A complete range of criminal law support
As a full-service department, our criminal defence solicitors in Manchester advise on all aspects of investigations and the criminal justice system. We have seen it all, and so you can rest assured that you are in capable hands.
We have worked with clients across the whole spectrum, and there is no allegation too big or too small for us to help you through. Our team’s experience spans from minor speeding and motoring offences to the most serious of allegations, including assault, robbery, fraud, money laundering, extradition, drug-related offences, sexual offences, GBH, murder and manslaughter.
Whether you have been invited to a voluntary police interview, are facing arrest, or are unsure whether to plead guilty to an allegation, you can trust our team to weigh up all options and fight for the best possible outcome for you.
Peace of mind when you need it most
We pride ourselves on providing exceptional service for every client we represent and easing the burden of stress wherever possible. Our solicitors are more than happy to arrange an initial consultation at our offices across Greater Manchester, or from another location that suits you. We also offer a call-out service for those detained in police custody.
Please note that we do not offer our services through legal aid. There are several reasons, which are explained in our FAQs below.
Contact our specialists
If you’re facing police investigation or criminal charges then it’s essential to seek the advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. By acting early, we can build the strongest possible case in your favour.
Our criminal defence team comes highly recommended by our clients. Check out what they have to say on Review Solicitors. Rachel Fletcher, who heads up the team, is brilliant at getting results for her clients, all while being approachable, understanding, and going above and beyond.
You can contact our team today on 0161 969 3131, or simply fill in our online contact form to arrange an initial consultation.
What does it mean to be charged with a crime?
If you have been charged with a crime or criminal offence, it means you have been formally accused and you will be given a date to appear before the Magistrates’ Court.
The police will decide if you can be released on bail until the court hearing. Otherwise, you will be kept in police custody until you are taken to court which is normally the next working day.
What are the consequences of being charged with a criminal offence?
The consequences of being charged with a criminal offence will depend on the nature of the charge. There are three different categories of criminal cases, dealt with in different ways:
- Summary only offence – tried at the Magistrates’ Court
- Either way offence – tried at Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court, depending on the severity
- Indictable only offence – tried at Crown Court
What is a summary only offence?
A summary only offence will be tried in the Magistrates’ Court, either by Lay Magistrates or a District Judge. If the case is associated with a more serious charge, then it may be sent to the Crown Court with the related offence.
A summary only offence normally carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment.
What is an offence triable either way?
An either way offence is an offence triable at either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. These offences can vary in terms of seriousness, and so the type of court will be determined depending on the severity of the case.
If you are charged with an offence triable either way, you will first appear before the Magistrates’ Court. You will indicate your plea and the Magistrates will then decide whether it will stay at the Magistrates’ Court or be allocated to the Crown Court for more severe sentencing powers.
The person charged with the either way offence will be given the option of electing for the case to proceed at the Crown Court with a jury.
You will need legal advice to help you decide on which court should hear your case, which we can help with.
What are some examples of either way offences?
The types of cases which can be classed as either way offences include, but are not limited to:
- Possession of drugs
What are indictable offences?
Indictable offences are the most serious cases which can only be dealt with by the Crown Court.
If a ‘not guilty’ plea is entered, you will be tried and the jury will decide on your innocence or guilt.
The judge will then decide on an appropriate sentence if you are found guilty. This decision will be influenced by a range of factors; there is no ‘one size fits all’.
What are examples of indictable only offences?
The most serious of cases are classed in the indictable only category and will be sentenced by the Crown Court. Indictable only offences include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Perverting the course of justice
What is legal aid and am I entitled to it?
Legal aid is a financial provision that is publicly funded. It is available for people who meet specific criteria and are unable to afford legal representation.
The process of how to get legal aid is becoming ever stricter, especially for cases in the Magistrates Courts where eligibility is subject to merit and a financial eligibility test. Means testing has removed legal aid from many people altogether in the Magistrates’ Courts leaving them to either represent themselves or pay privately for a solicitor.
Legal aid in the Crown Court is means-tested. If you do qualify for legal aid you may be required to pay a financial contribution which can be a significant amount. In those circumstances paying privately may be just as cost-effective. The Legal Aid Agency will prioritise Legal Aid contributions above other household costs or outstanding debts, which can lead to hardship applications with few succeeding.
Should I apply for legal aid or fund my case privately?
Of course, we understand that fees can vary massively depending on the type of criminal case in question.
When you consult a criminal defence solicitor, you will be given an estimate of the total case costs. From here, you can decide whether to opt for legal aid if eligible or consider your options to raise funds to cover the cost.
We have chosen not to offer our services through legal aid funding so that we can provide our clients with the very best service and access to the best experts to build a robust defence.
What happens to fees if I am found ‘not guilty’?
In the Magistrates Court, if you instruct a solicitor privately and win the case then you may be entitled to a defendants costs order. Such an order will allow you to recover your legal fees but these will be capped at legal aid rates.
In the Crown Court, if you instruct a solicitor privately and win the case then you may be entitled to a defendants costs order but only if you have applied for legal aid and been refused. Again, such an order will allow you to recover your legal fees but these will be capped at legal aid rates.