A criminal case can disrupt your life - but there's a way through

A criminal case is a scary and unwanted event in a person's life. You can feel let down by police or lawyers, and it can challenge your belief in the system. At times it can feel hopeless.

It doesn't have to be that way. Every day our criminal defence solicitors help clients on the path to getting their lives back. We're focused, we're organised and we're committed to getting the result for the client. We believe that you have a right to an expert criminal lawyer who will fight for you throughout the case.

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Table of contents

A criminal allegation can feel like a threat to every aspect of your life. It can be emotionally exhausting. This is because it's not always clear what you're facing.

Worrying about the possibility of a prison sentence is often the worst burden a person has to deal with. How will I cope? Who will look after my family? Will I be safe? These are the types of questions that can disturb a person's peace of mind for months.

A criminal case can also affect people's families. Families often worry the most, but they don't always know how to help. Even knowing which criminal defence solicitor to choose can seem daunting. There's also the effect on children, even if they have no involvement in the case.

A criminal case also carries possible effects on a person's career. Many jobs require DBS checks which can show cautions and convictions going back years. Court proceedings are often published on the internet and can remain there for several years.

People can feel at sea because of the wide range of possible outcomes. Some cases result in a trial, and others end up being dropped after the interview. It's not always obvious what decides this.

People sometimes find the process hasn't been explained to them by the police or even their own criminal defence solicitor. Sometimes they go into a police station or court without fully understanding the danger they're in. A 'chat' offered by police officers can end up being a recorded formal interview under caution, and bad advice from a solicitor to plead guilty to a minor offence on the assumption it will have no consequence can end a person's career.

The criminal justice system also doesn't treat people with sensitivity or respect, even if they've done nothing wrong. Police sometimes pretend to be helpful and neutral, even if they're actively building a case against you.

People who have faith in the system (often because they've done nothing wrong) can end up being its biggest victims.

Even if things look worrying or even desperate, it is possible to improve the situation. It starts with having specialist criminal defence lawyers.

The best criminal solicitors will know that the strategy should focus on getting the result that matters. This means sitting down and getting to know the facts as the client sees them and what he or she wants, whether it's no police record, no conviction, or no prison. Then the solicitor can give helpful and tailored advice. Clients involved in decisions feel less frustrated and scared.

Having a good lawyer also means that your case is treated proactively. This starts with pushing the police or prosecution for information, trying to steer the case in a better direction, and investigating on your behalf. What haven't the police done? Can the case be discontinued? This type of thinking often gets results.

If the solicitor works with top barristers and expert witnesses, it can help sway the outcome your way.

When you meet one of our criminal defence lawyers you'll quickly notice our focused approach, and you'll feel the difference that makes. Clients often say that this is the first time they've felt some control over the situation.

Our solicitors listen to you. We don't judge and you can't shock us. We've done these cases many times before, and we're here to help you get through it.

When you choose us, we start gathering available evidence immediately: interviews, prosecution evidence, or anything you have. We analyse it, advise you, and do everything needed to prepare.

Our lawyers push for cases to be dropped wherever possible.

We use only top barristers and forensic experts to present your case to give you the best chance in court.

We support you, treat you with respect and keep you informed, so your frustration is replaced by confidence.

We fight for you. 40 years in the UK's most important criminal cases wasn't just earned by being legal experts, but by fighting our cases to win.

  • Call us for a free consultation and have a meeting with one of our criminal defence lawyers on secure videocall or in person in one of our offices around the country

  • Don't post anything on social media about the situation, even if you don't post names of people involved

  • Tell a family member or close friend if you are suffering under the strain of the case on your own.

  • Don't speak to the police without a lawyer present. If they call you, say your lawyer will call them back.

  • Don't assume it will all turn out fine unless you're proactive. Naivety is punished by the system.

  • Don't think it's too late to improve the situation if the process has already started and you haven't organised a lawyer yet. There's usually time to improve things.

  • If in doubt, call us and we'll be happy to speak to you. Even if we can't help we'll tell you so and we'll help point you in the right direction.


Frequently asked questions

We generally charge fixed fees which are payable in instalments which most people can afford to pay. We definitely aren't the cheapest, and we're far from the most expensive.

We can represent people on legal aid in very serious cases or in cases which are very complex, for example, murder, fraud and financial crime, drugs conspiracy or other types of organised crime. We can also often represent clients where they are accused alongside a number of other people. Less serious or complex cases are harder for us to deliver a high quality service on legal aid. We recommend calling us and we will tell you if we can help, and point you in the right direction to find someone who can help if we can't.

There are many other outcomes that occur more often than a prison sentence in a criminal case. You can't go to prison unless the police or CPS decide to take the case to court, and then only if you are convicted of an offence. Of course, each situation depends on the facts. Get advice from a criminal solicitor who will help you understand what your chances are.

It depends on how the case ends. If you're found guilty in the Magistrates' Court or Crown Court then a criminal conviction usually follows and you will have a record of some type. This may not show on a DBS criminal record check or only show for a short time, depending on what the penalty is and the level of DBS check.

A caution may be a more attractive option than going to court, but you should be aware that it will be recorded and appear on a standard and enhanced DBS criminal record check for a number of years, depending on what the check is for. It is perhaps better than a criminal conviction, but not by much.

The police deal with people with no previous convictions every day, and they are generally not much more lenient or understanding to someone who has no previous convictions, although they may be more polite. You should assume that you are in at least some danger if the police say they want to speak to you, and you shouldn't underestimate the situation.

This depends on a number of things. How serious is the offence which you are being investigated for? How strong is the evidence? Does the complainant want the case to go ahead? Can the police or CPS be persuaded to go down a civil route? The answers to some of these questions may affect whether a case goes to court.

For more minor cases such as speeding or drink driving, you only have the choice of having the case dealt with in the Magistrates' Court. For much more serious cases such as robbery, conspiracy or murder, cases can only be dealt with in the Crown Court. Many cases in the middle are called 'either way' cases. These cases are quite serious but they can be dealt with in either the Magistrates' Court or the Crown Court. If you want, you can insist that an either way allegation is dealt with in the Crown Court. If the Magistrate judges think that the case is too serious for that court, they can also say it should be deal with in the Crown Court.

In some rare cases, suing the police or the CPS is possible, but courts give them a lot of leeway to get things wrong unless they are shown to have lied or been dishonest. If you want to sue the police because they arrested you or took your case to court, then keep that a possibility, but not at the expense of winning your criminal case first. Getting out of trouble should be the first priority. If you aren't under investigation or being prosecuted, you'll need a solicitor specialising in actions against the police, which you can find on the Law Society's website 'find a solicitor' section.

If a person lies and you are prosecuted as a result you may have a civil case against them, but you should always make sure you win your own case first before focusing on new proceedings against someone lese. The main danger is always the criminal case against you.

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Friday: 9:00 - 17:00

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We'll get back to you as soon as possible. We are happy to speak to you if you have a query, and either have a free consultation on the phone or in person if necessary.