NSW The police arrested my father in Sydney. How long can they keep him in custody?

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Josh S

9 April 2014
Urgent call out to criminal lawyers: The police have arrested my father in Sydney. How long can they keep him in custody under criminal law? What happens if they charge him?

Amanda E

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
After the arrest, the police may hold your father for an initial period of up to 4 hours to investigate which is considered ‘reasonable’. They can apply to the court for an extension of the initial 4-hour period, which can be granted for an additional 8 hours. Once that time is up, they must either charge or release him.

If they charge your father, he will be processed (which will likely involve taking his fingerprints and photograph) and will usually be released on bail. There may or may not be conditions on the bail such as that he live at a particular address or regular reporting to the police. Your father may be refused bail and if so, then he could apply to the court for bail (usually the next day).

As you may be aware, your father has the right to phone a family member, friend or lawyer.

Check out the Legal Aid website if you’d like more legal information: http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/. Please let me know if you need to find a lawyer for your father.

Source: http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/

David E

9 April 2014
To add to the previous answer, the initial investigation period does not include ‘time outs’ which include:
a) Time taken to take the accused to the nearest police station or location with investigation facilities.
b) Time taken to arrange, wait for and/or communicate with a criminal lawyer, relative, friend, guardian, embassy official, interpreter or doctor.
c) Time taken to arrange and receive medical treatment.
d) Time reasonably required to arrange and undertake an identification parade (police ‘line-up’).
e) Time taken for the accused to rest, have refreshments, or go to the toilet.
f) Time taken for the accused to recover from the effects of alcohol and/or drugs.
g) Time reasonably required to wait for the arrival of police officers or people with special skills necessary for the investigation.

The total amount of ‘time outs’ cannot exceed 2 hours. If it exceeds 2 hours, then the additional period of time (for example, 30 mins if the period totalled 2 hours, 30 mins) will be counted towards the 4-hour investigation period.

Source: http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/publications/factsheets-and-resources/police-powers