Solicitors for People With No Convictions
If your career, reputation or freedom are at stake, we step in to assess the problem and take action to deal with it
If you call our expert criminal lawyers for a free case review we will show you the way forward to getting the best result. We win many cases, and most of our clients even avoid having to go to trial. We offer private representation for affordable fixed fees, and in serious or complex cases we can work on legal aid.
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SPECIALISTS IN SERIOUS AND COMPLEX CASES
Strategy when representing professionals
It must first be said that there is no ‘works every time’ key to success in any allegation against an individual. Of course, the fundamentals are important time spent with the lawyer, appropriate research into the issues, briefing a good advocate. But in respect of specifics, where someone is a professional accused of an offence, or someone with no previous convictions, the best tool that they have to defend themselves is the thing they stand to lose their good name. With this in mind, character evidence, ideally both written and from a person or people who actually attend at court, is absolutely essential.
At a more strategic level, the whole attitude with the police, the prosecution and the court must reflect that the defence team regards the client as someone who should not be there. It is surprising how often a criminal case can be dealt with in a way that does not result in a conviction simply because the defence lawyers are bold enough to ask. The authorities have several ways of dealing with an accusation. It’s not just a case of charge or no charge, guilty or not guilty.
Cautions should be avoided wherever possible. They are regarded by the court as an admission of guilt, and will usually appear on a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. Any caution for an offence of violence (e.g. assault or dishonesty) will usually be available to a prospective employer, educational institution, or professional body. Cautions are often doled out by officers at police stations and accepted by individuals who believe that they amount to little more than a ‘slap on the wrist’. This is not the case for anyone who has not been convicted of an offence. A caution can do damage to a person’s professional prospects on a similar level to a conviction handed down by the court.
At the interview / investigation stage at the police station, an officer can consider a warning or reprimand as an end to the matter. This enables the officer to consider charging the individual more readily if a similar allegation is later made. Sometimes an officer can be persuaded to take this route. A warning is just that it is not a conviction and not usually disclosable to employers etc.
Bind Overs, the Conditional Discharge and the Absolute Discharge
Certain penalties exist which a court can impose which do not amount to criminal convictions and do not result in a CRB file being endorsed. One of these is a ‘bind over’. It has traditionally been used as a penalty to prevent future breaches of the peace, so is usually handed down by courts for offences of public order or mild violence. It is a civil penalty, not a criminal conviction, and is therefore a nicer alternative than a conviction. A good criminal defence solicitor will table this with the prosecution if the offence is minor enough. Negotiation skills are very important here, because the prosecution must offer it. It cannot be obtained from magistrates or a Crown Court judge.
A discontinuance, like a bind over, is something that must be obtained with agreement from the Prosecution. Again, negotiation is very important, although the prosecution will usually ask for written representations (a letter from the defence explaining the reasons the case should be discontinued). For the prosecution to agree, the defence must show that the circumstances of the case or the client are exceptional. Even then, there is no guarantee that the prosecution will agree.
Advice for someone called for interview
Of paramount importance when attending an interview is to always have a solicitor. The police are trained to present their role as one of an impartial fact finder. This is misleading. Police are driven by results and regard arrests and charges as successful outcomes. Their only aim is not ‘to hear all sides of the story to get to the truth’, as they often make out. The right advice at the police station stage can prevent a case ever being brought in the first place.
Funding for low level offences where a conviction has serious consequences
Because of limits to legal aid funding for most people in employment, most people have to fund a magistrates (where most minor cases are heard) case privately. That doesn’t have to mean huge legal fees, but it does mean that the client should allocate a level of funding consistent with the goal. We work with clients to help them work out schedules to make affording fees easier, and usually can offer fixed fees so clients know that funds will not escalate with every letter we receive or send.
Where a trial cannot be avoided, the case must be prepared thoroughly. Expert evidence and private investigation should be considered where appropriate. The client must be well prepared for trial, and difficult areas in the evidence should be considered well in advance, not during the trial itself. A barrister should be briefed early and should be hand picked to suit both the client and the case.
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FOCUSED ON PROTECTING YOUR CLEAN RECORD
Advantages of calling us today
- Our reviews show that we care and fight for our clients.
- We have an excellent track record since the 1970s and our criminal solicitors have acted in some of the most important trials of modern times. See below.
- We focus on getting the case dropped early where possible so you do not have to go to court.
- We understand the importance your case if you have a career to protect.
- We believe that you are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way round, and we will fight for you on that basis.
- Our criminal solicitors do the proactive investigation to prove your case as the police should have done the first time around.
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We accept clients throughout England and Wales in our offices around the country
If it’s a case we can take on, we’ll defend you at any police station or court in England or Wales. We have offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Salford, and we’re happy to have a consultation with you on the phone or in person.
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specialists in serious and complex cases
Discuss your options with a specialist criminal solicitor
Joseph Kotrie Monson