FAQ – Criminal Law

 

FAQ - Criminal Law

What do I do if I am arrested?
If you are arrested, you have the right to free, independent, and confidential legal advice. You also have the right to notify someone outside the police station that you have been arrested, and to have medical attention if you are feeling ill or need prescribed medication. Our solicitor will be able to advise you as to your rights at the Police Station, check your welfare concerns, advise you are to the law and the strength of evidence against you. Asking for a solicitor is not an admission of guilt and should not be treated as such by the police. You may consult with our solicitor via telephone at any time whilst you are in custody, and he must be present when the police interview you.
How long can I be held in custody?
If you have not been formally charged, the police can detain you for up to 24 hours. In more serious cases, the police can apply to the Magistrates’ Court to extend the limit to 36 or 96 hours. Longer periods of detention can be authorised if they are related to terrorism allegations.
What is police bail?
The police may release you on bail after they have charged you, but this is not guaranteed. Being released on bail means that you can return home until your Court hearing. Your bail may be subject to certain conditions, such as residing at a certain address, adhering to a curfew or reporting to a police station at agreed times. If you do not abide by these conditions, you may be arrested again and taken to prison until your Court hearing.
Will my case be heard at the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court?
This will depend on how serious your offence is. Some offences are so serious that they cannot be heard in the Magistrates’ Court and must be heard in the Crown Court. Some offences can be heard at either Court, where the Magistrates may decide to send the case to the Crown Court, or you can choose which Court you want your case to be heard at. At Stella Maris Solicitors LLP, we can advise you as to which Court to have your case heard at.
Will I have to go to prison if I am found guilty?
This will depend on several factors. Some offences are so serious that you will have to go to prison. Less serious offences may only incur a fine or community service. Whether you go to prison and how long you must serve may also depend on the particular facts of your case or your personal circumstances.