What Happens Next?

What happens from here depends on which option you choose. If you want to discuss any of these options in any more detail or ask any questions we have not addressed on this site, please call or email us for a free consultation.

GUILTY

If you want to talk to us about instructing us to represent you at court to plead guilty, please call or email at your convenience. The initial call is free of charge. We will agree a fixed fee of between £1-1500 plus VAT for our services. The fee is payable prior to our opening your file and starting work on your case. To assist you, we are able to offer payment options by credit card, cheque or bank transfer.

We know we are not the cheapest firm around, but we strongly believe you will not find a firm more committed to provided you with the best service and value for money and in our view, our expertise in this field is unrivalled.

Once we have opened your file, we will want to spend an hour or so taking a statement from you over the phone or in person. It is not necessary from our perspective to meet you face to face to do this but meetings can be arranged upon request (this may involve an additional charge)

Once we have taken your statement, we will have been able to identify the main issues we will be raising as your "mitigation". It is likely that we will need you to assist us in gathering evidence to support your case and we will explain this in more detail at this stage.

We will also ask you to identify one or more people to provide character references. Ideally the referees should be an employer or an upstanding member of your community who has known you for some time. Examples of the ideal character referee are:

  • A religious leader (vicar/rabbi/imam etc)
  • A police officer
  • A Magistrate
  • A solicitor/barrister
  • A head teacher/school governor
  • A Member of Parliament
  • A Doctor/Consultant

Donít worry too much if you donít know anyone in this kind of role. Friends and relatives can often provide excellent and persuasive references even when they may not be in a position of authority or responsibility.

Included in your fixed fee will be the attendance at court of an experienced advocate either from the Geoffrey Miller team of in-house solicitors or from our panel of vetted and approved barristers. They will guide you through your court hearing and aswell as providing a first class job in their court advocacy, their objective will be to help keep your nerves to a minimum. Even if we donít achieve the right result for you, we will do our best to convince the court to make a decision in your favour. You can rest assured that you will have a team of people behind you pulling out all the stops to meet your objective.

It is important that you dress smartly for your court appearance. Whilst it may not seem crucial, it is a sign to the Magistrates that you respect the Court and the legal system. Many people who appear in a Magistratesí Court are ďregularsĒ there. By dressing smartly, you will be distinguishing yourself from the type of Defendant who is less concerned about how the Magistrates opt to penalise you.

You should ensure that you take your driverís licence (photo and counter-part) with you to court as they will have to be handed in. You will also be asked to complete a form setting out your income and outgoings. This can be downloaded from this link.

It is important to provide accurate information as it is an offence punishable by way of a fine if you provide false details. Our suggestion is that you should provide the same details as are held by the Inland Revenue concerning any income.

Prior to the court hearing there will be an opportunity for a conference with your representative when the evidence that has been collated is reviewed and the advocate will explain the strategy that they will be adopting in presenting the evidence.

You will have to give evidence during a fairly short hearing. The evidence will deal mainly with the reasons why the penalty to be imposed should be less than guidelines suggest. You may find that you are asked questions about your evidence by the prosecutor and/or the Magistrates. Hopefully the hearing will last no more than 15 to 30 minutes.

You will be banned when you plead guilty with immediate effect so it is important that you do not drive to court if there is no-one with you who is insured to drive your vehicle home.

If you wish to know how to apply for your licence to be reinstated after a ban please refer to the page that deals with this process.

NOT GUILTY

First Hearing

The next step after being charged at the Police Station is the plea hearing.

Depending on the strategy we choose to adopt, we may suggest that you attend the first hearing alone or may arrange to be with you. We will explain the strategy in detail when you decide to instruct us. However, if you want a lawyer present, we will ensure this is arranged.

The first hearing will be fairly short. Nothing will be decided about your innocence or guilt at this hearing. All that will happen is you will confirm whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Once a not guilty plea has been entered it is likely that the Court will ask your representative to identify the nature of your defence. You will not have to say anything and this is not a mini-hearing that is intended to involve evidence being heard. It is purely an opportunity for the parties to understand and plan on the steps that will need to be taken for your case to be trial ready.

The Court will want to know what the issues in your case are, how many witnesses will be called, whether any experts will be used by either party etc. They want to ensure that a reasonable and efficient timetable is decided for various procedural steps in your case. They also want to make sure that enough court time is allocated to hear your case.

Fees

If you want to talk to us about instructing us to defend you to trial, please call or email at your convenience. The initial call is free of charge. We will agree an estimate of fees that will range depending on the issues likely to be raised in your defence. The lowest cost of a Not Guilty case will typically be £3000 plus VAT. However, it is rare for a case to be that straightforward that we are able to keep to the lower end of the scale. The majority of defended trial cost between £5000 to £10,000 plus VAT.

You will be requested to pay an initial fee on account of costs and further bills will be sent to you as the case progresses. To assist you, we are able to offer payment options by credit card, cheque or bank transfer.

We know we are not the cheapest firm around, but we strongly believe you will not find a firm more committed to provided you with the best service and value for money and in our view, our expertise in this field is unrivalled.

Initial Stages

Once we have opened your file, we will want to spend an hour or so taking a statement from you over the phone or in person. It is not necessary from our perspective to meet you face to face to do this but meetings can be arranged upon request (this may involve an additional charge)

Once we have taken your statement we will have been able to identify the main issues we will be raising in your defence. It is likely that we will need you to assist us in gathering evidence to support your case and we will explain this in more detail at this stage.

Review of Evidence

After the first hearing the CPS will be required to disclose the evidence they have to present against you. Disclosure is an ongoing process and when we receive evidence, we will review it and advise you of any changes the evidence may cause to our views of your chances of success.

Evidence Gathering

In addition to reviewing the evidence against you, we will also set about having our team prepare the evidence we intend to raise in your defence. This can range from gathering all sorts of evidence such as medical records, medical reports, forensic reports, site plans, witness statements, photographs.

Trial

The trial itself is likely to take a full day in court. Some cases involving lots of expert and witness evidence can take longer than this. Prior to trial we will liaise with you and explain what exactly to expect about the order of the case and how the evidence will be presented by the Prosecution and by us.

Defence Costs Order

You can be successful in your case in a number of different circumstances:

  1. Case Discontinued Before Trial
  2. No Evidence offered on day of trial
  3. Acquitted following No Case To Answer Submission
  4. Acquitted following full trial

With each of these scenarios, you should be entitled to an order for your costs to be assessed (taxed) and paid out of the Courtís bank account. This should result in a reimbursement of fees to you providing that the court pays the bill that is submitted to them. You would remain responsible for any shortfall in fees in this situation. However, ordinarily we are successful in recovering the majority of the fees paid to us.

If Found Guilty Following Trial

Included in the costs of your defence would be the preparation of your ďmitigationĒ which we would present on your behalf if you were found guilty. Please see the Guilty Plea option for details.

It is likely that you will be sentenced on the day of the trial but if the verdict is given towards the end of the court day (usually 4pm) then the court may adjourn for sentencing on another day. It is likely that an interim ban would be imposed if this were to happen.

PRIORITY INVESTIGATION

If you choose to instruct us under the Priority Investigative Scheme, you must attend the first hearing at court as you will most likely be on bail. We usually suggest that if you are interested in the priority investigative option, you attend court and enter no plea but simply request that the case be adjourned whilst you seek legal advice on the content of the advance disclosure. Occasionally courts are unwilling to adjourn a case for this reason, in which case we would advise that you enter a Not Guilty plea and follow the steps below.

If you attend the first hearing without a representative from this firm, we will send a detailed letter to you with instructions on what you must do and we will also write to the court advising them of your intentions.

If you attend the first hearing but wish to have someone with you, they will liaise with the prosecution and court on your behalf.

Once you have collected the Advance Disclosure, this must be sent to our offices as a matter of priority. We will then arrange to review the papers in house and potentially also seek a barristerís opinion on the merits of any defence in order to enable you to decide whether you wish to proceed to defend the prosecution to trial.

The cost of this option will vary depending on whether or not you require a representative to attend court with you on the first hearing.

Options Following Our Advice

Not Guilty

If we identify defences that you wish to rely upon and proceed to trial, the steps to be followed are as set out in the Not Guilty section above.

Changing Plea to Guilty

If we do not recommend proceeding to trial, you may wish to change your plea or if no plea was entered at the outset, to enter a Guilty plea. We would be able to arrange further representation in court on your behalf at this stage for an additional charge of between £500 and £1000 plus VAT.

Under no circumstances will you face a more severe penalty than you face at the outset if you enter a guilty plea after receiving our advice.

We are happy to discuss these various options with you without further charge and urge you to contact us if you wish to seek any additional clarification.

How can XALC help you from here?

Please take your time to browse through this site and to look at our video interviews with previous clients if you have not done so already.

If you would like to ask us more specific questions about how we may be able to assist you with your case, we are happy to communicate with you in via the 3 options listed below. WE DO NOT CHARGE FOR THE INITIAL ENQUIRY.

  1. Call us for a "no strings" chat on freephone 08000 85 27 84
  2. Email us via our contact us page
  3. Or simply email us for a call back by leaving your own name and contact number