Crime - Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal Law

i. Frequently asked motoring offence questions

I have received a Notice of intended Prosecution - what do I do?

A Notice of intended prosecution is simply a request for information namely who was the driver of the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged offence.

Your obligation is to provide as much information as you have as to the identity of the driver within 28 days of the Notice.

If you were the driver, and you do not respond within 28 days then you could be charged with Failure to Furnish Driver Details which is punishable by a fine and a mandatory 6 penalty points.

I do not know who was driving the motor vehicle - what do I do?

Often when a vehicle is driven by numerous people then sometimes it is not possible to say who was driving. If you are sent a Notice, the person to whom the Notice is sent is still obliged to provide as much information as possible to identify who could have been driving. Often people will send the Notice back to the police with a covering letter saying they do not know who was driving, provide reasons why they don't know and giving a list of potential drivers at the time, who could be family members or employees. The key is that the individual sent the Notice must provide as much information as possible to assist in identifying the driver.

I have been stopped by police and have been told I will be reported - what happens next?

You will more than likely receive a summons with a court date. Sometimes you will hear nothing at all. If you do receive a court date and wish to discuss representation then please contact us.

I have been charged with drink driving and have been bailed to attend court - what do I do?

It is possible to defend prosecutions for drink driving on a technical, procedural and or legal basis. If you wish to discuss your case, please contact us and we can discuss your options.

I have received a summons and have to attend court - what do I do?

If you wish to discuss legal representation then please contact us.

I am facing a prosecution and I'm in danger of losing my license if I get any more points - is there anything I can do?

We can always consider contesting the case. If you do receive more than 12 points on your licence then you will be subject to a disqualification unless you can demonstrate that you would suffer an exceptional hardship by losing your license. We can advise you and represent you at each and every stage of the case.

I want legal representation but I'm concerned about the legal costs which may be involved - is it expensive?

If you are successful with your case on a not guilty plea then you may be entitled to have your costs paid from central funds. This means that the case under these circumstances will cost you little or nothing at all. However there are strict rules about this about which we can advise.
We may be able to undertake work on your behalf for a reasonable fixed fee which we will agree with you in advance and which is paid in advance. If you are successful we would then apply for costs which are usually paid within 3-6 months when we would then be able to reimburse you.

Will I get legal aid?

There have been considerable changes in relation to the granting of applications for legal aid.

Motoring offences can have a dramatic effect on people's lives, but it is almost impossible to get legal aid for them.

We provide an exclusive, private service at a reasonable cost to our clients.

ii. Frequently asked other criminal offence questions

Am I entitled to have a solicitor at the police station

If you are arrested and detained at the police station, or attend voluntarily for an interview, one of your rights is to have a legal representative of your choice present to represent your interests, and to advise you.
Legal aid may be available depending on the offence being investigated. However, it is important that you appreciate however hardworking and conscientious legal aid solicitors are they are limited as to what they are able to do because this is strictly controlled by the legal aid regulations, for example it is almost always the case that the first time you will meet your solicitor or their representative will be at the police station when your instructions will be received. This is not a desirable situation because it gives little time for you to think about your case and the atmosphere/environment at the police station can be uncomfortable.

If we attend you would be responsible for our costs privately. However, we would always recommend that before attending the police station with you that we have the opportunity to meet with you at our offices or at an agreed location so that we can discuss your case with you in private and in a comfortable manner which is unrushed. This, in our experience will place you in the best possible position for being interviewed by the police who will have prepared what they will be asking you and so it is only fair you too should be given that opportunity.

What happens if I am arrested outside normal hours?

If you are arrested when you are taken to the police station you will be asked whether you want a Solicitor. When you ask for Venters Solicitors provide them with our details, we will then be contacted by the police on your behalf or you or a family member of friend could contact us.

Arranging in advance representation at the police station

If you have a pre-arranged time to attend at the police station, by contacting our office we can make sure one of our team is there to meet you upon your arrival, and advise you throughout the process. However and as we have already stated we would recommend that you meet with us in advance of attending the police station so that we can provide you with initial and preliminary advice

Do I need a solicitor at the police station?

Yes. The actions you take at the police station can have huge implications on how your matter progresses. Our team can advise you on the police procedures, strengths or weaknesses of the police case, and how to approach your interview. We can also make representations on your behalf in relation to cautions, bail, fixed penalty notices and the amount of time you are detained at the police stations. We will provide you with the best possible advice.

I need to return to the police station but had a different solicitor last time or no solicitor last time, can Venters represent me in this situation?

If you were not represented initially, you are able to arrange for a Solicitor of your choice to attend with you when you answer your bail at the police station. Equally, you can ask your previous solicitor to transfer the case to us. Either way arrangements can be made by contacting our office

What happens if I am charged with an offence?

If you are charged with an offence you will be given a date to attend Court. One of our solicitors can attend Court with you and represent you throughout your case. The first hearing normally involves entering either a not guilty or a guilty plea. Our solicitors would be able to advise you on the strength of the prosecution case, likely outcomes, and the best course of action for you.

How much would my case cost?

The cost of the representation will depend upon the nature of your case, as some cases can be concluded in one hearing, others take months of work to complete. Our team will be able to give you a preliminary indication of cost, and in some cases agree a fee with you to undertake your case. We will not charge you any amount without first seeking your approval and agreement to do so. If you are acquitted we will apply for as much of your costs to be reimbursed to you as possible but this will be subject to you being eligible for claiming costs about which we are happy to explain.

How long will my case take before it is concluded?

Each case is different. Some straightforward cases, where a person wishes to enter a guilty plea, could be concluded at the first hearing. Other cases, where a not guilty plea is entered, then a trial set can last longer. It will depend upon the nature of the case, plea entered, and also whether the matter is dealt with in the Magistrates or Crown Court. Our solicitors will be able to advise you of the timescale in your case as the matter progresses.

Who will represent me at court?

This Practice prides itself on advocacy. In 2006 Miss Venters QC became the first woman solicitor to become Queen’s Counsel and she is the only woman qc who is also a barrister at law. Our solicitors are skilled advocates and are able to undertake the work of both a solicitor and barrister, thus providing costs efficiency.

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