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Steps you should take when accused of a crime
12 Feb 2021

Being accused of any crime, whether big or small, can negatively impact your life in a variety of different ways.

Whether guilty or not of the allegations made against you by authorities, you’ll need a criminal solicitor protecting your legal rights and providing you with a solid defence should your case be taken to trial.

Our law firm, ABV Solicitors, have an experienced legal team who’ve successfully dealt with a wide range of criminal offences. We help get our clients acquitted, or if found guilty, ensure that their punishment fits the crime.

In this article, we’ll discuss why early legal representation is vital for what may happen next, and what our responsibilities as solicitors for criminals entails.

What is criminal law?

Criminal law is an umbrella term that includes a broad spectrum of crimes, ranging from light offences where you may be landed with a fine, through to more severe violent and non-violent transgressions that may include prison time.

A criminal solicitor is the professional you hire to lessen the devastation that comes with having accusations made against your person, which may include having your reputation tainted personally and professionally, and your freedom curbed should you be incarcerated.

Our lawyer takes robust, proactive steps early by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and seeking expert reports that support your defence.

When should I call my lawyer?

Your criminal solicitor should be the first person you contact once you’ve become aware of the charges made against you. You might be asked to come for a voluntary interview, arrested, put on bail or summoned to court.

In the above scenarios, having a lawyer in your corner is essential, especially if this is the first time you’ve landed yourself in this type of predicament.

Not acquiring legal aid because you believe it makes you look guilty is erroneous. It’s your constitutional right to talk to your lawyer before agreeing to be interviewed by police, use it. At the same time, a lawyer will inform you on how you should answer questions without implicating yourself further or making inappropriate comments that don’t help your case.

You’ve been charged, what happens next?

Your lawyer will update you on the legal procedures that are about to take place. You’ll be briefed on the allegations made against you by the prosecution and the possible sentence you could face if found guilty.

Your case is prepared, substantiated by evidence, eyewitness accounts and expert statements.

Depending on the severity and nature of your crime, your case may either go to trial at a magistrate’s court or Crown Court if you’re not acquitted of the charges.

The magistrate’s court is where judgement is handed down for less severe crimes, whereas if the allegations made against you are severe or complicated, your side of the story will be told to a judge and jury. A guilty or innocent verdict will be reached based on the evidence.

What are the penalties of a crime?

To have an idea of the possible punishment you may be facing, you’ll need to recognise the difference between a felony and a misdemeanour.

Misdemeanours are less serious crimes that generally carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Examples of misdemeanours include a miscellany of road traffic offences. Felonies, on the other hand, usually include incarceration that exceeds a year, like murder, manslaughter and sexual assault, as well as theft and fraud.

Although felonies include the possibility of a prison sentence, this doesn’t mean every felon gets punished in this way. Being found guilty of a less severe offence, being a first-time offender, or if there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the felony, it may result in a reduced sentence.

Why it is important to have the advice of a criminal solicitor at the police station

I’ve been falsely accused of committing a crime, now what?