WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO A SOLICITOR OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE BEFORE MAKING ANY ADMISSIONS
The effect of a person admitting their guilt and agreeing to accept a caution must be fully and clearly explained to any offender both verbally and in writing before they are cautioned. Based on what our client told us the police did not provide a full and clear explanation of the effect of admitting to the offence prior to being cautioned and he may have been able to challenge the caution if he had been aware of this.
Though a caution is not a form of sentence (only a Court can impose a sentence) or a criminal conviction it is an admission of guilt and will form part of an offender’s criminal record, and, it may be disclosed for employment vetting and licensing purposes.
This article is for information purposes only