Arrest Procedure in Singapore Explained


How does an arrest take place?


A police officer may arrest a person without a warrant where he or she is suspected of being involved in an arrestable offence. Where the offence is not an arrestable offence, the police or respective law enforcement agency must obtain an arrest warrant from the Courts. The arrested person will then be searched and taken back to a police station for questioning as part of their investigations.


What happens at the police station?


Whilst in custody, the arrested person will be interviewed. There are two types of statements that the police may take from him or her, the “long statement” and the “cautioned statement”. Answers that the person gives in response to questions that the police ask as part of their investigations form part of the ‘long statement’.  On the other hand, a ‘cautioned statement’ is taken only after the person has been charged. The purpose of such a statement is for the person to reveal facts that he or she intends to rely on at trial.


Will I be released from the police station? If so, when?


An arrested person can only be detained for a maximum of 48 hours. For further detention, the police must present the person before a magistrate (judge) in Court or via video link and give reasons for detaining him further. If the detention does not exceed this time, Police bail or bond will likely be offered to ensure that the arrested person comes back to the station for further investigations as necessary. A family member or friend will be required to post bail.


What happens after investigations?


Once investigations have been concluded, the evidence gathered by the police will be handed over to the public prosecutor who will make the final decision on whether to formally charge the arrested person and prosecute him in Court. If a decision is made to charge the person, a Court date will be set where he or she will have an opportunity to either plead guilty or claim trial and contest the charges laid against him.


Does a lawyer need to be engaged?


It is good practice to engage a reputable and experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as one has been arrested or charge. A Singapore criminal lawyer will be instrumental in ensuring that the investigations process is thoroughly conducted and that the prosecutor has sufficiently proven his case in court. Even where an accused person intends to plead guilty, a lawyer plays an important role in ensuring that a fair sentence is meted out.

About Author:Philip Ben is a young law practioner and works in top Singapore law firm in Singapore. He is currently writing on subjects related to criminal law in Singapore.

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