Can I just see you at Court?
No. As soon as you are charged you should make an appointment to come in and see us. We can then consider making a legal aid application or discussing our private client rates with you.
Legal Aid (Representation Order) is means tested for those over 18 appearing in a Magistrates’ Court. If you or your partner receive Income Support or JSA then you will qualify. You will also have to satisfy the Interests of Justice test.
If you are under 18 you will get Legal Aid if it is in the Interests of Justice. Means Testing is not relevant, unless you have a job. Your parents’ income is not relevant.
We will try to get the Prosecution papers before the Court hearing so we can read through them and form an opinion. Otherwise we shall see you at Court on the day you have been charged and we shall advise you then.
What will happen at Court?
Adjournments are not granted so easily by the Court as they used to be. You will probably have to enter a plea on your first appearance at Court.
If the plea is guilty you may be dealt with that day, or a few days later or 3 weeks later depending on how the Court wishes to punish you and whether or not Pre Sentence Reports are required and if they are, of what type.
If you plead not guilty then a Trial date will be set. If you don’t attend at the Trial then it can (indeed it is most likely that it will) proceed in your absence.
What punishment will I get?
That depends on the offence, your record of offending and the Court (i.e. the Magistrates or the Judge). However the Sentencing Guidelines Council has attempted to eradicate wild fluctuations and differences in sentencing by creating guidelines for Magistrates and Judges which suggest the appropriate punishment.
The most important thing is to contact Emmersons Solicitors Expert Criminal Solicitors and Lawyers. It is far better if we are able to represent you whilst you are being interviewed by the police or any other authority. If you have already been interviewed and charged you should contact us as soon as possible so that we can start to prepare your case for you.
For more information ask to speak to Michael Robinson on:
Criminal Law Solicitors - Newcastle: 0191 284 6989
Criminal Law Solicitors - Sunderland: 0191 567 6667
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