Police stations - Outcomes
What might happen after I have been arrested?
After you have been arrested, there are a number of things that can happen. Below are some things below that mean you do not need to go to court.
- No further action: nothing else happens
- Warning or reprimand: this is for under 18 year olds only
- Caution or conditional caution
- Fixed Penalty Notice: this is a fine
- Going to hospital under the Mental Health Act
- Going to hospital voluntarily
The police can charge you without going to the CPS for some offences. Some of these offences include:
- summary only offences such as theft, criminal damage (of less than £5000) driving offences and common assault,
- shoplifting, and
- some offences which they think the Magistrate’s court will be able to deal with.
Your legal representative will speak to the police about if they should charge you. Being charged is when you must go to court. If this happens you can plead guilty or not guilty. If you did not commit the crime and you plead not guilty and there will then be a trial.
The police can only issue a caution when you admit you are guilty and the case could have gone to court. It is a strong warning from the police that if you commit another crime you may have to go to court. Your appropriate adult should be there when the police caution you. Your legal representative should check you understand what a caution means. You have to agree to accept a caution. You should talk to your legal representative before you agree to receive a caution. A caution goes on your criminal record but is not a criminal conviction. Depending on what it is for it may show up on a criminal record check.
To find out more about 'Criminal convictions - How and When to Tell Others', click here.
The police can give this to anyone 18. There are only certain times you can get a conditional caution so ask your legal representative. There are three types of conditions that you need to follow. These conditions should:
- help you change your behaviour and not offend in the future,
- make sure you can undo any damage you have done when you committed the offence, or
- be a punishment to you for the offence you committed.
These conditions must not go on for more than 16 weeks. If you do not meet the conditions, you may need to go to court for the original crime.
Detention under the Mental Health Act
You might be detained under the Mental Health Act. This will happen if:
- you have a mental disorder, and
- yours or other people’s health and safety are at risk.
You can find out more about the ‘Mental Health Act’ here.
When you may have to go to court
Bailed to return
You are allowed to leave the police station but there has been no final decision made about what will happen in your case. The police may need to do more investigation or the CPS may need more time to decide if they will charge you.
This gives your legal representative more time to speak to the CPS and explain why they should not charge you. This may be a chance to get a report about your mental health to support what your legal representative is saying. This can help to move you away from the criminal justice system.
You have to return to the police station when you are told to or you will be in breach of bail and the police could arrest you again. The police should give you a sheet of paper called ‘Bail Notice’ which will give the date, time and address of the police station you need to return to.
Charge and bail
If the CPS feels you should be prosecuted in court, the custody sergeant will charge you for a specific crime. The appropriate adult must be there when they do this and you and the appropriate adult should get a copy of the charge sheet.
If you are charged, you should apply for legal aid as soon as possible. You can find out more about getting help from a solicitor here.
The police should let you leave the police station on bail until your court date. The police can decide not to grant bail if they think you:
- will not go to court if they give you bail,
- might commit more crimes whilst on bail, or
- might interfere with witnesses.
If the police keep you at the station, you should get to go to court the following morning. Your legal representative could talk to the police about the effect being held would have on your mental health.
You can find more information about what happens in court here.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays