What Should You Do If You Are Being Investigated For A Criminal Matter In Singapore?

What Should You Do If You Are Being Investigated For A Criminal Matter In Singapore?


If you have been arrested, or have just been informed by the police, or other law enforcement agency that you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, you should familiarize yourself with the investigative process, and learn how to protect yourself by knowing your rights in Singapore.

Every stage during the investigative process is important and what you say to the law enforcement officers can have potential implications.

You should be cautious when giving your statements, and always be aware of what you are saying. Even if you incriminate yourself out of confusion or nerves, it can adversely affect the outcome of your matter. Do note that everything you say to a law enforcement officer during the investigative process will be recorded and can be used against you.

Ideally, you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you as early as possible during the investigative process. Regardless of whether you feel you have committed the crime in question, it can be very useful to have a lawyer on retainer to advise you on your options in choosing to plead guilty or to claim trial.

Here are some guidelines on what to consider during this highly stressful process:-

Prepare In Advance For The Interview

As stated earlier, it's usually a good idea to seek out a criminal lawyer prior to the interview to determine your rights in advance.

Generally, if you roughly know what you are being investigated for, a useful way to help yourself (for speaking with both criminal lawyers as well as investigators) is to prepare a thorough chronology of events as well as any possible evidence you have in your favour.

You should also recognize that you will likely have to make statements to the authorities which will usually be facilitated and recorded in English. If you are more comfortable in a different language, it is important to emphasize this to the investigators at the start so that they can arrange for a translator to assist in the taking of your statement.

Provide Your Lawyer With All The Facts Of Your Matter

If you end up engaging a lawyer to represent you, please understand that you are not trying to gain your lawyer's approval. Regardless of what you have done, be honest when explaining the facts to your lawyer.

Your lawyer has a duty of confidentiality as well as a duty to represent you to the best of his/her ability. He/she cannot do this properly or advise you on any possible defences you may have if you omit certain "undesirable" facts.

Worse still, if you end up revealing different facts subsequently contrary to what you previously told your lawyer, your lawyer may end up in a difficult scenario where he/she may have to end up discharging himself/herself.

Establish Your Evidence (If Necessary)

Generally, if you roughly know what you are being investigated for and wish to prove your innocence or defend against the possible charges, you will need to gather evidence to support your position.

As a starting point, you should think about obtaining any evidence that will be helpful to your position. Examples of such evidence could be physical documents, CCTV footage, Whatsapp/Telegram messages, emails, etc.

If you are aware of witnesses who can support your position, it is important to inform your lawyer as soon as possible. Particularly if the witnesses are reluctant to assist, your lawyer may have to subsequently make an application to compel the attendance of the witness at trial (if necessary).

It is also important to note that you should not approach potential witnesses yourself to avoid any potential allegations of impropriety. Your lawyer can arrange for a third party to record a statutory declaration from these witnesses and to arrange for them to attend subsequently at trial (if necessary).

Do also note that you should inform your lawyer as soon as possible if you have an alibi, as your lawyer will have to provide notice of this as early as he/she can. 

Know Your Rights Against Self-Incrimination

Be aware of your rights against self-incrimination when speaking to investigators. 

You do not need to say anything that may expose you to a criminal charge.

However, do note that this has to be tempered against the fact that it is also a crime to lie to the authorities when providing your statement.

There are multiple provisions under the Penal Code (and other statutes) that put you at risk of the prosecution tendering further charges if you don't tell the truth. Some examples of these provisions include, but are not limited to, Section 177, 182 and 203 of the Penal Code.

This is in accordance with Section 22(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which states that you have to state truly what you know of the facts and circumstances of the case, except that you need not say anything that might expose you to a criminal charge, penalty or forfeiture.

If There Is An Alleged Victim, Do NOT Communicate With That Person

We suggest avoiding all communication with the alleged victim (if any) of the crime you are being accused of. 

The last thing you need after being accused of a crime against an alleged victim is any further accusations of trying to pressure, influence or bribe that person. Similarly, avoid having close family members speak with the alleged victim as well. 


If you require assistance with a potential criminal matter, we can assist. Just get in touch with us through our contact form below and we will follow up with you regarding your matter.

Alternatively, you may wish to get in touch by contacting us at: 6550 6359

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Filed under: Criminal Defence
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