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Charged With an Offence or Received a Postal Requisition to Attend the Magistrates Court?

If you have attended the police station and been charged with an offence, you will have received a charge sheet requiring you to attend the magistrates court on a specified date and at a specified time. Alternatively, you may have received a letter in the post requiring your attendance. This is called a requisition.

You should seek advice from us and contact us as soon as possible. It is likely that we will arrange to meet with you and to sort out funding ahead of the first court date.

We will ask you for your National Insurance number and details of your financial circumstances. It is helpful if you are able to provide us with the charge sheet or postal requisition.It is also a good idea to obtain proof of wages or salary in the form of payslips or bank statements as soon as possible, together with proof of outgoings, in particular rent. If you are in receipt of benefits, we will need to know the type of benefit that you are on and to determine whether it is a qualifying benefit or not. It is a good idea to have proof of how much benefit you are in receipt of, if it is not a qualifying benefit.

The date you have been given to attend court will involve you being asked to indicate to the court whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence or offences with which you are charged. No prosecution witnesses will be in attendance on this date and no trial will take place. If you decide to enter a guilty plea, the magistrates or district judge may proceed to sentence. Sometimes the court will ask you to see a probation officer, who will make a recommendation as to sentence.

If you decide to enter a not guilty plea, your case will be set down for a trial on a future date, if the offence or offences are summary only or if magistrates decide that your case is suitable for trial in the magistrates court having regard to the nature of the case and its complexity and to whether the courts sentencing powers are sufficient.

When you speak to us, we can advise you as to whether your case will be dealt with in the magistrates court or whether it is likely to be sent to the Crown Court. We can also advise you on what plea you should indicate based on the evidence, which we can obtain from the Crown Prosecution Service by email, hopefully in advance of the first court date. We can also advise you on the sentencing guidelines and the likely sentence you can expect.

 

At court, if you decide to plead not guilty and the trial will take place in the magistrates court, we can complete a preparation for effective trial form on your behalf.

If the offences can only be heard in the Crown Court or if the magistrates decide to send your case to the Crown Court, your case will be adjourned to a Pre-trial Preliminary Hearing in the Crown Court. This will be a first hearing in the Crown Court and again no prosecution witnesses will be in attendance and no trial will take place. At a Pre-trial Preliminary Hearing, you will be asked to formally indicate whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence or offences and the Crown Court judge will make directions to ensure that the trial takes place on a specified date and that there is no delay in the matter being resolved. You will be given either a fixed date for trial or your case will go into a warned list. This means that you should expect your trial to take place during a specified two-week period in the future. During that two-week period, you will be notified the working day before that your trial is to start.

We realise it can be daunting to challenge a police officer where you do not agree with what they say, but we have extensive experience of dealing with disputed police evidence, and will ensure you have the opportunity to get your side of the story across.

If you were sentenced to a Community Order, or Suspended Sentence by the magistrates or crown court, then failure to comply with the requirements can result in you being summoned to court in breach.

If you are being investigated for behaviour towards you own children, you should contact us. S1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 makes it an offence for someone with responsibility for a child to “wilfully assault, ill-treat, neglect or abandon” that child “in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health”.

Criminal Behaviour Orders were brought into force by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. They were introduced to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and are targeted at persistent criminal offending behaviour

It is an offence under Section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 to damage or destroy property belonging to another, without reasonable excuse. For a person to be guilty of criminal damage they must cause the damage either deliberately or recklessly.

If you are the owner of a dog, or take responsibility for a dog, it is very important to be aware of the law. the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence in itself to possess or breed certain dogs.

When you apply for a job working with vulnerable adults or children, you will be asked to consent to a DBS check. You may be concerned about convictions or cautions that you have to disclose.

The police, Crown Prosecution Service and Courts take a robust stance on domestic violence that has occurred between people who are in a relationship or have been in a relationship.

A Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) can be served in cases where police believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk.

Most drug related offences (class A, B and C) are charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. However we can also advise in relation to offences alleged under the more recent Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

The law which governs firearms is complex. We have strong experience in this field, and will be able to advise you about all aspects of ownership and use.

Offences under the Fraud Act (2006) include: Possession or making or supplying of articles for use in fraud, participation by sole trader in fraudulent business, and obtaining services dishonestly.

Harassment, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, is very broadly defined and can involve a range of conduct. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another, and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other (s2).

Offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 are rarely charged because gathering evidence against individuals is often a specialist task for the police. However, the authorities are becoming more concerned about the damage that hacking and unauthorised access to computers with intent impair operation is causing and the risks to national security.

A Local Authority has the power to prosecute a number of different offences. We have expertise in this area, and experience of dealing with a range of these cases.

You may well have heard in the news references to “County lines” drug operations where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often by children or vulnerable people coerced into it by gangs.

Our firm has dealt with a number of these very serious matters over the years and we believe that our lawyers have the judgement and expertise to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

Possession of a blade or pointed article or offensive weapon is a serious offence, which in most cases carries the risk of imprisonment.

These offences against the administration of justice are viewed as serious by the Courts and it is vital that you have access to our advice on these matters.

Where an individual has been convicted of an offence and is before the Crown Court, the Prosecution may apply for a ‘Confiscation Order’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2006 (POCA 2006), where it is said that they have benefited from criminal conduct.

Offences alleged under the Public Order Act 1986 are common and very wide- ranging in seriousness.

Allegations of sexual misconduct are naturally very serious, and while under investigation can seriously impact upon the lives of those accused and their families. We have strong experience in this field, and we appreciate the emotional distress caused to those accused of such crimes.

Removal from the Sex Offenders Register is possible, even in cases where the notification period is said to be indefinite. There are now more applications to be removed from the Register than before because of a change in police policy. Call us free to discuss.

The Court has a power to order a restraining order on conviction for any offence, or even in the event of an acquittal. Restraining Orders can have devastating effects on families, and especially those with children.

This area of law can be particularly complex, and result in serious consequences for drivers. We are able to provide comprehensive advice and representation in relation to all road traffic and motoring offences

The Theft Act 1968 covers these offences and others, for example, shoplifting, theft in breach of trust, theft by finding, going equipped to steal, handling stolen goods, taking a conveyance without consent (including the aggravated offence) or allowing yourself to be carried.

The police may have seized and retained your property: money, mobile phone, laptops, computers. We can assist you in getting your property back, including making an application under the Police Property Act 1897.

Whether you are accused of ‘battery’, ‘common assault’, ‘casing actual bodily harm’, ‘causing or inflicting grievous bodily harm with (s18) or without intent (s20)’ or other more serious offences, we can help establish whether you have a defence.

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