Both national and international case law is littered with examples of people being falsely accused of a crime they did not commit and, sadly, some have gone on to serve lengthy prison sentences before being able to prove their innocence. Getting the best legal advice at the earliest possible point after an allegation has been made could make all the difference to the outcome of your case.
How your solicitor will help you
The moment you become aware that you are under suspicion of committing an offence you should contact a solicitor, so that they can prepare you for what is likely to happen and advise you of your rights.
Having been arrested, or invited for questioning, you will most likely be taken to a police station, which can be a scary and intimidating experience. While you are at the police station you are legally entitled to have a solicitor free of charge to provide support and advice, regardless of whether you are eligible for Legal Aid or not. Your solicitor will:
- keep you informed of what is happening and what could happen in the future with your case
- ensure your rights are upheld (eg. access to medical help or an interpreter is required and regular breaks for food and to use the toilet)
- go through the evidence and discuss the case the police are making against you and the likelihood of a charge being made
- accompany you to and advise you in any police interviews
- answer any questions you may have about your case
Choosing a solicitor to represent you
For most people previous encounters with solicitors will have been relatively few and far between, generally limited to buying a house, making a will or getting a divorce, and the solicitor they use for these services will usually be one from their local practice.
Criminal defence, however, requires a very different set of skills and, especially in cases of false allegation, it is best to appoint a solicitor with considerable experience and expertise.
If you do not already have access to a suitable solicitor you have two options:
- to use the police station duty solicitor or
- to engage the services of specialist criminal defence solicitor
Duty solicitors are fully qualified, independent from the police and will be experienced in handling cases such as yours. Neither you nor the police have any say over which solicitor will be contacted. When you request their services, the police simply contact the Duty Solicitor Call Centre and the centre then contacts the solicitor on the rota at that time. Bear in mind that yours is likely to be one of many cases they are handling and they must divide their time between all those on their caseload
By appointing an expert criminal defence solicitor of your own choosing you can be assured of having someone who will gain in-depth knowledge of and focus on your case. Choosing a solicitor from a law firm that belongs to the Criminal Litigation Scheme, such as Edward Hayes LLP, you will be assured of having a professional working for you, who meets the highest standards for criminal law set by the Law Society.
Ensuring justice is done
Edward Hayes’ false allegations team, headed by Charles Long and Maria Monan, has successfully defended numerous cases, where meticulous and thorough preparation, detailed analysis and expert investigation has been required to ensure justice. Like a duty solicitor, our legal team is available 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year and can be contacted out of hours on a dedicated emergency number.