If accused of a crime whether you are guilty or innocent, it is serious or minor, a Criminal law solicitor will help you by making sure your legal rights are protected.
When should a solicitor be contacted?
Ideally, contact a solicitor as soon as you know that you are accused of an offence. Whether you are guilty or innocent of a crime, however serious, you need the support of a solicitor as soon as possible.
At the police station
Many believe that a solicitor is only for guilty people, and can be expensive. Everyone is entitled to free legal representation when being questioned by the police, whether you are guilty or innocent.
You’re entitled to request your own solicitor. You don‘t have to accept the duty solicitor that the police offer you.
The police should give your solicitor enough information for you both to understand the allegation. Also provided will be an idea of the evidence for or against you. Your solicitor will have the opportunity to ask any further questions for you.
You will then have a private meeting with them prior to your interview. Your solicitor will explain the disclosure and record your version of events. Following which, you will be advised on the law and on your options.
Without legal advice, you may be charged with offences you don’t understand. You could possibly find yourself accepting offences for which you are not aware of the repercussions of.
A criminal law solicitor will go over the details of the case that the prosecutor alleges against you. He or she will also discuss your options to plead guilty or not guilty to the charge and the likely sentence you may receive.
If you are pleading not guilty your solicitor will:
- help you to understand the evidence that the prosecution have against you and;
- will put together evidence to support your case.
A solicitor can help by contacting witnesses or obtaining expert reports to challenge any evidence against you. In some cases, you may be advised that you instruct a barrister who will present your case in court.
If you plead or are found guilty, your solicitor:
- can help you by presenting information to the court pointing out any mitigating circumstances and;
- provide explanations to persuade the judge to reduce any sentence or fine.
In a criminal trial, the rules of evidence are complicated. For example, during the course of a trial, those representing themselves invariably ask questions which do not comply with the rules of evidence. The cross-examination of a witness is also likely to be met with interruption and objection from the prosecution. A good criminal lawyer will put the correct and well-framed questions to a witness They can also present legal arguments to the court ie. the relevance of an objected question and why it should be allowed
A criminal lawyer will also have a planned strategy for the cross-examination of any witnesses, leading to a possible change to the result of your case.
On a conviction
In brief, you receive a conviction or plead guilty and not sentenced at the end of the trial, your matter proceeds to a sentencing hearing. A criminal solicitor can help you avoid imprisonment. He/she will understand the sentencing law as it applies to your case and will present a plea in mitigation which could work to your advantage.
If asked to attend a police interview, it is important to have the right advice beforehand and that the police know you have a solicitor representing you. It can make all the difference – remember to exercise your legal right of having a solicitor with you.
Call us 24/7 on 01432 278 179 for police station representation.