The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) began operating as the ACIC in July 2016, when the former Australian Crime Commission and CrimTrac were merged.

ACIC is Australia’s national criminal intelligence agency that works with state and territory, national and international partners on investigations they collect intelligence for the purpose of improving the national ability to respond to serious crime, impacting Australia, such as organised crime, cybercrime and national security threats.

One of the most significant powers of the ACIC is their power to compel people to answer questions about suspected criminal activity. Generally, this process will begin with the ACIC issuing you with a summons to attend the ACIC. If you are issued with a summons, it is important to attend the ACIC – if you don’t attend, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.

If the ACIC issues you with a summons, it’s important that you don’t disclose the summons to anyone else, otherwise, you may be charged with contempt of court and face a maximum penalty of 8-9 months imprisonment.

When you attend the ACIC, a person known as an ‘examiner’ will ask you questions. It’s important to tell the truth – if you are caught lying you will face heavy penalties, including a fine of up to $22,000 and/or five years imprisonment. You may also be asked to produce personal documents.

There is no right to silence at the ACIC, which means that you might be forced to provide information to the ACIC that may incriminate you. Due to the broad powers of the ACIC, it’s imperative that you seek legal advice and representation if you are ordered to attend the ACIC for questioning.

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