What Are Your Rights When You Have Been Arrested

What Are Your Rights When You Have Been Arrested
Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko REUTERS/Baz Ratner


One of the most traumatising experiences for most Kenyans is when they get arrested. It’s even more stressful when you have not committed the crime. Under chapter 48 of the Kenyan constitution, the State is required to ensure access to justice for all persons and, if any fee is required, it shall be reasonable and shall not impede access to justice. So what are your rights when you get arrested?

At the police station the arrested person has a right to be promptly informed the reason of arrest in a language he understands. While in police custody, you have every right to remain silent and also be informed of the consequences of not remaining silent. 

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The law also provides that one remains silent and you have a right to communicate to your advocate or persons whose assistance is necessary. 

Making a confession

Suspects cannot be forced to make confessions or admissions that will be used against them as evidence in a court of law. You also to be held separately from persons who are serving a sentence. 

Appearing before court

An arrested person should be brought before court before twenty-four hours lapse. Incase you are arrested outside court hours, or on a day that is not an ordinary court day, you should be presented to court before the end of the next court day. Simply put, you should be presented to court as soon as reasonably possible. 

First court appearance

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On your first date with the court, you can either be presented to court or avail yourself incase you were out on a police bail to be charged. 

In court, the accused person will take a plea by either pleading guilty or not guilty. If the arrested person pleads guilty, he will either be fined or imprisoned. 

When you plead ‘not guilty’, the court will either release you on a bail or bond on reasonable conditions as you wait trial unless there are compelling reasons not to release you. The arrested person will be a given a hearing date for trial and a mention date to make any application before the hearing date.

Remaining in police custody

The accused can remain in police custody if the police through the prosecution make an application to have the arrested person remain in their custody for further investigation. This is made vide miscellaneous criminal application. 

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