Know Your Rights
*this information was correct at the time of publishing and may have changed since.*
- 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 http://youthlaw.asn.au/ for their fact sheets about a range of topics like Graffiti, Bullying, Public Transport, Information and Privacy, Going to Court and Police.
Youthlaw provides free and confidential legal advice to young people up to the age of 25, and/or those assisting/working with young people under the age of 25 (such as parents and youth workers). Youthlaw can also provide specific assistance with fines. Fact sheets and YouTube clips are also available for young people, families and workers.
Youthlaw also offer a drop-in clinic at Frontyard Youth Services on Tuesday and Friday from 1pm to 5pm that assists with a range of legal issues. The drop-in clinic is located at: 19 King St, Melbourne 3000 (call prior to check service delivery update).
Youth Law Australia
Offers 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. Select your state so the laws are relevant.
Job Watch Inc
Provides a free and confidential telephone information and referral service. Also provides some case work in the area of employment law as well as fact sheets and Q&A.
Phone: 9662 1933
Freecall: 1800 331 617
Consumer Action Law Centre
Provides free legal services including advice and representation to vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers, financial counselling and free, independent financial advice over the phone and web.
Work and Development Permit scheme (WDP) (Options for working off a fine if you can’t afford to pay it)
The WDP scheme is an initiative started in 2017 by the State government, 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 supportive activities. You need a sponsor to be eligible.
PRACE and the Work and Development Permit scheme (WDP)
PRACE is an accredited agency offering the WDP scheme. The WDP provides 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. Those with unpaid fines, who apply for and are approved for a WDP, can choose to enroll in a PRACE course in order to fulfill the requirements of their WDP. Their class attendance in their chosen course assists them in paying down their fine debt. One hour of class attendance equates to $49.66 being paid off their fine debt.’
Phone: 9462 6077
More information: Download the flyer below
West Heidelberg Community Legal Service (WHCLS)
Provides initial advice by appointment in all areas of law. The service offers casework assistance and court representations. WHCLS has recently established Fines Clinic which operates on Mondays. All enquiries from young people are supported. Please call to chat about support options available.
Address: 21 Alamein Road, West Heidelberg 3081
Phone: 9450 2002
Children and Young Persons Infringement Notice System (CAYPINS)
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.
North East Citizen Advocacy
A community-based program that aims to recognise, promote and protect the rights and interests of people with intellectual disabilities.
Address: 56 Gabonia Ave, Watsonia South 3087
Phone: 8407 3684
Women's Legal Service Victoria (WLSV)
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 service is currently unavailable.
Justice Connect Homeless Law
Homeless Law is a project of Justice Connect. Through Homeless Law, people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness can access specialised free legal services.
Phone: 1800 606 313 (Free Call)
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.
Address: 350 Queen Street, Melbourne 3001
Phone: 1300 792 387
Provides personal and emotional support, referral and information and programs to those in contact with the justice system.
Non legal service.
Address: Ground floor, 565 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 3000
Phone: 8306 6966 (Referral and information)
Freecall: 1800 681 614
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. Website is available in different languages
Phone: 9416 2577
Phone: 1800 068 860 (tenants advice line)