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Criminal law | Legal Guides

Arrests, summonses, and bail

If a Garda suspects that you have committed an offence, he or she may arrest you, or you may be served with a court summons.

Being arrested

Often, a Garda will have a warrant to arrest people, but this is not always needed. If you are suspected of an ‘arrestable offence’ (one which carries a penalty of five years or more), you can be arrested without a warrant. Gardaí also have powers to arrest people suspected of other specific offences, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.

When you are in Garda custody, you must be given reasonable access to a solicitor of your choice and be allowed to communicate with him or her privately. You can find contact details for solicitors who have indicated that they are available to attend Garda stations in different divisions using the free Find a Garda Station Solicitor service.

Court summonses

Instead of arresting you for a suspected offence, the Gardaí may serve you with a court summons to appear in court on a particular day at a particular time.

If you receive a summons and want to get legal advice, you can use our free Find a Solicitor service to look for solicitors in your area.

Legal Aid

If you cannot afford to pay for the services of a solicitor, you may be eligible for Criminal Legal Aid.

Bail or remanding in custody

If you are charged with a criminal offence, you will either be released on bail by the member in charge of the station (this is known as station bail), or transferred to the District Court as soon as possible. At the District Court, the judge may release you on bail, or may remand you in custody.