The rights of persons who are suspected or accused of a criminal offence are set out in the sections below. Suspects and accused persons will receive a copy of these texts in custody and/or with a summons from An Garda Síochána:

Letter of Rights Now That You Have Been Summonsed To Court

You have now been served with a Summons. A Summons is a legal document and it means you have to attend a court at the date, time and place stated on it, to answer a criminal accusation. As you are now involved in a court process, you have certain rights. It is important you know these rights, which are explained below.

1. The right to consult with a solicitor and to get legal advice
You have the right to talk to and get legal and other advice from a solicitor.
A solicitor is a lawyer and is independent from An Garda Síochána (Irish police) or State authorities.

You may be able to get legal aid free of charge. On the court date, you can apply for free legal aid to the judge hearing your case. The Judge may need some information from you to decide if free legal aid can be granted and will consider the following matters before making a decision on legal aid:

  • Whether you have enough money to pay for your own lawyer;
  • Given the seriousness of the charge or offence, whether it is in the interest of justice that you should have legal aid in the preparation and conduct of your defence.

2. The right to remain silent
In general, you do not have to answer any questions about the accusation made in the Summons or provide information about the accusation made in the Summons.

But –

  • You should answer when the Registrar calls your name and answer any procedural questions the Judge asks you in court.
  • When you are asked, you should say whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.
  • You have a right not to give evidence – however if you do decide to give evidence in court, you have to answer any questions that are asked of you about the accusation in the summons.

Your solicitor (if you have one) can help you to decide on the best approach for you.

3. The right to ask for further information about what you are accused of
The Summons has information about what you are being accused of, but you can ask for more information and documents about the accusation.

When you get to court, you or your solicitor (if you have one) can ask the Judge for more information and documents. If the Judge grants you this, the Judge may postpone your case to give you time to consider all of the information (and any documents) before you decide if you want to plead guilty or not guilty to what you are being accused of.

Your solicitor (if you have one) can advise you on the best approach for you.

4. The right to ask the judge for an interpreter or translation of documents
You can ask the Judge for an interpreter or translation of documents. If the Judge orders this assistance in court, it will be free of charge. The Judge may postpone your case to make sure that an interpreter is available.

If you have a hearing or speech impediment, you can ask the Judge for an interpreter or other help. If the Judge orders this assistance in court, it will be free of charge.

Letter of Rights in Custody Cases

You have been arrested by Gardaí and you have legal rights while in Garda custody.

The Gardaí will at all times respect your rights, your dignity as a human being and shall not subject you to ill treatment of any kind.

A member of An Garda Síochána known as “the member in charge” is responsible for your safety in Garda custody and will make sure your rights are respected and explained to you. You can speak with that person at any time and tell him/her if you have any concerns about those rights. This person will keep a record of your time in custody and will read over this page to you to explain your rights. You will also be given more information that will explain these rights in greater detail.
If you have specific needs to help you understand this information, please tell the member in charge.

YOUR RIGHTS

  1. You have the right to know why you have been brought to this Garda station and what it is you are suspected to have done.
  2. You have the right to legal advice and to talk to a solicitor confidentially. If you can’t afford a solicitor the Gardaí will explain how a solicitor can be provided free of charge.
  3. You have the right to an interpreter and a translation service, should you require them. This is free. The interpreter may help you to talk to your solicitor and must  keep that communication confidential. If required, you may also have a right to translation of the documents in your case.
  4. You have a right to silence. You do not have to answer any question other than providing some personal information, including your name, address and date of birth. We may ask you questions about your health, but that is to ensure that you are cared for while in the station. In certain circumstances, the Gardaí may inform you that your right to silence is limited. If that happens this will be fully explained to you. Your solicitor can help you decide on that.
  5. You have the right to have someone told you are here. If you are under the age of 18 years, this will be your parent or guardian. If you over the age of 18 years, this could be a family member or friend.
  6. If you are not an Irish citizen, you have the right to contact your embassy or consulate, or if you want, we can tell them that you are detained.
  7. You have the right to get medical care and if you feel you require it, we will ask a doctor to attend the Garda station.
  8. You have the right to know why the Gardaí may take your photograph, fingerprints, palm prints or DNA. If your clothing is seized, then the Gardaí will provide you with replacement clothes. This is free.
  9. You have a right to challenge the lawfulness of your arrest and detention in the High Court. Your solicitor can advise you how to do that.
  10. You have the right to apply to the court for evidence and relevant material if you are charged with an offence. Your solicitor can advise you on how to do that.
  11. You have the right to know how long you can be held in custody. The maximum time you can be held in custody before being brought before a Judge is either 24 or 48 hours, unless you are charged with an offence. This will depend on what you have been arrested and detained for. An Garda Síochána or your solicitor will explain this further.

If you are not sure about any of these rights, tell the member in charge. Please keep this information and read it as soon as possible, you should also show it to your solicitor if you are legally represented. It will help you to make decisions while you are in Garda custody.