The Main Steps in a Defence Case

Updated on Tuesday 02nd August 2016

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The main steps in a defence case in the UK are the ones enumerated below. Our criminal lawyers in London provide accurate guidance and legal assistance in defence cases

1.    Investigation

The first stage of the investigation can be police arrest. When arrested, an individual is entitled to free legal advice over the phone or in person. Most of the times, the police arrest lasts up to 24 hours. The defendant is likely to be interviewed on tape while held in arrest. The person in charge is entitled to decide whether to give his or her version of the story at this point or exercise the right to silence.

If charged with a crime at the end of the arrest period, the defendant will be given a first date to appear in the Magistrate’s Court. The person in charge can be released on bail or presented in front of a court the following morning directly from the police arrest.

2.    Plea

The second main step in a defence case is the plea. Most of the times, the defendant will be asked by the Court whether he or she plans to plead guilty or not guilty during the first hearing. It could be recommended or not to indicate a plea immediately. A criminal lawyer in London can advise on the right time to indicate the plea.

3.    Trial

During the trial, any defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and he or she does not have to prove his or her innocence. It is the prosecution’s job to prove that the defendant is guilty, bringing evidence to conclude it in front of the jury or the Magistrates, beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, if the defence solicitors in London raise a doubt on the evidence against the person in question, he or she will be found innocent.

4.    Sentencing

Another main step of a defence case is sentencing. If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty, he or she will be sentenced. More severe cases are sentenced at the Crown Court, while others could be sentenced by the Magistrates. 

The types of sentences a defendant could receive can be:

•    a "suspended” prison sentence, meaning the defendant only goes to prison if he or she does not respect the conditions of the sentence;
•    a “custodial” or prison sentence;
•    a “community order”, which could consist of meetings with probation, unwaged work or taking part in an organized program;
•    a fine or another form of financial penalty;
•    a conditional or absolute discharge, which is only applied in less severe cases;
•    a restraining order, which stops him/her from meeting a certain person;
•    points on the driving license or banning from driving;
•    an anti-social behavior order, a football ban order, or another type of order stopping the defendant from doing certain things or going to certain locations;
•    other types of orders.

This is a short guide to the main steps in a common defence case. Please get in touch with our defence solicitors in London for customized, confidential legal advice or if you need to know more information on the subject.


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