In this section
START OF Criminal justice
START OF Police and your rights
END OF Police and your rights
END OF Criminal justice
If you’ve been arrested and taken to the police station, you may be held in custody in the watch-house.
If you’ve been charged with an offence and the police won’t give you bail, they must take you to court as soon as reasonably possible. You can apply to the court for bail.
If you’ve been charged with an offence and you’re going to court, you should get legal advice.
If you’re taken to court directly from the watch-house, you may be able to get help from the duty lawyer.
Once you’re in custody, the police have the power to:
Generally, you won’t be allowed visitors, except for a lawyer. Someone can drop off a change of clothes for you—if the watch-house keeper agrees. If you’re moved to a remand centre you may have visitors during visiting hours. You won’t be able to access your prescribed medication until you’re assessed by a government medical officer who can authorise medication.
If you’re being held for questioning about an indictable offence, the police can hold you for up to 8 hours, but they can only question you for up to 4 hours. See being arrested.
If you've been charged with an offence and the police won't give you bail, they must take you to court as soon as reasonably possible.
When you go to court, you can:
If the court gives you bail, you can leave once you’ve signed your bail undertaking.
If the court doesn't give you bail, you'll be returned to custody until your next court date. First, you’ll be taken back to the watch-house, and then you’ll be taken to a remand centre until your next court date.
You usually won't stay in the watch-house for more than a few days, but you may be held in a remand centre for much longer. Get legal advice.
You may need legal advice if:
We may give legal advice about being held in police custody.
If you’ve been charged with a serious offence, you should apply for legal aid (if you’re eligible), or find a private lawyer, rather than wait for a legal advice booking.
The following services may be able to give you legal help and advice.
Community legal centres give free legal advice and information on criminal law. Contact them to find out if they can help.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation on criminal law matters.
These organisations may be able to help with your matter. They don’t give legal advice.
Queensland Police Service Headquarters investigates complaints about police misconduct and breaches of discipline. The internal complaints process is monitored by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Crime and Corruption Commission investigates complaints about official misconduct, even where the original complaint has been made to Queensland Police. The organisation monitors the police internal complaints process and can take over investigations if necessary, but does not handle complaints about police misconduct directly.
Queensland Courts provides information about the:
Last updated 14 July 2022