Police Station :
Your Rights – When arrested by the police and taken to a police station to be questioned you have the right to consult privately, free of charge with a solicitor of your choice prior to any interview taking place. This can either be over the telephone or in person. The interview plays a vital role in any Police / Crown Prosecution Service decision whether or not to prosecute or indeed whether further enquiries are needed prior to such a decision being made. It is vitally important that you obtain legal representation at this stage. What is said or indeed not said in police interview will effect the future conduct of your case.
How to contact us – When asked if you want a solicitor simply reply “YES, DAVISON FLYNN DUKE”. The police have a national database of legal firms who deal with criminal law and as you would expect we are on it.
What you can expect – The police will then notify us of your attendance and provide us with a brief outline as to the offence(s) / circumstances which have given rise to your arrest. We will be informed as to the likely time of interview (their is quite often a lengthy delay whilst the police obtain statements / CCTV etc). We are under a duty to arrive at the police station within 45 minutes of the police informing us that they are ready for interview so don’t be dissuaded from having a solicitor if the police say “we cant get hold of your solicitor” or “your solicitor will take hours to get here, you’ll be in and out if you don’t wait for them”, that simply isn’t correct and is a way of the police trying to deal with you without the benefit of legal advice. We will then obtain disclosure from the police and discuss this with you in private consultation prior to the interview taking place. Without a solicitor the first you may hear about the offence and the evidence against you will be in the interview itself.
For all Criminal cases, your first appearance will be before the closest Magistrates Court to where the offence is alleged to have taken place, although their are a few exceptions to this rule. Most defendants will have been granted police bail from the police station to attend court in usually 2 – 3 weeks time although some are kept in custody to appear before the next available court and some are released for summons which could take up to 6 months before the first court appearance. No matter, you should be proactive in instructing a solicitor in order to prepare either your defence / mitigation . If appropriate you may apply for legal aid to cover the legal costs (in whole or in part) of your case or we will discuss with you the cost of representing you on a private fee paying basis. If we were with you at the police station then we would have already discussed the court process with you, diarised your first appearance and arranged legal representation for that hearing and advised whether legal aid is likely to be granted.
How your case then proceeds will depend upon the type of offence for which you have been charged and your intended plea. Some offences can only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court (Summary Only), some can be dealt with in either the Magistrates or Crown Court (Either Way) and finally some of the most serious offences can only be dealt with at the Crown Court (Indictable Only).
If you plead guilty then you will be given credit for that guilty plea and a reduction in sentence will take place. Depending on the seriousness of the case and your mitigation you may be sentenced on the same day or alternatively your case may be adjourned for the preparation of pre – sentence reports which are prepared by the probation service and give the court more insight in to your offending and recommend an appropriate sentence for the court.
If you plead not guilty then your case will be adjourned for trial, either before the Magistrates or Crown Court as briefly outlined above. The length of the adjournment will depend upon the nature of the offence, the court dealing with the case (Magistrates / Crown) and finally the number of witnesses that the prosecution and defence intend to call. If you are on bail and continue to abide by the conditions imposed then it is likely that you will remain on bail until your trial date.
Their is a great deal of work that goes into every case, especially those involving not guilty pleas. You will need to sit down with us and discuss the evidence against you, provide us with a statement and details of any witnesses that you may wish to call to give evidence on you behalf and they in turn will also need to provide us with a statement.