We are specialists in Criminal Law and provide a professional yet empathetic service to clients involved in the criminal justice system.
Our Criminal Solicitor is a Criminal High Court Advocate and has an excess of 10 years experience in representing clients in the criminal justice system.
The areas of the Criminal Justice System which we cover are:-
Being investigated by the police is a daunting process and we are here to help you every step of the way.
If you are arrested you will be taken to the police station where you will be informed of your rights which include your right to Free and Independent Legal Advice. In certain circumstances you are only entitled to legal advice on the telephone from CDS Direct. This will happen if you are not going to be interviewed for offences such as drink driving being arrested on a court warrant or for breach of bail conditions. We would advise that you accept telephone advice from CDS Direct and request that they contact us to inform us of your arrest so that we can ensure that you are legally assisted should the matter progress. In all other circumstances you will have the right to choose your legal representative and you should inform the custody sergeant that you wish for Virgo Consultancy Services Limited to represent you. We will be contacted direct and will call initially to speak with you on the telephone before then attending at the police station to advise and assist you. It is important that you do not speak with the police regarding the matter or matters for which you have been arrested until you have spoken with us and we have advised you. This is your right.
In some situations the police will contact you to arrange for you to attend at the police station to be interviewed under caution without being arrested. You are still entitled to Free and Independent legal advice and should contact our offices so that we can ensure that a legal representative attends at the police station with you.
If an investigative body other than the police (such as the Department of Works and Pensions or the RSPCA) wish to interview you under caution then you are entitled to independent legal advice but the funding will depend on your means. If you are to be interviewed under caution then please contact our office so that we can assess whether you are entitled to legal aid. If you are not entitled to legal aid we will discuss our fees with you as we can usually arrange a fixed fee.
If you have to attend court either because you have been charged with an offence or because you have been summonsed then our experienced criminal solicitors will be able to represent you. Your case will start at the magistrates’ court and depending on the offence your case will be fully heard in the magistrates’ court or it will be sent to the Crown Court.
Some offence, such as the majority of road traffic offences , common assault, and low value shoplifting can only be dealt with by the magistrates’ court. Other serious offences such as rape, robbery and murder can only be heard in the Crown Court with a judge and a jury. There are some offences such as assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), sexual touching, and higher value theft that can be heard in either court. We can advise you in relation to all levels of offences and where you case is likely to be heard. Our experienced criminal team are able to represent you in relation to proceedings both in the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court.
If you plead guilty then it is important that mitigation is put forward on your behalf by an experienced advocate to ensure that you receive the most lenient punishment for your circumstances. If you plead not guilty you case will be listed for trial. We will then fully prepare your case for trial so that we present your defence professionally and diligently.
If you are found or plead guilty then the court may sentence you immediately or may adjourn your case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by probation. Any sentence that is imposed by the court must be commensurate with the office i.e. the punishment must fit the crime. The usual types of sentences that the court may give are (please note this list is not exhaustive):
– Absolute Discharge – no punishment is imposed but the offence is placed on your record.
– Conditional Discharge – should you not reoffend during a set period of time then you will hear no more about the matter but should you reoffend during the set period then you will be sentenced not only for that new offence but also for this offence.
– Fine – the court will set the level of the fine depending on the circumstances of the offence and your finances. Should you not pay the fine then the matter could be brought before the means court or a distress warrant issued.
– Community Order – this is a punishment which takes place in the community which can include an Unpaid Work Requirement, Supervision, Activity Requirement, Curfew, Exclusion Order, Prohibited Activity Requirement and an Attendance Centre Requirement. If you breach the order then your matter may be brought back before the court and you can be punished for that breach and the court could consider revoking the order and sentencing you in some other manner.
– Suspended Sentence – a period of imprisonment which is suspended for a period of time. You would not go to prison so long as you adhere to the requirements of your suspended sentence for a set period of time. If you reoffend during the period of suspension or you breach the requirements of the order then the court must consider activating the custodial element (i.e. send you to prison) unless it would be unjust to do so.
– Custody – the court will inform you as to the length of the sentence imposed and how long you will be detained in prison before you can be released
In addition to the sentence imposed the court will consider whether to award costs to the Prosecution for bring the case, a Criminal Court Charge, a Victim Surcharge and other ancillary order such as (please note this list is not exhaustive):
– Compensation to any victim – for injury or damage caused
– Disqualification from driving – for certain motor offences
– Sex Offenders Register – for certain sexual offences Statute requires the registration of certain details with the police
– Sexual Offences Prohibition Oder – for certain sexual offences the court can restrict your activities for a set period of time or until the order is varied or removed
– Football Banning Order – where an offence is related to a football match the court can prohibit the attendance at football matches in England and Wales and prohibit the travelling to matches abroad.
– Confiscation Order – recovery of the proceeds of your crime.
Other sentences and ancillary order can be imposed for youths, which we can advise you on should that be necessary.
We can advise and assist you in relation to appeals either from the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. In the magistrates’ court there is an automatic right of appeal to the Crown Court against conviction and/or sentence. However, the appeal hearing in the Crown Court is a complete rehearing and the Judge can not only reduce any sentence imposed but can also increase the sentence and award costs should the appeal not be successful. To appeal from the Crown Court there needs to be grounds to lodge an appeal. We can fully discuss your case to advise you whether there are any grounds for an appeal and if so advise you on the chances of success. Legal Aid funding may be available for your appeal depending on your circumstances.