FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What number do I call in an emergency?
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you just need to call xx and you will be able to speak to a solicitor.

Is advice at a police station free?
Yes, unless you have already attended in connection with the alleged criminal offence and then change your original solicitor. The Legal Aid Agency will not pay for representation by two solicitors and you will have to pay privately.

You can request a solicitor of your choice to attend at the police station or if you do not have your own solicitor you can ask for the Duty Solicitor. If you are being interviewed in connection with a minor offence then you are only entitled to free legal advice if you use the Criminal telephone advice service.

How can I find out if I will get legal aid for my case?
Whether or not you get legal aid depends on how much you earn and what capital you have. Click on the following link which will take you to the Legal Aid Agency calculator to find out if you are eligible.

How do Judges and Magistrates decide on a sentence for a person who is found guilty?
We will discuss in detail with you the type of sentence that you are likely to receive if you are found guilty of an offence as each case depends upon its own facts. However in general a number of factors are taken into consideration including the type, seriousness and circumstances of the crime as well as the age and criminal record of the offender.

In addition a sentence might depend on any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

An aggravating circumstance is something that makes a crime more serious, eg burgling someone’s house while they are asleep in bed.

A mitigating circumstance is something that makes a crime less serious, eg you have problems in your personal life that have affected your behaviour.

Judges and magistrates use guidelines from the Court of Appeal and the Sentencing Council when deciding what sentences to give.

Pleading guilty early can result in a lower sentence.

How many people are in a jury?
Juries hear Crown Court i.e. serious cases. At the beginning of the trial there must be 12 and at least 9 should still be present when the case has concluded. If the verdict is not unanimous then the Judge can accept a majority decision ie 11-1, 10-2, 10-1 and 9-1.

If I am charged with a sexual assault when will my name become public?
The police do not generally release the names or identifying details of those arrested or suspected of a crime other than in exceptional circumstances, where disclosure is in the public interest for example in historic sex abuse cases or where there is a pattern of offences. It is argued that putting a name into the public domain encourages more people to come forward and helps the prosecution to formulate a case.

However, there is no general right to anonymity once a person is charged (or at all). It is only those considered to be vulnerable, such as minors (ie under 18) or complainants in sexual offence cases, who have their identities automatically protected from the press and public during a trial.

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