It is your legal right to be offered free and independent advice from a solicitor. When you arrive at the police station, you will be asked whether you want to see the Duty Solicitor or a solicitor of your choice. Either way, you do not pay for this. We offer a 24 hour police station service. Whatever you have been charged with, it is always advised to seek legal advice.
When you are charged with a crime, your case begins in the Magistrates Court. Whether your case stays at the Magistrates Court depends on the nature of the case and your criminal record. If it is a more serious crime, or you already have a criminal record your case may be listed in the Crown Court. We can offer representation at either of these Courts.
Your case may be heard at the Crown Court due to the serious nature of the offence, you have elected trial by jury or you have been convicted of an offence in the Magistrates’ Court and sent to Crown Court for sentencing (due to restrictions on what the Magistrates Court can impose).
You are entitled to free legal advice at the police station as detailed above. After that, whether you have to pay for legal representation depends on your financial circumstances.
You will not know if you are guilty under the law and on the evidence. That is what we are here for. A person is proven guilty of an offence only if there is evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt that the offence has been committed.
If you are arrested and under the age of 17, you are entitled to have an appropriate adult with you at the police station. You can also be represented by a criminal solicitor. Your parent can arrange this on your behalf.
If the police believe that you are involved in criminal activities, then they should caution you before they conduct a police interview. These interviews are usually recorded for future reference. You do have a right to remain silent when questioned under caution, but your solicitor can advise whether or not this is in your best interest. However, it should be advised that some questions such as your personal details should be provided to the police if asked.
A police officer can stop and search you if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that you are in possession of certain items. However, the police officer should explain their reasoning behind the search and your right to a written record of the search. It should be noted that in some circumstances, such as when terrorist activities are suspected, the police have much wider powers and there does not need to be a reasonable ground to stop and search.
The police can search your home or business premises if they possess a warrant, and in some cases they can search without a warrant (for example, immediately following an arrest). You do not have a right to be present during the search, but the police must not cause more disruption than is absolutely necessary. They must also provide you with a comprehensive list of what they have taken. If you believe that the police have caused unreasonable damage or seized property unjustly, then you should converse with your solicitor.
The police can detain you for up to 24 hours without being formally charged. If it is a serious criminal offence, then this can be extended up to 36 hours, or up to 96 hours with authorisation from the Magistrates Court.
Usually you will be able to get bail. This is unless the Court has reason to believe that, if you were released you could commit another offence, fail to turn up at Court or involve yourself with witnesses.
You may be released on bail with conditions attached. If you break the conditions then you could be arrested again.