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Frequently Asked Questions
Criminal law service - Before the arrest, post-arrest bail to return by police, released under investigation by police or charged to attend court.
We have prepared simple FAQs to assist you with the common questions you may have before instructing us. We wish to provide you with as much information as possible before you decide to go ahead with us.
Can you take on my case?
We have been established since 1977 and have substantial experience of dealing with cases across all levels. We have an excellent track record. We have high-ranking independent reviews. Our website displays a very small number of the cases we have undertaken. We have 44 years of experience in handling thousands of cases with positive outcomes over many years. We will not take on a case unless we have sufficient experience in such cases. We will not take on cases where we cannot match you to a suitably qualified lawyer at our office. Some cases are demanding or complicated and we may not have suitable staff. We will not give demanding cases or clients to junior staff.
Can you guarantee the case will be dropped or I will avoid a penalty?
No one can generally guarantee this, even if they have fully considered the prosecution evidence and your version in detail. We can only advise you on how strong or weak the prosecution case is and how strong or weak your defence is. Anyone that provides a guarantee should be regarded with some scepticism.
We are rated 4.8/5 on Google!
Will you win the case and how strong is my case?
We cannot answer this with any certainty, just like we cannot give you a guarantee. If we meet you, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case as far as possible. Each case depends on its own merit. We will not be pressured into advising that you have a good case without considering it fully once you instruct us.
Can I have a free consultation?
Where possible we will speak to you without cost for a short period or exchange short emails if there is a realistic prospect that we may take the case on. We will always try and help genuine enquirers. This is provided we have staff availability. We are a busy firm, and we spend most of our time on existing clients’ cases. We will only discuss your case if it is likely you intend to instruct us. We will not talk to clients who are talking to multiple firms about the same case as to avoid confusion. If the court or police station is too far away from our offices, we may not accept instructions as it may be better for you to find a local firm. We will be unable to take your full instructions at this stage. We can only advise you about the services we can offer for a particular offence. We will not continue to send you emails if you do not fully respond to questions that we ask you by email. We do understand that some clients are of limited means and need free guidance. We will assist if possible and if we have the resources.
Will the same person deal with me throughout the case?
You will have a main point of contact, but this is not always possible as lawyers have more than one case at a time and we cannot control when work is required on other cases as priority issues arise. Sometimes urgent work arises on cases and the main lawyer may be called away to deal with that. A suitable colleague may have to assist in their absence.
Will you do a good job?
We have won and received professional awards based on the quality of service we provide. We have multiple accreditations. We only employ passionate criminal lawyers who care about our clients. We have high-ranking independent online reviews to back up the service we provide. We can assure you that you will be pleased with our service.
Do you offer legal aid at the police station stage?
If we provide a service on legal aid, we will advise you before we ask you to pay for work.
Should I pay for your private services?
Some clients prefer a private service rather than legal aid, as explained in the article below. We always provide a very good service to all our clients. There are without a doubt advantages of having a private service. Please see the article below:
In private cases, what ID do I need to proceed?
We require your – name, address, DOB, National Insurance number, ethnicity, marital status, disability (if any), telephone number and email address along with a form of Photo ID, bank statement, and utility bill not older than 3 months to verify source of income for you or the person paying your costs.
Do I qualify for legal aid at court?
Eligibility is determined by the seriousness or complexity of your case and your means. They will take into account your record, consequences for you, and your ability to deal with the case yourself. See the guide below:
Can I transfer away from an existing police station solicitor?
If you had a duty solicitor, you could change to us on legal aid and you need to change for a good reason. In general, you cannot change from your own solicitor within 6 months on legal aid if you have already received police station advice. If you are charged and you have not signed legal aid, we may take the case at the court stage.
Do you take legal aid transfers at court?
We will not usually talk to you about legal aid transfers in routine cases. We urge you to work with your existing solicitor where possible. The solicitor and client relationship runs both ways and requires effort on both parts. If you have a genuine complaint against the other firm, ask for their complaint’s procedure. We will not talk to family or friends if you are already represented. We will not give you a free opinion if you already have a solicitor who has legal aid or private funding. We will not talk to you if you have been convicted, seek advice for sentence, and are trying to transfer legal aid. If you have a serious case and it is at its early stages of Crown Court proceedings, we may talk to you briefly about a transfer or guide you through the process. This will be considered on a case by case basis. We cannot talk to you just because the solicitor with legal aid is not telling you much or you do not like the advice given.
Can I just pay for quick and short advice?
Under 1-hour’s advice is insufficient for most cases. We must open a file, take your instructions, and then record them on our file. We must then write to you unless you ask us not to. No firm can provide a proper and thorough service in most criminal cases without taking clear instructions. If you opt for a 1-hour service, the meeting will be under 1 hour as we may have to read your papers and then speak to you. We must record the advice and write back to you; this is more than 1 hour’s work. If we take on a case, we will only provide a proper service.
How do you charge for fixed fee work?
We determine the complexity of the case and then offer you a fair fee for the work we must do based on the level or seniority of the lawyer you require. We will only do the work, which you have paid for. We charge for all the time spent on your case, travel and waiting if required away from our office, reading, or considering any papers, documents or emails, attending on you or any party on the telephone, in person or otherwise. We charge for preparing notes, applying the law, and considering this in your case. All emails, messages, and letters in and out are charged. We do not charge for purely administrative matters, such as copying a few pages or posting a routine letter or drawing up a bill etc.
Are refunds due if you do less work?
We do not refund fixed fees as we charge lower rates, and this covers all or part of the agreed work. See costs documents we will send to you or visit:
Will I meet you?
We will meet with you virtually or in person if agreed by us to take your instructions or your version of events. We will look at the evidence you produce. We will act for you and take instructions from you and not third parties, such as family or friends, even if you agree to this. We cannot have repeat meetings with you if you have not paid for the time required to cover this.
What work will you do or discuss with me?
We will provide you with initial advice concerning the offences under investigation or that you seek advice on. We will advise you on what the law is in relation to the offences. It is not always possible to go in depth into complex areas of law or defences unless adequate time is booked by you.
The likelihood of the police proceeding to charge and the strength of the case, if known, will be discussed as well as the likely penalties. The role of the CPS or prosecuting authority will also be explained.
We will discuss your defence, if any, or mitigation if an admission has been made by you. We will also advise if you can realistically expect to receive a caution for the offence.
Will you make up a defence for me?
No, we cannot as this would be illegal. No lawyer will do this for you and if they suggest that they will, you should not work with them. If anyone continues to ask us to do this, we will in all probability refuse to act for you. We can listen to you and establish the basis of the case against you and we will then discuss your defence and the strength of this. We can advise on the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and provide an expert opinion. We will act in your defence vigorously. We will provide a sympathetic and non-judgemental service.
What additional work can you do if I have paid for the time?
To do more extensive work, you will need to book more time if the existing time does not cover this and we can quote for that.
We can attempt to obtain the notes of a former solicitor. Some firms do not respond quickly. We charge for all emails, calls and work. If the other firm does not respond, we may run out of time and ask you for further funds.
We do not just write letters to the police or CPS without fully understanding your case and what the police allege. We normally establish what you have already said in interview. We will work out if the advice you have received needs to be reviewed. We will advise on whether you should talk to the police going forward in the case and if there are to be more interviews.
Will I need to pay more?
It is not usually possible to do all the work in fixed fees of less than 3 hours work. We will do as much of the work as possible. This time includes an initial consultation in person or otherwise, initial verbal advice on the merits of the case against you and your defence. This time does not allow for a detailed letter of advice or detailed analysis of the evidence. We charge for all work, calls, messages, emails, letters and writing notes, which are not all possible to do under 3 hours on lower fixed fees. The fee does not cover reports, which we may have to obtain for you. It will also not cover interpreter fees or travel fares etc.
Why do solicitors cost so much just to talk to or write letters for you?
All quality established lawyers charge fees to cover overheads that are necessary to operate successful firms which get results. We control our costs as far as possible and we aim to be fair and flexible on fees.
Why should I not just go for a cheaper firm of solicitors?
A cheaper firm is unlikely to be a specialist firm or provide the high-level of service that we can offer. Our fees enable us to provide you with top quality advice and assistance from skilled criminal defence practitioners.
If I am charged to attend court, what will the private consultation cover?
We cannot answer specific questions on the merits of your case until you book a meeting. We will discuss funding options and the merits of your case. We will read the prosecution evidence, if it can be obtained, and advise you on the strengths or weakness of the case and that of your defence. We may also discuss witnesses and experts you could call.
If you have a good case, we will tell you. If you have a weak case, we will also advise you of this.
We will discuss obtaining credit for a guilty plea.
Should I talk to the witnesses against me or the alleged victim?
Under no circumstances should you do this as you could commit further offences or be accused of breach of bail.
How long will the police take to investigate?
We do not control police investigations. Straightforward matters can take them 1 to 3 months to resolve and reach a decision. Where more extensive inquiries are necessary, it can take 3 to 12 months. More serious cases can take 1 to 4 years or longer.
What are representations to the police or CPS?
We can write to the police or CPS and make written arguments and representations for the case to be reviewed and possibly discontinued or dropped. If you admit the offence and the case is of a low-gravity matter, we can ask that they do not proceed if there are good reasons or that they offer a caution rather than seek a conviction.
Where you are guilty of a low-gravity offence and a caution or conviction will ruin your life, the police may drop the case if there are good reasons. We can offer admissions to lesser offences or alternate offences. The police may not proceed if it is not in the public interest to do so or the chances of them succeeding are low. These representations are sometimes successful. So that you are aware, we will only make representations and propose an alternative penalty, such as a caution, if you agree to this in advance.
What are the reasons to make representations?
This can allow you to put your case to the police or CPS in writing. You can put forward your defence and ask for a quicker resolution. This will enable the officer or his supervisor/CPS to have in their possession strong written representations from us about your case and the outcome you seek. This could result in a caution or community-based penalty being administered rather than you being charged and brought before the Court.
Reasons we have previously raised, where appropriate and if true, are that:
- You may be suffering from very poor mental or physical health
- You are at risk of losing your job because of a minor incident
- You are a victim or there are cross-allegations against the other side
- You may have an addiction which has now been treated
Other reasons may include that it was a minor incident or offence and you have shown genuine remorse. There are various good reasons we can put forward. We normally ask you to back it up with evidence or reports etc.
Our clients prefer to have their matters dealt with expeditiously and if possible, with an out of court disposal so that they can move on with their lives.
What is a caution?
Cautions are given to anyone aged 10 or over for minor crimes, such as writing graffiti on a bus shelter.
You must admit to an offence and agree to be cautioned. You can be arrested and charged if you do not agree.
A caution is not a criminal conviction, but it could be used as evidence of bad character if you go to court for another crime and could impact on Visa applications or entry requirements if you want to visit another country. Cautions can show on standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
You must comply with certain rules and restrictions as part of a conditional caution, e.g.:
- going for treatment for drug abuse
- fixing damage to a property
You could be charged with a crime if you do not comply with the conditions.
Penalty notices for disorder
Penalty notices for disorder are given for offences including:
- Possession of cannabis
- Being drunk and disorderly in public
You can only get a penalty notice if you are aged 18 or over. You will be asked to sign the penalty notice ticket. You will not get a criminal conviction if you pay the penalty. You can ask for a trial if you disagree with the penalty notice. You will get a larger fine if you do not ask for a trial and do not pay the fine.
We can discuss –
- Trial in Magistrates’ Court
- Trial in Crown Court
How long will this stay on criminal record?
Read the links below dealing with criminal records and advance DBS checks:
What to expect at court?
You can obtain information from us at your meeting or online, see link below:
More detailed information about criminal cases at court:
Can I get my legal costs back?
You should assume you will receive no costs back but if you are found not guilty or the case against you is dismissed, you may be able to recover your legal costs at a much lower legal aid rate. This is only if a certain criteria is met. See the costs document for more details:
What about my employer?
We cannot help to make a case against your employer, but we can assist in recommending solicitors who can if required. We cannot advise on employment law arising out of criminal cases. We can not advise you on regulatory matters arising out of your profession.
What about family law issues?
In a criminal law case, we cannot advise on related divorce, childcare or social services, contact or financial issues. You will need a family lawyer. We can only take a limited number of these cases.
What about my immigration status?
We cannot advise you on your status or the impact on you from the case, you should seek specialist advice from us or another lawyer if you have immigration or nationality concerns. In cases where you receive imprisonment, you can be deported. We will advise you if this becomes a live issue.
Will I be able to get a visa to go abroad?
We cannot give you advice about this as you will need to check with the country that you intend to travel to.
What about if I want to sue the other party?
We cannot help to make a case against the complainant or advise in any civil claim you may bring or that may be brought against you, but we can assist in recommending solicitors who can.
I want my property back from the search?
We do not help with this. The police will provide contact details which means you can arrange getting your property back. We may be able to do this work if you book time with us to do this and fund that work.
What if the search was unlawful?
We can only advise you on the legality of searches once you instruct us formally and we consider the whole case. You should assume all evidence gathered in a search will be admissible at this stage unless a lawyer has advised you in writing to the contrary.
Can I sue/make a complaint about the police?
We do not advise on police complaints or actions against the police. You will need specialist advice on this. It is a judgement call whether to complain now or at a later stage in the case. You must take various factors into account.
If you believe your case is likely to have serious consequences for you now, or in the future, and you have the means to pay for this service please read more about our bespoke private fee service.