Old Bailey Solicitors

Criminal Law – Frequently asked questions


We know how stressful it can be if you’re facing investigation or being prosecuted.  We also know how confusing the Criminal Justice System can be to anyone who doesn’t work within it every day, as we do.  In an effort to clear up some of the confusion and, hopefully, to lighten the stress levels, we have prepared answers to some of the questions we, as criminal defence lawyers, are asked on a regular basis.

Whether your question relates to a police investigation,  court procedure, different types of sentence or simply why and how we do our job – hopefully this page will provide you with some answers.

Police Station FAQ’s

What happens if I’m arrested by the police?Read more

Once arrested, you will be taken to a custody centre where you will be ‘booked in’ by a Custody Sergeant or by one of their custody assistants.

Read MoreWhat happens if I’m arrested by the police?

Why do I need a solicitor if I’m going to be interviewed by the police?Read more

Having a solicitor prior to a police interview means that they can gather as much information about the investigation as possible from you in private before you go into questioning. The solicitor can then figure out what is alleged and the best way to approach it.

Does going “No Comment” make me look guilty?Read more

There are a number of reasons why a suspect might legitimately maintain their right to silence in interview, even where they are not guilty of the offence in question.  Here are some examples:

Read More – Does going “No Comment” make me look guilty?

Should I answer questions in police interview?Read more

Some people may make matters worse for themselves by answering questions. In many cases it will be more appropriate for a person to answer “no comment” in a police interview.

What might happen if I say I wasn’t the driver?Read more

One of the most serious offences that can come before a court is ‘perverting the course of justice’, this is because it strikes at the very heart of the justice system.

Post Police Station FAQ’s

What can I do while I’m on bail?Read more

If you have been arrested on suspicion of committing a criminal offence, the police may place you on bail while they continue with their investigation.

What does being Released Under Investigation (RUI’d) mean?Read more

Being released under further investigation means exactly what it says on the tin: You have been released from the police station while the police continue to investigate.

Court Procedure FAQ’s

What is a Defence Statement?Read more

A ‘Defence Statement’ is a document which sets out the general nature of the defence to be put forward at trial and the issues which are in dispute and why. It is compulsory to serve a Defence Statement in contested Crown Court cases although it is voluntary in the Magistrates’ Court.

Read More – Defence Statements

Where will my case be heard?Read more

All criminal cases start off in the Magistrates’ Court.  Very serious cases, such as murder or robbery, can only be dealt with in the Crown Court.  Those offences are called ‘Indictable Only’ offences and there is a separate fact sheet to explain them.

What to expect if your child has to attend courtRead more

At Old Bailey Solicitors we recognise that representing young defendants is a specialism, requiring particular skills and attributes. We also recognise the absolute necessity of representing young people carefully and pro-actively, to get the best possible outcome for them at this important and difficult time in their lives.

How do I drop a case?Read more

Tell the prosecutor you don’t want to press charges.

Though the prosecutor decides whether to drop charges, a victim or key witness can have a significant impact on the case. If you say you aren’t interested in sending the case to trial, there’s a good change the prosecutor will drop the case.

Read More – How do I drop a case?

What do you want from your lawyer?Read more

How to represent yourself in the Magistrates’ CourtRead more

Verdict & Sentence FAQ’s

What sentence will I get?Read more

How does a jury decide on a verdict?Read more

If the jury reaches a unanimous verdict the issue is settled, but if not, and the time is appropriate for a majority verdict, a majority may be acceptable.

What will happen if I'm convicted of a sexual offense?Read more

Can my sentence be increased?Read more

The sentencing process is the beginning of the end for many defendants; they can receive and accept their punishment and prepare to move on with their lives.

But for some, the anguish is not over as an appeal may be looming.

Post Court FAQ’s

What will happen if I’m prosecuted for a criminal offence?Read more

Interview Under Caution If the police, or some other investigatory body (eg the DWP, Health and Safety Executive, Border Force etc), suspect that you have committed a criminal offence it is likely that they will want to conduct an interview with you.

Can I appeal against a Crown Court sentence?Read more

In this article, we consider appeals against sentence from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal. The appeal process can be complicated depending on the individual case, but here we outline the basics.

Convicted Before A Magistrates’ Court – Can I Appeal?Read more

Many people convicted before magistrates feel aggrieved at the outcome, and wish to consider an appeal.

A grievance may arise because they think that their case was not prepared correctly, or that the court reached the wrong result.

Can my sentence be increased?Read more

The sentencing process is the beginning of the end for many defendants; they can receive and accept their punishment and prepare to move on with their lives.

But for some, the anguish is not over as an appeal may be looming.

Can I remove a Restraining Order?Read more

A great many people are subject to restraining orders made under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997.

The orders are designed to protect people from harassment and are commonly made in so-called ‘domestic violence’ cases.

Can I apply for my licence back early?Read more

Therefore, if your circumstances have changed since being disqualified, it is worth discussing with one of our criminal law specialists whether or not you can take advantage of this legal provision.

Funding FAQ’s

How will my defence case be funded?Read more

In our experience, people tend not to factor in the possibility of a criminal prosecution as an element of their financial planning. Having to defend yourself against the State, during the course of a police or HMRC investigation, followed by lengthy court proceedings, rarely appears in the “anticipated costs” column of any years’ household budget.

Read More – How will my defence case be funded?

What can I expect if I pay privately for my defence?Read more

At Old Bailey Solicitors we pride ourselves on our approach to client care and the highest standards of advocacy. That means that whether you are a private client, or legally aided, you can be assured of the same high standards of legal advice. So why pay privately, and what can you expect to gain as a private client from our services?

General FAQ’s

What's your success Rate?Read more

You might suggest that it relates to the percentage of trials that we win. In criminal law, that would mean the number of trials which result in an acquittal. But would that only include complete acquittals or would it include cases where our client is acquitted of the most serious charges but convicted of a less serious charge?

What’s the difference between solicitors and barristers?Read more

Lawyer, solicitor, barrister, brief, counsel, advocate – these are all terms used to describe members of the legal profession who represent clients in court. Solicitors and Barristers are all “Lawyers” in the same way that your GP and a surgeon are both “Doctors”. So what really is the difference between them?

How can you represent someone when you know that they’re guilty?Read more

So starts almost all of my encounters with people I’m introduced to at social occasions or networking events. Even if it’s not the first question, you can be sure we’ll get round to it within the first five minutes.

Is it a criminal offence to breach Health & Safety law?Read more

Yes. Health and Safety law gives rise to both civil and criminal liabilities.

Broadly speaking, civil liabilities include claims being brought by an injured person (or their estate or dependents) in negligence, vicarious liability or occupiers’ liability. Usually, the consequence will be corporate liability for monetary compensation, for which insurance is available.

Read More – Is it a criminal offence to breach Health & Safety law?

What are County Lines?Read more

County Lines is a term used to describe a situation where a vulnerable child or young person is being trafficked for criminal exploitation. The term, quite properly, covers a broad range of scenarios. However, as a criminal defence practitioner, the situation I most commonly encounter involves criminal gangs coercing and grooming children into drug dealing on their behalf. The children are commonly referred to by the adult gang members as ‘runners’ or ‘street dealers’.

Read More – County Lines – What are they and why do I need to know about them? 

What are Confiscation proceedings?Read more

If you were able to listen in to a conference between client and solicitor, you might hear an exchange a little like this one:

Read More – Confiscation – The Hidden Sentence

What is a Domestic Violence Protection Order?Read more

Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) are commonly issued by police when attending incidents of alleged domestic violence.

Invariably, whatever the rights and wrongs of a situation, and frequently it is quite impossible for this to be correctly judged, the male is the recipient of a DVPN.

Read More – Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders

Sexual Offences FAQ’s

Indecent images – 10 things you should knowRead more

If you are facing a police investigation regarding the possession of indecent images – here are 10 things you need to know

Read More – Indecent images – 10 things you should know!

Can I contest a Sexual Risk Order?Read more

Absolutely. You can contest the making of the order. You can oppose the prohibitive restrictions sought by the Police. If contested, a full hearing of the case will take place in the future to allow both sides to properly prepare.

Read More – Can I contest a Sexual Risk Order?

Can I apply to be removed from the Sex Offenders’ Register?Read more

Yes you can. An adult can apply after 15 years and a juvenile after eight years. However, if you are also subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, that must be removed before an application can be made in respect to notification requirements, we can of course assist you with this.

Read More – Can I apply to be removed from the Sex Offenders’ Register?

What Will Happen If I’m Convicted of a Sexual Offence?Read more

If you are convicted of a sexual offence, there are a number of potential consequences that we would seek to bring to your attention at an early stage in your case.

Read More – What Will Happen If I’m Convicted of a Sexual Offence?

Talk to us today

We are ranked Band 1 by Chambers & Partners – a directory of the top performing
law firms in the country – for our crime expertise in Brighton and the surrounding areas.