Can You Refuse To Answer Police Questions Without A Lawyer: 8 Key Points to Protect Your Rights

Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer?

In Australia, you have the right to remain silent, which means you can refuse to talk to the police without a lawyer present.

There are some situations where you have to provide the police with answers to their questions and if you refuse to do so you are breaking the law. For example, if they ask you to provide your name and address or if they ask you a question about an accident you witnessed.

If you don't know what to say or feel uneasy, you can ask for a lawyer before you answer any questions.

Can You Refuse To Answer Police Questions Without A Lawyer, and Can You Refuse to Attend Police Interviews?

Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer, and can you refuse to attend police interviews?

At any time, you can tell the police that you don't want to be interviewed.

You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to stay silent whether or not you are in jail.

No matter where the police ask you questions-on the street, at your home, or while you are being arrested or held in custody-you have the right to stay quiet and not answer.

Do I Have the Right to Refuse in Identifying Myself in Physical Evidence Like Photos and Videos?

Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer identifying yourself in physical evidence like photos and videos?

Yes, you can refuse to physically identify yourself in any physical evidence shown to you by the police officer.

If the photos, CCTV footage, or videos presented to show your identity are pretty evident that it is impossible to refuse to answer police interviews, it would be best to ask for your lawyer to seek legal advice regarding the consequences of confirming your identity to police interviews.

Always remember that confirming that you are the person in the hard evidence gathered could lead to police charging you directly for the crime. It could be used as evidence against you.

Under What Circumstances Do I Need to Confirm My Identity to the Police, and What Are the Consequences for Noncompliance?

Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer to confirm your identity, and what are the consequences for doing so?

According to Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 No 103, here are some of the circumstances that a person need to identify themselves to the police and the penalties for noncompliance:

  • When the police reasonably suspect that a person may be able to assist in the criminal investigation of a suspected indictable offence because they were present at or near the alleged crime scene, $200 is the maximum penalty for noncompliance.
  • If the officer reasonably suspects an AVO has been issued against the suspect. The maximum penalty for noncompliance is $200.
  • The person in question was a driver, passenger, or vehicle owner, and the officer has reasonable suspicion that they were involved in an illegal activity. The maximum sanction for noncompliance is $5,500 or one year in prison, or both.
  • The individual was involved in a car accident in which someone was injured or killed. It could also be when the person neglectfully or chose not to provide their information to the other driver involved in the accident. Also, in a situation where any of the vehicles were towed. Lastly, in cases when a police officer requests their information. Within 24 hours of a car accident, a person must provide their identity and address, the owner's name and address, and the vehicle registration information. A person will also be required to explain the circumstances surrounding the accident. Before explaining, it would be prudent to consult a counsel if you find yourself in this situation. The maximum possible penalty for noncompliance is $2,200.

Does Refusing to Attend a Police Interview Mean Being Uncooperative?

Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer, and does refusing to attend a police interview mean I am being uncooperative?

Refusing to attend a police interview doesn't necessarily mean you are being uncooperative.

You have the right to decline a voluntary interview with the police, and in some cases, it may be in your best interest to do so.

It is important to consult a lawyer before agreeing to be interviewed so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to participate.

It's important to remember that you can still be polite and respectful while exercising your rights.

If you choose not to attend an interview, communicate your decision respectfully and consider discussing your choice with a lawyer.

How Long Can the Police Make Me Stay for Questioning?

Once a person has been arrested, the police only have a certain amount of time to talk to them and do more research.

A reasonable amount of time could be up to 6 hours unless officers ask for it to be longer (by getting a detention warrant) for up to another 6 hours.

Can You Refuse To Answer Police Questions Without A Lawyer, and Are There Limits To the Right to Remain Silent?

Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer, and are there limitations set on this right?

It is illegal to refuse to answer a police query if you conceal information about a serious indictable offence.

A severe indictable offence carries a maximum sentence of five years or more in prison. The maximum penalty for refusing to answer is two or five years if the information is used for personal gain.

This frequently occurs in drug-related crimes such as illegal dealerships or usage, wherein relatives turn a blind eye to protect an offender.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Taking Part In A Police Interview?

Taking part in a police interview can have both advantages and disadvantages. Here is a summary of some of them:


  1. Clarify misunderstandings: Participating in a police interview can provide an opportunity to clarify misunderstandings or clear up false accusations, which may lead to the police deciding not to pursue charges against you.
  2. Provide helpful information: If you have relevant information that could help with the investigation, sharing it during an interview may aid in solving the case more quickly.
  3. Show cooperation: By taking part in the interview, you may demonstrate your willingness to cooperate with the police, which can be perceived positively by law enforcement and potentially the court if the case proceeds.
  4. Opportunity to share your side of the story: An interview allows you to share your perspective and provide an account of events that may be crucial to the investigation.


  1. Risk of self-incrimination: Without proper legal advice, you may unintentionally make statements or provide information that could be used against you in court.
  2. Misinterpretation or miscommunication: It is important that you communicate clearly so that you are not misunderstood as this could lead to further complications in the case.
  3. Inadvertently providing inaccurate information: If you are nervous or unsure about specific details, you may inadvertently provide false information that could harm your case or the investigation.
  4. Stress and pressure: Police interviews can be intimidating and stressful, affecting your ability to think clearly and respond appropriately.


Question: Can you refuse to answer police questions without a lawyer?

Answer: In Australia, you have the right to remain silent, which means you can refuse to talk to the police without a lawyer. In some situations you will be required to answer the police, and failure to do so may lead to you breaking the law. If you are unsure of your rights and obligations it is best to speak with a lawyer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.