Let’s begin by defining what an arrest is, there are a wide range of definitions for the common term ‘arrest’ but it will usually means a lawful seizure. An arrest here would include a seizure or physical contact with a person’s body for the purpose of holding or keeping the person that has been accused in custody so that they can answer to a criminal charge or to prevent the person from committing a crime.
A person can only be arrested by a Malaysian police officer or anyone else that has been empowered by the law to carry out the arrest and this includes anti-corruption agency officers as well as drug enforcement. A police officer can also arrest someone that is suspected of committing an offence without a warrant, especially if they have reasonable grounds of suspecting that something has been committed or is in the process of committing an offence at any place.
If the person resists the arrests to attempt them then the police officer has the power to use reasonable force to ensure that the person is captured and will remain captured. However you should take note that resisting an arrest from a police is an offence as you are obstructing a lawful arrest and you can be punished for it. If you believe that you are innocent then you should never run or try to resist the arrest. A police officer however cannot use deadly force when trying to arrest that particular person unless the suspect has threatened the police officer in anyway; pose a threat to a third party or the person is trying to flee and is suspected of committing a violent crime.
Your rights after you have been arrested
After you have been arrested you are entitled to some rights upon your rest, however you should also take note that these rights are not the ones you see on Hollywood movies so you should not be confused. Based on your constitutional rights the police officer must inform you on why you have been arrested before they can begin the interrogation. However if the police officer did not inform you on the reason behind the arrest then nothing you say as an suspect cannot be produced as evidence against you during the trial.
A typical caution is as follows and must be administered as such or in the same capacity, “it is my duty to warn you that you are not obliged to say anything or to answer any question, but anything that you say whether in answer to a question or not may be given in to the court as evidence.” Even if the officer fails to give you the caution, the arrest by the police officer will still remain valid. The only difference in this particular situation is that whatever you say in response to the questioning of the police will not be admissible during your trial. If the police officer questions you before you are actually detained or if you volunteer the information to the police officer then those statements provided by you will then most likely be used in the trial.
Under the fundamental rights which have been granted to you by the Federal Constitution, if you are arrested for any reason then you must be informed about the reasons behind your arrest as soon as possible, in ordinary language unless of course there are special circumstances where you are not to be told of the grounds for your arrest or if you make it impossible for them to inform you about it. The Federal Constitution also provides you with the right as a suspect in a criminal case to consult as well as be defended by a legal practitioner of your choice in all of your future prosecutions. However you should take note that you do not have to be informed of such rights, so it is important that you are aware of you rights as granted to you by the Federal Constitution.
Things you should do if you are arrested or taken to a police station
The first thing that you need to remember is that anything you do or say may be used against you while you are in the custody of the police. So it is important that you remain calm and do not get into an argument with the police officer or make any statement about the alleged crime.
In a criminal case you cannot be a witness for yourself so try to find witnesses and write down their names and contact information as this will help you in your case. That is the reason why you should stay calm, so that you keep a clear head and not do or say anything that can make the situation worse than before. In fact that should be the first thing you do when you get arrested, try to remember every single detail including the date and time. Also make sure to take down the police officer’s badge as well as the license plate number of the police car.
If you feel that the police officer has violated their powers in anyway, do not complain on the scene (remember anything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law). Instead file a written complaint with the Police department’s internal affairs division on a later date. Another thing that you should be aware of is that in the eyes of the law you are presumed innocent until found guilty in the court of law, this means that you do not have to submit to any form of questioning by the police. However the only information that you are required to provide them is your name, your address and identity card number.
After you have been arrested and taken into police custody, immediately inform the police officer that you want a lawyer as this is your legal right that has been granted to you under the Federal Constitution. This means that the police officer has to let you call to get your own lawyer, or contact your friends or family to get a lawyer for you. So while you are in custody you have the right to remain silent until your lawyer arrives to provide you with legal advice before you talk to the police officer. However if you do decide to answer some of the questions that the police have asked you make sure that you always tell the truth. This is because whether you lie intentionally or unintentionally, that particular lie can be used in court so that it can be proven that you are a person who tells lies so that you can get yourself out of trouble.
It is best recommended that you do not try to give reasons or explanations to the police without your lawyer being present at that time. Make your defense in a court of law after you and your lawyer have decided on what is the best option for your current predicament. If you wish you can even defend yourself in the court, however even when lawyers themselves are accused of a crime they would normally hire other lawyers to defend them also. So do what you think is best for your own interest.
After your lawyer has arrived you can start to answer the police’s questions or better yet you should let your lawyer do all the talking for you. Never ever try to bribe your way out of the situation not only is it an offence to do so but it will make your situation even worse then before as this may be used against you in court. However deals can still be made between you and the police officer if you cooperate with the police’s investigation and answer all their questions. You should be aware that verbal agreements are useless as it can not be used in court, so try to get a written agreement. Usually this will be done with your lawyer negotiating with the prosecuting lawyer on the terms and agreements.
If the crime that you have been accused of is not that serious you can be released on bail and under certain circumstances you can even be released without bail or have your bail lowered. However this is up to the discretion of the court or the police officer in charge of the police district but your lawyer can still ask about this possibility. If for some reason you are not allowed to be released on bail then you will be kept in remand until the date of your trial.
How long can I remain in police custody?
A police officer cannot detain you for more than 24 hours; this is unless they have obtained a remand order earlier. If not, then the police officer that has arrested you must take before a magistrate to be charged within 24 hours after you have been arrested. The 24 hours exclude the time that is taken for the journey from the place that you were initially arrested to the Magistrates Court.
If more time is needed for the police investigation then the police officer must produce you before a Magistrate so that they can request for the permission to detain you for further investigation. The detainment cannot exceed 15 days in a whole. However if the police officer deems that there is no need for you to be detained any longer than you will be released on bail to ensure that you make the court appearance on the appointed date. You should also be aware that there are certain cases where you cannot be bailed out, in such cases you will be remanded until the date for your court appearance.
You can be detained up to 60 days by the police officer on suspicion upon ministerial satisfaction where you can detain under the authority of the minister for up to 2 years each time. If you feel that the police officer has misused their power while you were under custody where the police officer can be punished under the Police Act 1971. As mentioned earlier do not attempt to voice your dissatisfaction in front of the police men, instead make a written complaint with the Police Department’s internal affairs division on a later date.