Q. What should I do if I’ve been arrested?
A. If you are arrested, it means the police suspect you have committed a crime. Before the police can ask you any further questions they must caution you. The caution is like a verbal warning and it is something the police must tell you before you are asked any further questions. Anything you say to the police after the caution will be written down and could be used as evidence in the case.
On some occasions, you may be given a date to return to the police station. In the interim it is essential you receive sound strategic legal advice. Feel free to contact me to discuss your matter.
Q. Do I use a duty solicitor?
A. Following arrest you will be taken to a police station where you have the right to legal advice. All police stations have an on-call solicitor this is known as the duty solicitor who is at hand to give any legal advice. When you are at the police station it is essential you have a good, experienced and competent solicitor to guide you through the police station interview. The advantage of using the duty solicitor is he or she is immediately available and so there is no delay to the interview procedure. The flip side to this is you will know little or nothing about the background of the duty solicitor and whether he /she is sufficiently experienced to deal with your matter.
Most suspects prefer to use a recommended solicitor or someone they have had dealings with in the past. Remember you have the right to choose your own legal representative and it is essential you have confidence in the person representing you at the police station.
Q. What is a summons to appear in court?
A. A summons is an order requiring you to attend court at a future date. It is essential you seek legal advice at an early stage before attending court.
Q. Which solicitor should I use?
A. I have worked with many competent, experienced solicitors and I am very well placed to recommend the appropriate solicitor for your case.
Q. What does police bail and bail to return mean?
A. Following arrest and interview, the police may still need to investigate the case. In most cases suspects are released pending the conclusion of the investigation. Suspects will be released on condition they return to the police station at a future agreed dated. The suspect is therefore released on police bail. Sometimes additional conditions may be attached to police bail, such as surrendering passport. The bail to return date is the date the suspect is next required to attend the police station.
Q. What should I do if I’ve been charged with a criminal offence?
A. It is important you seek appropriate specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Feel free to contact me to discuss your matter, I can assist with finding the right solicitor and preparing for the next stage.
Q. Do I need a barrister for my case?
A. If your matter ends up in court, you will need a barrister to represent you. Barristers are specialist advocates and spend most of their time in court cross-examining witnesses, presenting legal arguments to the Judge, making speeches in front of the jury. Trial advocacy and trial strategy is a full time occupation for criminal barristers. Most firms of solicitors will have a panel of barristers they might recommend, but remember you are not bound by that panel. You are entitled to choose whichever barrister you wish and these days you can also contact a barrister directly.
Q. What is the difference between a solicitor-advocate and a barrister?
A. Some solicitors have the opportunity to apply for a certificate (higher rights) which allows them to carry out the same type of work as barristers. When awarded the certificate the solicitor can go to court and represent his/her client and also carry out the trial advocacy. Most defendants will want a specialist criminal barrister representing them. Remember you can choose your court representative and it is important you are clear about this from an early stage.
Q. How does your pricing work?
A. I normally charge my time on a fixed fee basis.
Q. What areas do you specialise in?
Q. How long after being charged does it take to go to court?
A. In most cases you can expect to be in court within 24-48 hours.
Q. How long do court cases take?
A. This depends on the nature of the offence, the issues involved and the number of people involved. Its difficult to assess without knowing any details about the case.
Q. What are the Crown Court trial stages?
A. In most cases, the case will first come before the Crown Court within 28 days of it being sent from the Magistrates court. The first Crown court hearing is known as the “Plea, Trial, Preparation Hearing” (PTPH). At this hearing the court will want to know whether a defendant is pleading guilty or not guilty, if not guilty, issues for trial, when a trial can take place and how long will it take the prosecution to serve its evidence.
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One question I often get asked is whether a Barrister can be instructed directly, or does one have to go through a Solicitor initially? Contrary to popular...
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