Your Rights & Legal Information

Table of contents

Know Your Rights

  • If requested, you should give your name and address to police and protective service officers (PSO). Police and PSO’s must tell you the reason why they are questioning you, if they don’t you should ask. You also have the right to ask for the officer’s name, rank and where they are stationed. If you refuse or give a false name and address you can be charged and fined $500.

  • You do not have to go anywhere with the police unless arrested. The police must tell you "You are under arrest", and state why you are under arrest. Always ask why they are taking you to the police station and for the details of the arresting officer.

  • If arrested, you have the right to phone a lawyer. You should ask for this. You also have the right to phone a friend or relative.

  • You do not have to answer other police questions. Be calm and polite. There is no such thing as an "off the record" statement. If you have a clear explanation of your innocence, it may be advisable to give this to your lawyer first. Sometimes you can get into trouble by answering police questions. To each and every question (other than your name and address), answer "No comment until I get legal advice".

  • If you are under 18 years old, the police cannot question you without a parent, guardian or an independent adult present.

  • You "have to" give your fingerprints if you are 15 years old or over, and the police suspect that you may have committed an offence. Police may use reasonable force to take your fingerprints. If you are between 10 and 14, you "don't have to" give your fingerprints unless both you and a parent/guardian agree, or the police obtain a court order.

  • You have the right to refuse your photograph being taken, or being put in an identification "line-up".

  • You can say no if police may request you undergo a forensic procedure (e.g. blood sample, taking pubic hair or saliva). The police must get a court order first.

  • Police can only search you, or your car, if they reasonably suspect illegal drugs, weapons, stolen goods or to preserve evidence. Otherwise, a search warrant is required.

  • Police must provide an interpreter if they believe that you require one.


For information on rights and responsibilities check out for their fact sheets about a range of topics like Graffiti, Bullying, Public Transport, Information and Privacy, Going to court and police. 

Legal Information

Fact sheets and YouTube clips are also available for young people, families and workers.
Ph: 03 9611 2412

Lawstuff offer legal advice via the internet for young people. You can ask a legal question via email, view online resources on topics like juvenile justice and weapons, or watch an animation to find out what to expect in court.

Job Watch Inc
Provides a free and confidential telephone information and referral service. Also provides some case work in the area of employment law.
Ph: 9662 1933
Freecall: 1800 331 617

Consumer Action manage MoneyHelp 
A telephone based financial service and financial counselling service.
Brochures can be ordered through their website.
Ph: 1800 007 007

Work and Development Permit scheme (Options for working off a fine if you cant afford to pay it)

The Work and Development Permit (WDP) scheme is a new initiative to provide vulnerable and disadvantaged people with a non-financial option to address their fine debt.  A WDP allows an eligible person to work off their fine debt by participating in certain activities and treatment.

Legal Services

West Heidelberg Community Legal Service
West Heidelberg Legal Service provides initial advice by appointment in all areas of law. The service offers casework assistance and court representations. The recently established Fines Clinic is operating every Monday at the Community Health Centre. Volunteers at the Fines Clinic can assist young people in preparing and presenting material to the Registrar at the Children's Court. All enquiries from young people are supported.
21 Alamein Road
West Heidelberg 3081.
Ph: 9450 2002

Youthlaw @ Frontyard
Youthlaw provide free and confidential legal advice to people under the age of 25. Drop in available 2.00pm - 5.00pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Fact sheets and YouTube clips are also available for young people, families and workers.
19 King Street,
Melbourne. 3000. (Between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street.)
Ph: 9611 2412

Caypins stands for the Children and Young Persons Infringement Notice System. If a young person receives a fine that they cannot pay, they are able to organise a time, place and date with a CAYPINS registrar, who will decide what to do about the fine at court.
Ph: 8638 3300

North East Citizen Advocacy 
North East Citizen Advocacy is a community-based program that aims to recognise, promote and protect the rights and interests of people with intellectual disabilities.
56 Gabonia Ave                                                                                                                             
Watsonia South
Ph: 8407 3684

Women's Legal Service Victoria
The Women's Legal Service Victoria is a legal service for women specialising in relationship breakdown and violence against women. WLSV provides face-to-face legal services including court representation and telephone legal advice and referral.
Drop in available on Thursdays 9.30am - 12.00pm.
Level 10, 277 William Street
Ph: 8622 0600

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
VALS provides legal aid and assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
273 High St
Ph: 9418 5999
Freecall: 1800 064 865

PILCH Homeless Persons Legal Clinic
PILCH is a specialist legal service that provides free legal advice and advocacy to people who are homeless. If you would like to make an appointment to meet a lawyer in an outreach location, this can be done via telephone.                                                                          
Ph: 1800 606 313

Legal Aid Victoria
Legal information about school, sex, carrying weapons, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, health, the police and courts, relationships, tattoos and body piercing. Legal Aid Victoria also have a great recourse 'Am I old Enough?' that covers common legal issues young people face. 
350 Queen Street, Melbourne 3001
Ph: 1300 792 387


Court Network
Court Network provides personal and emotional support, referral and information and programs to those in contact with the justice system.
Non legal service.
Ground floor,
565 Lonsdale Street                                                                                                                         
Melbourne, 3000
Ph: 8306 6966 (Referral and information)
Freecall: 1800 681 614

Consumer Action Law Centre
Consumer Action provides free legal advice and representation to vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers across Victoria and is the largest specialist
consumer legal practice in Australia.

Tenants Union of Victoria
The Tenants Union of Victoria aims to inform and educate tenants about their rights, improve conditions for tenants, improve the status of tenants and represent the collective interests of tenants in law and policy making. They provide advice, assistance and advocacy for tenants of private and public residential properties, and residents of rooming houses and caravan parks in Victoria, Australia.
Ph: 9416 2577