Criminal Defence Solicitors
Being investigated or charged by the police for a criminal offence is a daunting prospect for anyone – regardless of the circumstances. Our criminal defence solicitors are here to fight your corner and to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
As one of the longest-serving law firms in the North West of England, Slater Heelis has supported the legal needs of clients around Greater Manchester and Cheshire for over 240 years.
During that time we’ve successfully represented thousands of defendants, always offering straightforward legal advice at every turn. Many of our clients have no prior experience in dealing with the police or court proceedings and are therefore looking to rely on the support of a senior lawyer. That makes Slater Heelis a natural choice for those who do not wish to rely on legal aid.
The personal service and technical expertise offered by our Criminal Defence solicitors is second to none. We’re here to listen to your situation and weigh up every available option before moving forward on your best course of action. Unlike other firms, you can rest assured that your case will always be handled by an experienced criminal defence lawyer, never a junior paralegal.
As a full-service department, we advise on all aspects relating to private crime and criminal defence law, including: assault, robbery, fraud, motoring offences, money laundering, extradition, drug-related offences, sexual offences, GBH, murder and manslaughter.
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 in Manchester, Sale or from another location that suits you. We also offer a call-out service for those detained in police custody.
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, this allows us to build the strongest possible case in your favour.
Head of our Criminal Defence solicitors, Rachel Fletcher draws on over 12 years’ experience representing private clients across an extensive range of criminal and regulatory matters. Her expertise in this area is a key reason why clients choose Slater Heelis to represent them when facing criminal charges.
If you need to speak to an expert business crime and regulation solicitor, contact our team today on 0161 969 3131 or simply fill in our online contact form to arrange an initial consultation.
What our clients say about us…
“Rachel handled my case personally from beginning to end, always making herself available both by phone and email. It was really refreshing that I didn’t need to speak to anyone else because she handled everything. Rachel was courteous, professional and realistic with her advice making sure that I was kept abreast of all possible outcomes. She had different strategies that came with recommendations and the one she recommended was a winner. I’m a very happy client.”
Mr. DM, Criminal Defence Client
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 are 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. candi for further advice regarding these types of offence.
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. Contact our criminal defence experts for help in your matter.
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’.
Speak to our experienced criminal defence solicitors for legal advice.
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
If you require expert legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Criminal Defence team.
What is legal aid and am I entitled?
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 a merits 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 and 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.
Meet your Criminal Defence solicitors
Rachel is a Criminal Defence Solicitor with 12 years post qualification experience. Rachel has particular expertise in representing private clients in criminal matters, including advising and assisting at the Police Station, Magistrates Court and the Crown Court.
members on 0161 969 3131