Are you happy with the Duty Solicitor?
Were you given the correct advice at the police station?
Is the duty solicitor working correctly on your case following your release from the police station?
Please click the link below to watch the video relating to this blog.
The Duty Solicitor
As a solicitor specialising in sexual defence work, I receive many calls from new clients complaining about the duty solicitor allocated to them when at the police station. The advice you received from the duty solicitor may have been very basic, leaving you feeling confused and worried about what is going to happen. You may have had no contact at all after the station, adding to your frustration.
It is important to note that legal aid is not available for work completed by a solicitor during the police investigation - prior to you being charged with an offence. This is the main reason legal aid firms (your duty solicitor) often fail to complete further work after your release from the station - because they are not being paid.
It is important to have your own solicitor acting on your behalf early on, whilst the police are investigating your case. You will need to pay privately but it may result in you not being charged, or being charged with a less serious offence.
What a privately paid solicitor can do for you at the investigative stage
A solicitor acting for you prior to charge will be able to liaise with the police, obtain available evidence, consider forensic reports, advise you of your rights, consider your defences and generally protect your interests throughout. By having an expert solicitor working on your case early on can greatly increase your chance of success.
For example, you may not know that we are able to liaise with the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to discuss your case and the available evidence. Importantly, we are able to make representations on your behalf to try and avoid you being charged.
We are also able to start work, early on, and design strategies to avoid a custodial sentence even if you plead guilty or are found guilty. Nobody wants to go to prison and much of our preparation of a case is to avoid a custodial sentence if convicted.
If you are charged with an offence then your will be required to attend court quickly, possibly with only a couple of weeks’ notice. You can always defend allegations if charged but it is better to start work on defence strategies early on - prior to charge. It is clearly better for us to have 3 months to work on your case, rather than two weeks, to prepare for court.
The CPS should consider the Code for Crown Prosecutors when deciding whether to charge you with an offence. The main point for the CPS to consider is whether there is a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’. The main problem arises when you, as the person accused, fail to make any representations to the police or CPS. In this situation the only evidence used by the CPS to decide whether you should be charged is the evidence given by the police (based on the information given by person accusing you). In effect, the evidence is all one-sided!
We are able to make representations to the police and CPS to redress the balance and try to show why the CPS should not charge you. Our aim is to persuade the CPS there is no likelihood of conviction. Please note that in some situations there may be no need to make representations, but we will be able to advise you properly as the investigation proceeds.
Although there is no legal aid available we can usually offer a fixed fee to cover all our advice. We also offer a completely free telephone consultation to discuss your case.
Please contact PCD Solicitors on 0151 422 8020 for a free consultation.