By Gloria James-Civetta

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Handling the Arrest of a Family Member in Singapore

2 min read

Unlike some other countries, there is no right to ‘one phone call’ immediately upon arrest in Singapore. In our local context, the police can detain an arrested person for up to 48 hours without granting him the opportunity to communicate with anyone.
During this detention period, the police will conduct their interviews and investigations. If the investigation officers are convinced that the arrested person has or may have committed an offence, they may either:

  • Bring him to Court to tender a criminal charge against him; or
  • Place him under police bail whilst conducting further investigations.

Thus, if someone you hold dear to your heart gets arrested, you may not be able to communicate with the arrested person at all while he/she is under questioning. The arrest of your loved ones may come out of the blue, or you may have been fearing such an event for some time – in any event, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed.

What should you do then?

Gather information

It is crucial that you maintain a calm composure and gather as much information as you can, including the date and time of the arrest, the details of the police officer(s), the possible reason for the arrest, and any evidence or information about the alleged criminal offence.

Our criminal lawyers can help you

This is a crucial time as there are important decisions to be made. Thus, it is important to refer to the right sources for information. Whilst it is useful to talk to other family members or friends about the situation, it is more productive to start speaking to a criminal lawyer.

You should do this as soon as possible. Our experienced criminal team can assist in the following:

  • Explain to you your legal rights;
  • Explain to you the criminal procedures;
  • Obtain more information on the alleged offence (such as the criminal charge and upcoming court dates);
  • Assist with handling personal legal matters (such as writing to employers);
  • Assist in communicating with the prosecution;
  • Reach out to the alleged victims with offers of settlement;
  • Attend the first court mention; and
  • Explain to you what needs to be done in order to bail your loved one(s) out of police custody.
Post-bail matters

The arrested person’s personal belongings may be seized following an arrest. These may contain valuable information about the arrest and alleged criminal offence. Therefore, it is crucial for the defence counsel to speak to the arrested person at the earliest possible time in order to retrieve the most accurate account of the alleged offence and the arrest (such as the questions asked by the investigation officers and the replies given to them).

“This could be a situation where a stitch in time saves nine.”

What can we do for you?

Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our criminal representation lawyers at 6337 0469 or email us at

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