Frequently asked questions
The police have indicated that they want to interview me at the police station, what are my rights?
You may not have to attend. Seek legal advice.
If you do attend you are entitled to have a legal representative present. Always seek legal advice/representation. Your representative will seek disclosure from the police, establish the strength and the nature of the evidence against you and then advise you as to the best course of action. If arrested you have certain rights including the right of access to legal advice. Make sure you seek such advice.
Am I entitled to legal aid?
The scheme generally covers only offences for which you can be sent to prison. The court will only grant you legal aid if it believes there is a risk of you being sent to prison and if you are financially eligible (an income of less than £21,487 subject to means testing).
I'm not eligible for legal aid, how much will it cost me to use a solicitor?
Our guidelines regarding our costs are as follows:
- Telephone advice £50
- Guilty plea £500
- Standard trial £1000
- Complex/lengthy trial £1500
- Subject to travelling and VAT.
In the event that you win your case your defence costs should be payable from central funds.
I have a case scheduled for hearing do I need to attend court?
If the case has been instituted by way of summons - usually received through the post - then it may be possible to have the case dealt with in your absence. If you have been charged by the police and bailed to attend court you need to do so otherwise you may be committing an offence under the Bail Act. It may be possible, however, for the case to be adjourned in your absence but always seek legal advice/representation and do not simply fail to attend court.
Can I have my case dealt with at the Crown Court?
Most motoring offences can only be dealt with at the Magistrates' Court as can certain other cases, for example minor public order, assault and damage cases. Some cases, for example Theft and more serious assaults, can be dealt with at either the Magistrates' or the Crown Court. Generally, the advantage of the case being dealt with at the Crown court is that statistics show that a higher proportion of trials at the Crown Court result in an acquittal as opposed to trials in the Magistrates' Courts. The most serious of cases can only be dealt with at the Crown Court.