Even though the police may have detained you or are looking into your case for a crime, a charge does not automatically follow. In fact, the charges can be withdrawn before the court date if you have a skilled criminal defence attorney on your side. The issue is that most people wait until it is too late to get a lawyer. This article covers the process by which the police decide whether to file criminal charges and how a criminal defence attorney may persuade the police to withdraw charges, avoiding the need to appear in court.
How do the police charge someone with a criminal offence?
The police will either arrest you or ask you to come to the police station voluntarily if you are suspected of committing a crime or are found committing one.
A custody officer will take a DNA sample and your fingerprints when you are arrested. In normal circumstances, you can only be detained without being charged for a maximum of 24 hours; but, if a successful application is made to the Magistrates’ Court, this can be extended to a maximum of 96 hours.
In most cases, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must be consulted before the police decide to charge you. Whether or not the case is presented to the court will be decided by the CPS.
According to the Code for Crown Prosecutors, each charge decision is based on the same two-stage test:
- Does the evidence present a solid chance of conviction? and;
- Is bringing charges in the best interests of the public?
If I am arrested, do I have the right to contact a solicitor?
As soon as you are arrested, you have the right to legal counsel. Your counsel will be given “disclosure,” a document explaining the offence under investigation by the police, when they arrive at the police station. There is frequently little information accessible. However, our attorneys have the knowledge to question the investigating officer effectively and attempt to learn as much information as possible. Always, our goal is to put you in the best possible situation.
You will be given the chance to meet privately with your attorney before the police interrogation. Following a discussion of the police disclosure, specific instructions from you regarding the situation are obtained. Importantly, you will receive guidance on how to conduct yourself throughout the interview.
If you remember nothing else from this essay, make sure it’s that you always demand to be in the presence of a skilled criminal defence attorney before you say or agree to anything. This is a legal privilege for you and in no way implies guilt. A skilled attorney can stop charges from being brought at this point or, if that is not possible, gather proof to have them dropped before the court date.
What occurs at a voluntarily conducted police investigation?
It is best for you to go if you are asked to take part in a voluntary police interview because failing to do so could result in an arrest so that a formal police interview can be conducted.
At a police station, a voluntary police interview will take place. You will be informed before the interview:
- The names of the present officers
- The interview conversation is being taped.
- The purpose of the interview, including the specific crime under investigation
- You are always free to end the interview.
- You don’t have to speak.
- Everything you say could be used against you in a legal proceeding
- You are entitled to legal representation.
Anything that you say during the interview could be used against you in court if you aren’t formally warned.
The police may ask during the interview:
- What you were doing on a specific day and at a specific time.
- If you know this specific individual or person.
- Whether you were present when a specific event happened
A 15-minute break is allowed if the interview lasts longer than two hours.
Never go to a voluntary police interview without your solicitor.
What conditions could result in the police dropping the criminal charges?
Our criminal defence solicitors will review the details of your arrest or the course of the police investigation to determine whether:
- The police explained your right to have a lawyer present and/or why you were detained in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984’s requirements.
- Whether there is enough evidence to accuse you of a crime.
- Whether the offence is minor or this is your first run-in with the law.
The justification for dropping criminal charges or, in the instance of a minor or first-time violation, recommending a caution rather than filing charges is what our solicitors are searching for. Any possibility to get the police to drop their allegations against you will be pursued by our legal team.
Can the police file charges if the complainant is uncooperative in cases involving crimes like assault or domestic violence?
If the complainant declines to give a statement or does not appear in court, it is typically difficult to successfully prosecute an offence. However, there are times when the prosecution can move through with a case using 999 call or eye witness testimony as supporting evidence. The prosecution may also ask for the admission of the complainant’s statements to the police as “hearsay” in evidence by filing an application with the court. It is essential that you get the advice and representation of a qualified criminal defence solicitor, even if the complainant decides not to pursue a prosecution.
How a criminal defence solicitor can attempt to persuade the police to drop charges in order to prevent a prosecution
Assessing the reliability of the evidence is one of a criminal defence attorney’s responsibilities. Your legal team can argue to the police that the case shouldn’t move forward because there is insufficient evidence if the evidence is inadequate.
After the interview, you can be granted police bail and sent from the police station, meaning your release is subject to the terms of your bond. As an alternative, you can be “released under investigation,” which means the police are still looking into your case but there are no bail restrictions in place. Your attorney may submit written requests for the case to be dropped to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service after you are released from police custody but before any decision regarding charges is made. In order to create official written submissions to send to the police and Crown Prosecution Service, this would include gathering specific instructions from your account and examining the material. To support the arguments, your attorney can also get CCTV, statements from any defence witnesses, and other pertinent data. This would need to be funded privately because there is no government funding available.
How will I find out whether my criminal charges were dropped?
As soon as your lawyer learns that the charges against you have been dismissed, they will let you know. You will also be informed whether the charges can be brought up again in the future.
Advice for the future
Due to their involvement in numerous high-profile cases, our criminal defence solicitors are among the most skilled and well-known in the nation. In addition to being able to defend you in court, our solicitors also possess the necessary legal knowledge and skill to review the police evidence and convince the CPS or officers to drop or abandon charges before the case reaches the court. Our criminal law solicitors can assist if you have been detained or are the subject of a police investigation. Please contact us using the information on this page. You can also reach us by phone at 0141 881 8795 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.