Am I entitled to speak with a Solicitor at the Police Station?

Your right to free legal advice at a Police Station

You have the right to free legal advice (legal aid) if you are questioned at a police station. You can change your mind later if you decide to turn it down.

How you can get free legal advice whilst at a Police Station

You must be told about your right to free legal advice after you’re arrested and before you’re questioned at a police station. You can ask for the police station’s ‘duty solicitor’, who is available 24 hours a day and independent of the police. You can also tell the police that you would like legal advice and the police will then contact the Defence Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC) on your behalf. Finally, you can ask the police to contact your own solicitor.

In some circumstances you may be offered legal advice over the telephone instead of a duty solicitor attending the police station if you have committed a less serious offence. This advice is free and independent of the police.

Being questioned without legal advice

Once you have requested legal advice the police cannot question you until you have got it, although there are a small number of exceptions to this rule.

The police can make you wait for legal advice in more serious cases but only if a senior officer agrees to this. The longest you can be made to wait before getting legal advice is 36 hours after arriving at the police station and 48 hours for suspected terrorism.

If you require further advice please call us on 01603 616000 or email us.

What`s the difference between Crown Court & Magistrates Court?

Every criminal case will start in a Magistrates Court. A magistrates court has the power to issue fines, conditional discharges, community sentences and even imprisonment up to six months.

A Magistrates Court can also decide on some civil cases, including local government and family matters. Local government cases can include matters such as non-payment of council tax.

More serious offences, which can include burglary cases, assault and murder, will be referred to the Crown Court. In each case, if the defendant pleads not guilty then the case will be heard before a jury of 12 people who are responsible for deciding if the accused is found guilty or not guilty. If the defendant pleads guilty they will be sentenced by a judge.

In some matters a case is referred to the Crown Court by a magistrate, as this court has higher powers of sentencing.

If you require further advice please call us on 01603 616000 or email us.

What is a Legal Aid calculator?

The government offers a free tool called the Legal Aid calculator, which allows you to quickly check if you may be eligible to receive Legal Aid.

Do you offer free legal advice?

At Breydons we offer a free police station call out and advice as well as  Legal Aid.

What is a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

You would receive a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) to tell you, the potential defendant, that you may be prosecuted for the offence you have committed while the incident is still fresh in your memory.

When you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution it does not mean that you are going to face prosecution, it is just a warning that you could possibly face prosecution.

The Notice of Intended Prosecution must be served on you the driver or you as the registered keeper of the vehicle within a period of 14 days of the offence, otherwise the offence will not proceed in court. If the correct details of the suspected driver are not known then the NIP will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle. Either way, as long as the notice arrives at the correct address within 14 days the notice will be valid.

If you the registered keeper has changed your address and not informed the DVLA as long as the Notice of Intended Prosecution arrives at the correct address on record for the registered keeper within the allotted 14 day period, it is still valid. You as the registered keeper of that vehicle will then have an obligation to identify the driver.

Notice of Intended Prosecution`s can also be issued verbally to the driver of the vehicle at the time of the said offence or you could alternatively receive a court summons in the post for the alleged motoring offence within the time period of 14 days. Minor errors on the NIP will not make it ineffective unless it would mislead the potential defendant.

A Notice of Intended Prosecution will be deemed to have been served on you if it was posted to you at your last known address, never the less if the notice is returned as undelivered or was for any other reason not received by you. The posted NIP is deemed to be served until the contrary is shown.

What is a duty solicitor?

In the UK a duty solicitor is a solicitor whose professional and legal services are available to a anybody suspected of, or charged with a criminal offence, free of charge if that person does not already have access to their own solicitor.

In England and Wales there are two duty solicitor schemes in operation:

  • The first scheme is the Police Station Duty Solicitor which allows you, if arrested on suspicion of a criminal offence, to consult with a solicitor either in face to face or by phone, or both, while you are held in police custody. A Police Station Duty Solicitor is usually appointed or called for when the suspect is about to be interviewed concerning the criminal activity for which they have been arrested for.
  • The second scheme operating is the Court Duty Solicitor scheme which enables anyone that has already been charged with a criminal offence the opportunity to consult with and also be represented by a duty solicitor in the Magistrates’ Court on their first appearance if they do not have, or simply have not contacted, their own solicitor.

What is Legal Aid?

Legal aid is there to help people who are otherwise unable to afford legal costs and representation for both criminal and motoring offences. and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as pivotal in providing access to justice in the UK by ensuring equality before the law, the right to counsel and, of course, the right to a fair trial.

Legal aid is provided for as laid out in Article 6.3 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding criminal law court cases. It is designed to help citizens who do not have sufficient financial funds or meet other certain criteria with court proceedings and being assisted by legal professionals for free, or at a reduced rate, or of receiving financial aid.

Is speeding a criminal offence?

If you are convicted of a motoring offence by the court you will unfortunately have a criminal record. This will apply to all sentences available to the court which includes nearly all motoring conviction fines. So in answer to the question…Yes speeding is a criminal offence.

However, unlike many serious criminal offences and convictions, a criminal record for your motoring conviction will not stay with you for life. After a certain period of time your criminal record for your motoring conviction will become classed as ‘spent’. Which essentially means that you will no longer have to declare it to your motor insurance company or in most cases, when you are applying for another job. Usually motoring convictions become classed as ‘spent’ after a period of 5 years, although details of more serious offences, such as drink driving, will remain on your driving licence and the DVLA records for a longer period.

As no doubt you are aware, a criminal record can possibly have quite a devastating effect on your personal and professional life. Therefore if you need any help or advice please contact us as soon as possible by calling 01603 61600 or e-mailing us straight away.

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal Law in England refers to the body of law in the jurisdiction of England and Wales which deals with criminal acts which are considered offences against a community.

Defending against some crimes is possible and what we at Breydons specialise in. If you are required to attend court for a criminal offence then Breydons are there to help and advise you in your defence.

Criminal Law offences include:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • High treason
  • Cheating the public revenue
  • Contempt of Court
  • Fabrication of false evidence
  • Permitting an escape
  • Breach of prison
  • Public nuisance
  • Conspiracy to defraud
  • Perverting the course of justice

Plus many other criminal and common offences. Please get in touch with Breydons today if you need help with a criminal matter.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal Aid is designed to help meet the costs of legal advice and representation in a cour of law in the UK.

To qualify for Legal Aid you’ll usually need to prove that:

  • Your case is eligible to be considered for Legal Aid
  • Your problem is serious enough to warrant Legal Aid
  • You cannot afford to pay for your legal costs

You could qualify to get Legal Aid if:

  • You or your family are at risk of abuse or serious harm
  • You’re at risk of losing your home and becoming homeless
  • You’ve been accused of a crime, face imprisonment or detention
  • You’re being discriminated against by another
  • You’re adding a legal argument and/or bringing a  new case under the Human Rights Act

You’ll usually need to prove that you cannot afford to pay for legal help and you may have to contribute towards the legal costs of your own case or even pay back costs at a later date.

The government has a useful Legal Aid Checker on their website to help you determine whether you can get Legal Aid or not. Alternatively you can call us here at Breydons on 01603 616000 or contact us and we will be able to offer you some advice on Legal Aid matters.

What is a Solicitor?

The legal profession in the UK is made up of people known as lawyers, barristers and solicitors. What is the difference and what exactly is a solicitor?

Basically all three deal with the legal profession but the differences are mainly found in the type and area of law that they are working on and also the capacity of their work.

A solicitor is a legal professional who gives legal advice and deals directly with their clients. Solicitors are also the individuals usually given the task to prepare all the legal documents ready for court. They also conduct and deal with legal matters outside of the courtroom.

Solicitors have to go undergo extensive legal training by way of earning a law degree or completion of a conversion course in the UK. They then have to finish the Legal Practice Course then serve as an apprentice for a further two years.

If you would like any further advice about our solicitors please contact us and we will be happy to help.