Criminal Law Solicitors
The Criminal Solicitors within the solicitors.com directory will be able to assist with all aspects of Criminal Law, not all firms have Legal Aid funding, not all criminal matters qualify for legal aid funding, if you have been arrested you will be entitled to free representation at the police station, the duty solicitor should be able to guide you through your options.
If you would like to ask a solicitors a question relating to a criminal matter please click here
We have put together a few guidance notes for your help.
What is criminal law?
Criminal law is the collective term for the legislation that relates to any crime and how the matter is dealt with, these stages will include the Arrest, investigation, prosecution and the sentencing.
What happens when you get arrested?
If you should get arrested you will be taken to a police station and questioned about the matter, you will then either be released or charged, during the time spent at the station you will be help in a cell. – ‘in custody’
During your time in custody you will be advised of your rights, these include
- receiving free legal advice
- the right to inform someone of you whereabouts – your fee call
- medical attention
- notes on general rights such as the right to food and water, toilet facilities etc
- notes on the rules the police must adhere to – these as called the police Codes of Practice
If you are under 17 or classes as a vulnerable adult you must have representation with an ‘appropriate adult’
Being questioned at the police station
You will probably be questioned about the incident, this questioning will probably take place where you are being held whilst you do have the right to refuse to answer any question, we recommend that you receive advice from your solicitor at this stage before your take this course of action.
Your time at the Station – Duration you can be held in Custody
The general term is 24 hours before you will either be released or charged, the police can extend the period before you are charged up to four days, if your case relates to an Act of Terrorism you can be detained for up to 14 days.
What is Bail?
It is not uncommon for someone to be released without charge; this will be because the police need time to gather evidence to decide if you are to be charged with the offence, during this time you may be asked to return to the police station for questioning.
You may receive conditional bail, this is normally given is the police are concerned that you conduct may endanger others or you will do something that may effect the course of justice, generally this will be restrictions in your freedom- where and when you can do things.
There are other options available to the police at the bail stage, for example you may have the option for someone to guarantee a sum of money that you will attend court, if you don’t then the person may be asked to pay the money or they could face prison – this person is known as a surety
You can be refused bail –
The courts can refuse bail at your hearing, this will normally be in only serious crimes such as Rape or Murder, but if the court feels you will be a danger to the public or will interfere with the case, jump bail etc they will remand you in custody. In cases where you are potentially charged with a non custodial crime the police still have the right to refuse bail if you have a record of not showing up in the past and they believe you will do this again?
If you have been remanded in custody you will have limits applied, these will be between 56 and 112 days depending on the Court you could face trial at, but the police have a right to extend this, but the prosecution must show that they will be bringing your case to trial.
How do you get legal advice at the police station?
Everyone has the right to free legal advice at the police station under the legal aid scheme; if you do refuse this you do have the right to change your mind.
You have a few different options
- The duty solicitor will be available 24 hrs per day – normally they work on a Rota from local firms of solicitors.
- Ask the police to provide one and they will make arrangements via the Defence Solicitors Call Centre
- Choose one of your own
If you case is not serious you may be offered legal advice over the phone.
With all these things there are exceptions to rules, but one you have requested legal advice the police will wait for them to attend before any questions can be asked, in some situations the police can withhold your right to see a solicitor for a period of time, with the right permissions.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is the information held by the government on your criminal history this will cover
- Any convictions you have
- Final warning
If you decide to accept a caution this will appear on your criminal record, take advice when offered the possibility of a caution, if I conviction is not guaranteed then you should consider if you should accept a caution under advice.
Items will stay on your record for ever unless a judge has requested otherwise.
CRB check – these are now to be referred to as DBS checks as two departments have merged. The DBS check will be asked for in lots of situations, attending school to look after children, or working in healthcare, if you are trying to foster or adopt.
Normally your Employer will not ask for a check to be undertaken but the DBS service does hold a list of employers that do, we recommend that you contact the DBS if you wish to check.
You will not be able to check the records yourself, but you can get what is called a basic disclosure.
Checks can cost up to £44 and take up to 4 weeks to come through for many organisations this service is free.
If you wish to discuss any aspect of your criminal record please call the DBS on 0870 90 90 811
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