Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime and protecting the general public. It punishes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to people’s property, health, safety, and moral welfare.
If you are charged with a crime, you will be given a ‘charge sheet’. This charge sheet outlines the details of the crime you’re being charged with. Your first court hearing will be at the Magistrates’ Court. The Magistrates’ Court is for minor criminal defences such as minor criminal damage or speeding offences.
For more severe or complicated in the Magistrates’ Court, or you have requested a jury trial, your case will be referred to the Crown Court. If you plead not guilty in the Crown Court, the judge and 12 people (the jury) will hear your case and decide on your innocence after hearing all the evidence.
If you’re charged with a minor offence, your case could be decided without going to court (‘single justice procedure’). With single justice procedures, you must respond within 21 days.