Criminal Law – Frequently asked questions

 

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Created on November 10, 2021

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?

    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 More – What happens if I’m arrested by the police?

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

    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.

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

    Does going “No Comment” make me look guilty?

    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?

    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.

    Read More – Should I answer questions in police interview?

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

    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.

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

    Post Police Station FAQ’s

    What can I do while I’m on bail?

    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.

    Read MoreWhat can I do while I’m on bail?

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

    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.

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

    Court Procedure FAQ’s

    What is a Defence Statement?

    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 MoreDefence Statements

    Where will my case be heard?

    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.

    Read MoreWhere will my case be heard?

    What to expect if your child has to attend court

    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.

    Read MoreWhat to expect if your child has to attend court

    How do I drop a case?
    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?
    How to represent yourself in the Magistrates’ Court

    Verdict & Sentence FAQ’s

    What sentence will I get?
    How does a jury decide on a verdict?

    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.

    Read More – How does a jury decide on a verdict?

    What will happen if I'm convicted of a sexual offense?
    Can my sentence be increased?

    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.

    Read More – Can my sentence be increased?

    Post Court FAQ’s

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

    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.

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

    Convicted Before A Magistrates’ Court – Can I Appeal?

    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.

    Read MoreConvicted Before A Magistrates’ Court – Can I Appeal?

    Can I appeal against a Crown Court sentence?

    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.

    Read MoreCan I appeal against a Crown Court sentence?

    Can my sentence be increased?

    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.

    Read MoreCan my sentence be increased?

    Can I remove a Restraining Order?

    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.

    Read MoreRemoving a Restraining Order

    Can I apply for my licence back early?

    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.

    Read MoreCan I apply for my Driving licence back early?

    Funding FAQ’s

    How will my defence case be funded?

    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?

    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?

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

    General FAQ’s

    What's your success Rate?

    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?

    Read More – What’s your success Rate?

    What’s the difference between solicitors and barristers?

    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?

    Read More – What’s the difference between solicitors and barristers?

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

    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.

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

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

    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?

    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 MoreCounty Lines – What are they and why do I need to know about them? 

    What are Confiscation proceedings?

    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 MoreConfiscation – The Hidden Sentence

    What is a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

    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 MoreDomestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders

    Sexual Offences FAQ’s

    Indecent images – 10 things you should know

    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?

    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?

    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?

    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?

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