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 stationMany 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.
In courtA 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.
- 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.