When you can be charged in court
If you are arrested by the police or other law enforcement agencies, you will be brought before the court within 48 hours of your arrest. The court will decide whether you should be detained further or placed on bail.
You will be asked to attend at the Criminal Mentions Court when the prosecution is ready to file charges against you. This usually takes place after the police or enforcement agency have completed their investigations.
Checklist before going to court
Before attending court, you may wish to:
- Find out more about the criminal justice system and process.
- Find out more about the roles of the people you may meet in court.
- Consider whether to engage a lawyer or represent yourself.
Criminal court process step-by-step
Attend Criminal Mentions Court
Attending at the Criminal Mentions Court is the first stage of the criminal court process. You will be formally charged and will have to choose whether to either plead guilty to the charges or claim trial. In some cases, the judge may order you to be placed in remand.
If you plead guilty
Pleading guilty means you admit fully to the charges against you. If you choose to plead guilty, you may be convicted and sentenced on the spot at the Criminal Mentions Court, or the judge may transfer your case to another criminal court for a plead guilty (PG) mention.
If you claim trial
You may claim trial if you dispute the charges against you. Understand the steps in a criminal trial.
Receive your sentence
Find out how the court decides on your punishment (sentence) and what to expect at your sentencing.
Guidebook for Accused in Person (English) (PDF, 1997 KB)
Guidebook for Accused in Person (Chinese) (PDF, 4851 KB)
Guidebook for Accused in Person (Malay) (PDF, 2637 KB)
Guidebook for Accused in Person (Tamil) (PDF, 2208 KB)
Read more about arrest and investigation in this booklet by the Law Society of Singapore.