Know Your Legal Rights in Australia

Why is it important to know your legal rights?

In Australia, citizens must abide by certain laws. A lesser-known fact is that when it comes to enforcing these laws, you have certain legal and human rights. While it is expected that you live by the law, it is also expected that you enforce your legal rights when required.

Do you know your legal rights? Knowing your legal and human rights is crucial — particularly if you are being questioned, searched, detained, or are facing arrest. These situations are not only confusing, but they are also distressing. Making suitable choices at such times can be difficult, especially if you’re unaware of your rights.

Knowing your legal and human rights is an important first step in empowering yourself:

  1. If you find yourself being questioned by the police — give your name and address ONLY.
  2. Know your legal rights. You are not obligated to speak further, so don’t say anything else, or give out any further information, unless you have spoken to your lawyer. There are some exceptions to the right to silence and you should obtain legal advice urgently as to whether you are obligated to answer any questions asked by police. This is imperative, as anything you do say may be used against you at a later date.
  3. Police are allowed to search your house with a warrant. They can search your vehicle and your body if they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
  4. Never invite police inside your home — unless they have a warrant, in which case you should refer to item 3 above. If they do execute a search at your home, make sure you do not answer any questions. Also, ensure to double-check the documentation of items seized. If you have any concerns over the conduct of the police, your lawyer will raise those concerns at a later date. You should remain calm whilst they are at your property.
  5. Do not attend a police station to “answer any questions”. The only time you need to attend a police station is if you are under arrest. When you are arrested, you should exercise your right to silence and not answer any questions.
  6. If you are arrested and charged, ask for bail or to be brought before a magistrate as soon as possible.
  7. You are not required to meet with ASIO to answer any questions unless they present you with a questioning warrant. If you are contacted by ASIO, you should contact your lawyer for advice. You should not disclose any details over the phone when making the appointment to see your lawyer.

Shelly Legal — your trusted legal rights advocates

At Shelly Legal, we have a deep understanding of why it’s important to know your legal rights. We are passionate about seeking justice for our clients and advocating against inequality while doing so.

Having an experienced and compassionate lawyer on your side can make all the difference when defending yourself in Court or fighting for your rights. If you need legal representation or want to discuss your specific matter, please contact our office today.

Keen to learn more about how the team at Shelly Legal can help you? View our full listing of professional legal services, or enquire about booking a speaking engagement with Principal Solicitor and respected public speaker Lydia Shelly.