Police can charge you when they see you commit an offence or if they have reasonable belief that you have committed an offence. Although the police usually both charge and arrest you, in the case of some minor offences you may initially only be charged and not arrested. If you have been charged with a crime it’s important that you retain a lawyer as soon as possible.
Remember, police don’t necessarily need a warrant to arrest you. They have broad legal powers to arrest people without a warrant in the following circumstances:
- If you have committed a serious offence
- If you are in the middle of committing a serious offence
- If the police believe you are about to commit a serious offence
- If the police believe there is a warrant out for your arrest
Even if the offence is a minor offence, the police still have the power to arrest you without a warrant in some circumstances where you refuse to identify yourself if they believe that you might repeat the offence or destroy evidence.