If you're in police custody

If you don’t have your own lawyer and the police have arrested or are holding you, you can talk to a lawyer under the Police Detention Legal Assistance (or PDLA) service.

It’s free to use and there’s no minimum age.

When you can talk to a PDLA service lawyer

You can talk to a PDLA lawyer when:

  • you have been arrested
  • you are being held (detained) without being arrested - for example, if you are being searched for illegal drugs or weapons
  • the police are questioning you about an offence they suspect you have committed and they’ve told you that you have the right to talk to a lawyer.

This might be happening at the police station, in your home, on the street, or anywhere else.

Before you answer any police questions about an offence they suspect you of, you should talk to a lawyer.

This service is free

You won’t have to pay anything to speak to one of these lawyers. The service is free.

It is available to everyone whether or not they can afford their own lawyer.

Contacting a PDLA lawyer

The police have a list of the names and phone numbers of lawyers who are available to be contacted day or night, free of charge. Ask to see the list. You can then phone a lawyer from the list.

If you don’t ask the police for the list, they don’t have to show it to you.

Speaking with a PDLA lawyer

Usually the lawyer will talk to you over the phone. In complicated or serious cases, the lawyer may come and see you.

You have the right to talk to the lawyer in private, whether you’re speaking over the phone or face-to-face.

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