Criminal law FAQs

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Purcell Parker are specialist criminal law solicitors. We have been established since 1979 and are one of Birmingham’s most successful and well known criminal law firms. We have a reputation for being a professional and friendly firm that aims to provide the best possible service for our clients.

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I have been arrested – what do I do?

It is your legal right to be offered FREE legal advice from a solicitor. As soon as you arrive at the Police Station you should ask the Custody Sergeant to contact Purcell Parker Solicitors in order that we can attend to represent you.  One of our solicitors or experienced accredited Police Station representatives is available 24 hours a day.

Do I have to pay for you to represent me at the Police Station?

No.  You are entitled to free legal advice when being questioned about an alleged offence by the Police regardless of your means.

Do I have to answer Police questions?

No.  Anyone being questioned by the Police has a right to remain silent.  However, there are sometimes risks that may be attached to remaining silent which is why it is vital that you have a lawyer at the Police Station to represent you so that you can get the best possible advice as to how you should deal with Police questioning.

How long can I be detained in custody?

The Police can detain you for up to 24 hours without being formally charged.  In cases that could end up before a Crown Court this can be extended up to 36 hours or up to 96 hours if authorised by a Magistrates Court.  Longer periods of detention can be authorised in respect of terrorism allegations.

Can the Police stop and search me on the street?

Yes but only if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that you are in possession of certain prohibited items such as a bladed article or controlled drugs.   The Police Officer should explain their reasons and your right to have a written record of the search.  In certain circumstances the Police have much wider powers such as when terrorist activities are suspected.

Can the Police search my premises?

The Police can search your premises if they have a warrant that has been issued by the Magistrates Court.  The Police can also lawfully search premises where a person has been arrested and where a Police Inspector is of the view that there are grounds to believe that items relevant to the offence under investigation, or to any other offence, might be found at the premises.

What is Police bail?

Police bail can be granted where the Police wish to conduct further enquiries or where the Police are awaiting a decision from the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether or not you should be charged.  If you are released on Police bail you are obliged to return to the Police Station at the time and date given to you.  If you fail to return as required this could result in a conviction for failing to answer bail and could lead to a fine or to a period of imprisonment.  The Police can release a person on Police bail subject to conditions and any failure to abide by these conditions can also lead to re-arrest.

Will I get bail if I am charged?

When a person is charged the Custody Sergeant has to decide whether the person should be released on bail to appear at Court at a later date or whether the person should be detained in Police custody to be brought before a Magistrates Court.  The Custody Sergeant has to take into account such factors as the seriousness of the case, a person’s record of previous convictions and the likelihood of any further offences being committed.  They should also consider the risk of the person failing to appear at Court and in certain circumstances for a person’s own protection.  The Police are not allowed to release anyone on bail who has been charged with an offence of murder.  If you are kept in custody you will be able to make an application on bail before the Magistrates Court on your first appearance except in a case of murder.

I have been charged with an offence, what do I do now?

Contact Purcell Parker Solicitors as soon as possible to let us know the time and date you are to appear at Court and to arrange an appointment to see us for an initial discussion.

Will my case be heard in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court?

All cases will start in the Magistrates Court.  Some cases can only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court and some very serious offences can only be dealt with at the Crown Court.  There are a large number of offences that can be dealt with at either Court and these are known as ‘either way’ offences.  The Magistrates will have to decide as to which Court is most appropriate to deal with the case.  However, if the Magistrates decide that they can deal with the case themselves you still have the option to have your case sent to the Crown Court.  Purcell Parker can advise you about the advantages and disadvantages of having your case dealt with at the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.

Do I have to pay for you to represent me?

Although you are entitled to free legal advice at the Police Station regardless of means, legal aid for representation at Court will depend on the seriousness of the offence and your means.  We will be able to advise you as to whether you would be eligible for legal aid.

Do you represent under 16s?

Yes we represent people of any age.  Purcell Parker have solicitors who are vastly experienced in representing youths and know how important it is to explain matters in a clear and uncomplicated manner without using legal jargon.


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0121 236 9781