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Released Under Investigation? How to Protect Your Rights

In the UK, you can be arrested for many different motoring offences. You might be driving without insurance or a license, using a phone while driving, speeding excessively, or operating your vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These offences will often lead to you being released under investigation (RUI) where you are free to go after being arrested but with your case still under consideration. RUI was introduced in 2017 to make it easier for the police to investigate crimes but there are many experts who oppose the system for various reasons.

To explain exactly what RUI means and to help everyone who is currently in that situation, here is an in-depth guide to being released under investigation.


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Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


police investigating vehicle

What is RUI?

RUI stands for “released under investigation” and it essentially means you have been arrested for an offence, released without charge, but the police are still investigating your case. The process was introduced in new legislation in 2017 but many critics argue it has caused a lot of confusion and even violates people’s human rights.

In terms of a motoring offence, RUI means that you have been arrested and then released while the investigation continues. You are free to go but still face the possibility of being charged with an offence later on, or having your case dropped completely if the police or courts ultimately decide you are innocent or there is not enough evidence to convict you. This is very bad news for defendants because any driving ban will last until your case has been resolved and not just when you are convicted. You could be stuck unable to drive even though you will ultimately not be charged and may have not done anything wrong.

What are the Rules of RUI?

The main issue that many opponents have with RUI is that there are technically no rules which govern its use meaning that has often been used in place of pre-charge bail because it affords the police more freedom. For example, the maximum duration of pre-2017 bail was six months but there is no time limit to how long you can be RUI. This means that you could be in a state of limbo for years and not know if you are going to be charged tomorrow or the entire case dropped next week. This can cause an enormous emotional toll with no way to find out what is going on or to speed up the process.

Pre-2017 bails were known as police station bonds which meant that if you broke any of these terms then there would be a fixed penalty fine or court summons issued against you. This transformed into an arrest warrant when broken because they treated each condition like a separate offence meaning some people could face huge fines for missing their curfew multiple times. There are no release terms to an RUI so many people are left in a state of paranoia, afraid to go about their normal lives in case they make some small mistake which ends up with them being arrested again.

Ultimately, it is the police who decide whether to finally press charges or refer your case to court, and they could sit on this decision for years. In fact, research has shown that the average time people spend RUI is 139 days while the average bail time was 90 days. Some people were found to still be waiting for charge or vindication after two years. In a country where legal rights are based on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, RUI leaves people in a position where this basic right is arguably subject to abuse indefinitely.

What Changes to RUI Do Critics Want to See?

Many experts have called for a much stricter structure to RUI that would be similar to bail conditions. They argue that it is unfair and unjust for someone who has been arrested but not charged with an offence to remain under investigation indefinitely without proper terms of release.

The problems with RUI have led many people to request statutory time limits so that they know exactly how long their investigations might take under different circumstances (for example if they’ve been charged already or there was another crime involved). Many also believe it should be made easier to challenge these conditions of release before courts.

Furthermore, many people have argued for greater transparency so that defendants are aware of their rights and can take appropriate action if they feel the police or courts are not respecting them. The number one priority should be to ensure each case is dealt with as quickly as possible but this has become impossible because there is no way for individuals to speed things up themselves, only through legal aid lawyers who may not even end up representing you at all.

As can be seen here, campaigners have made some progress in petitioning the government to make changes to the legislation but there is still a long way to go. Until then, it is important to know as much as possible about the legislation in its current form so that you can act appropriately if you find yourself RUI.

Which Motoring Offences Can Lead to You Being RUI?

The list is almost endless but some of the most common offences which can lead to RUI include speeding, dangerous driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failing to stop after an accident. It is very common for people who have been involved in an incident on the roads to be RUI because it can take a long time for the authorities to determine exactly what happened.

In fact, the police often choose not to press charges until they have interviewed all of the witnesses or assessed the other evidence. Even if you think you were completely innocent, it is still possible for your case to be referred back to the Crown Prosecution Service which means there will likely be further inquiries before a final decision is reached on whether or not you or anyone else should face court proceedings.

If this happens then everyone involved in the accident may find themselves RUI while their case remains open. This means that even taking steps like repairing damage to vehicles could lead to serious trouble later down the line if the police suddenly decide they want to look at the damage to check for evidence. This state of limbo can cause huge emotional distress and also make practical issues like insurance claims difficult as your provider may refuse to pay out while you are RUI and your case is still up in the air.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


police officer investigating

What Should You Do if You Have Been RUI?

If you have been arrested or charged with any motoring offence then it is important that you seek immediate legal help because there are many ways in which your rights could be abused without proper guidance. A solicitor will listen carefully to what happened during your arrest or questioning process so they can decide how best to represent you moving forward. When you are first arrested, make sure you have a lawyer present during all questioning to ensure that you are not pressured into saying anything that may incriminate you. The most important thing is to stay calm and do not allow your rights to be infringed upon.

When speaking to your initial lawyer or any later legal representation you secure, start by explaining exactly what happened leading up to your arrest and afterwards so that your lawyers can look into whether police officers used their powers fairly throughout the process. There are many occasions when police officers will not give defendants proper explanations or access to all of the necessary information which could be used as evidence.

If you suspect that your case has been mishandled in any way then you need to take action before it is too late because there might be a chance for your charges to be dropped entirely if they were found to have contravened certain RUI procedures such as failing to read you your rights or abusing detainment time limits. Any contravention of these procedures could be grounds to have the entire case dropped without any further action or investigation against you which can save you a lot of time and worry.

What Can a Lawyer Do For You When You Have Been RUI?

A lawyer can do a lot for you when it comes to RUI because they are the only people who have been trained in how to deal with these cases effectively while ensuring that your rights remain protected. They will be able to look over all of the paperwork involved in your case and make sure that nothing is missing or misinterpreted which could lead to mistakes being made by police officers during their investigation.

Furthermore, your lawyer can provide emotional support which is often crucial when somebody has been stuck in limbo for months while RUI. They will be able to explain what is happening in your case and how quickly the wheels are turning which can make a huge difference when you are dealing with long periods of uncertainty.

Having an experienced lawyer will also put additional pressure on the police to either charge you or close the case. When people do not have legal representation, the police may be in no rush to move things along which can lead to cases dragging on for months or even years. When you have a lawyer, they will keep the police accountable while ensuring your rights are being protected at every step of proceedings.

How to Choose a Lawyer if You Are RUI

First and foremost, you should always choose lawyers who specialise in the area of law you are dealing with and with experience in your type of case. At Caddick Davies, we have enormous expertise and years of experience defending clients who are being accused of every type of motoring offence. We have represented many clients who have been RUI since the legislation was introduced in 2017 and know exactly how to keep our clients informed and protected during the process.

When choosing a lawyer to represent you in any legal situation, it is crucial that you check their experience and track record in cases like yours. We will be able to explain to you how we have successfully defended other similar cases so that you can make the most informed decision on whether to bring us on board.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


judge in court

How We Prepare a Motoring Offence Case

Once you have decided to work with us, our team will put together a complete picture of your case so that we can start building the strongest possible defence against any allegations. We know how important it is for clients to feel in control at all times which is why we provide regular updates on where things are going and what actions need taking next.

Some cases do not require much investigation but if there are further facts or evidence relating to your RUI, then our experts will uncover them without delay so that they can be used as part of building an effective defence strategy. It often takes months before police officers release their full findings after investigating motoring offences so we will exert all possible pressure to ensure speedy release.

We will check that all police procedures were followed during every stage of your arrest and release and ensure that your rights are not infringed upon at any time. In the result that charges are brought, we will ensure all evidence and testimony is prepared to give you the best possible chance of a positive outcome in court.

Final Thoughts

The police have a responsibility to keep the public safe from dangerous drivers but they must do so without infringing upon people’s rights. Unfortunately, there are many people who have been released under investigation for months at a time while being completely innocent and it is cases like these that show how important experienced legal representation is. There is hope that appropriate changes will continue to be made to RUI legislation but until that happens we are here to ensure our client’s rights are protected and that they receive a just outcome.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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