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  • 08 Crime and Punishment
  • Search and Arrest
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Search and Arrest

Search and arrest. What a huge area of law. And an interesting one. Many people’s first interaction with police is through traffic stops for blood alcohol breath analysis. But for some, a search or even arrest may be the first interaction with a police officer.

You can learn here about the principles of law behind the power to search and arrest. Remember to be respectful to police officers. For your benefit and theirs. Interactions with police can be scary. Keep it polite. If you haven’t done anything wrong you should have no trouble. If you have done something wrong don’t make it worse by doing something else wrong.

Introduction to search and arrest

Most powers of arrest, search and interrogation are contained within statute. However, these powers are not limited to the police, but include other officials such as Parks and Wildlife Service officers, Custom officers and Fisheries officers. The functions of arrest, search and interrogation ...

Search and Seizure Without a Warrant

Reasonable Belief and Reasonable Suspicion Although reasonable belief and reasonable suspicion may seem like the same thing, they are two different standards at law. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard, requiring ‘I suspect but I cannot prove’. Belief ‘is an inclination of the mind towards ...

Search and Seizure with a Warrant

Warrants are largely governed by the Search Warrants Act 1997, however the carrying out of search warrants issued under this Act is regulated under numerous other Acts, including the Poisons Act. Stolen Goods The Commissioner of Police may issue a general warrant valid for six months to search ...


Arrest Without Warrant Most arrests are made without a warrant. Under the Criminal Code 1924, a police officer can arrest a person without a warrant when the person is committing a crime; when the person is found loitering in circumstances which suggest they may be about to commit a crime; where...

What to do if arrested

Information cards and pamphlets are available from community legal centres that set out what to do in the case of arrest.  These may be useful particularly for vulnerable groups with little knowledge of the law or police powers. There are several rights and obligations that you have when under ar...

Drink Driving and Arrest

Under the Road Safety (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1970 (Tas), police officers have powers relating to drug and alcohol consumption in drivers. Since the introduction of random breath testing, a driver must take a breath test when stopped and asked to do so by a police officer (s7A). If that test is p...

Page last updated 19/03/2018

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