Criminal Law Solicitors

Criminal Law

The Criminal Solicitors within the 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
- Reprimands
- Final warning
- Cautions

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

Crime Articals.

Laws affecting Drones. Drones are one of the ‘must haves’ for many people in the UK, their popularity has soared over recent years (sorry about that pun), and it seems, with their cost falling, we will see more and more of them, but to many they are a nuisance and an invasion of privacy.

Criminals to face paying court charges.
In a move which, is a step in the right direction, the Government has announced that criminals will face having to pay up to £1200 towards the cost of their court case.

Changes in the police stop and search monitoring.
Recommendations have been made to improve the way the police record information when undertaking a stop and search on a motorist.

Justice body is too cautious on Miscarriages of Justice.
Too few cases are being referred to the Court of Appeal because the justice body that reviews them have taken too much of a cautious approach.

What is Bail in the UK
If you have been charged with a crime you can be released on bail from the police station, which means you will be able to go home but will have to agree to some conditions.

Changes in the Car Tax Rules
Changes in the Car Tax - what they are and what you need to know.

Internet Spam
Article on how to spot internet spam - email crime and fraud

Points on your driving Licence
Article point endorsements on your Driving Licence

Anti-Social Behaviour
If you feel you could be suffering from Anti-Social Behaviour, understand what you can do about it and where you can receive advice.

Disputes with Neighbours
If you are having problems with your neighbours, through noise, land,trees right or way,parking, understand what you should do and who can help you find a solution.

Injunctions Injunctions - How to apply for one, and what is an injunction?

Crime News

Radicalisation Laws
For too long many have said we, as a country, are a soft touch, perhaps allowing free speech when the speech in question is inciteful for example
preaching extremist views that could lead to unrest.

Change in drink driving limit.
The police federation has called upon the government to reduce the drink drive limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol for 100 millilitres which would bring England and Wales in line with the levels in force in Scotland.

Greater power to evict travellers planned.
The Tory government are set to announce new measures to evict travellers from illegal camp sites, which include special courts able to process eviction notices at any time.

New laws on packaging for cigarettes
From 2016 all brands of cigarettes sold in the UK will look the same; the packaging will carry the brand name of the maker with images of illnesses associated with smoking, health warnings and the content breakdown of the cigarette.

Consultation to decide on new criminal charges for wilful neglect
Social workers could face up to five years in jail should they prove guilty of wilful neglect towards children, if consultation decides to extend the law to include children’s social care.

Have Property Offences become decriminalised?
A recent report has concluded that because the police are not treating crimes such as shoplifting and theft as a priority the offences have almost become decriminalised..

New plea services online The Government has launched a new service that allows motorists charged with summary offences to enter a plea on-line.

The danger of cyber crime to the UK economy.
80% of the UKs top companies have been the victim of a serious cyber attack, resulting in a loss of hundreds of millions, according to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Retail crime is at a 10 year high.
New research by the British Retail Consortium shows that, last year, retail crime cost the industry over £600 million, which is up 18% on the previous year and the highest since their records began.

Disclosure Rules changed for criminal records.
The supreme court has ruled that any minor convictions and police cautions do not need to be disclosed in a criminal records check.

Improvements planned to improve rape conviction rate.
Changes are being brought about by the Department of Public Prosecutions to try to improve the ape conviction rate.

Crackdown on professionals profiting from crime.
Professional will now face up to five years in jail for profiting from criminals whilst turning a blind eye.

Stop and Search
Reforms for police stop and search powers.

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