A crime is any behaviour that is threatening, harmful or otherwise endangering to property, health, safety or the moral welfare of people. Solicitors who specialise in this area are criminal litigators.

Low level crimes are dealt with in a magistrates’ court and you have no right to a jury. These include vandalism, criminal damage, low-level violent offences and being drunk and disorderly.

More serious crimes are dealt with by the crown court, such as treason, murder, rape, kidnapping, money laundering and burglary, grievous bodily harm (GBH) and robbery. Depending on the severity of the crime these are tried by a high court, presiding or circuit judge, or a recorder.

Criminal proceedings can be complex and lengthy, with far-reaching and serious consequences. We know that facing criminal prosecution can be an extremely difficult experience and we are committed to helping you in the most constructive, supportive way possible, every step of the way.

Choosing Britton and Time to represent you means choosing the best, at a time when nothing else will do

  OUR CRIMINAL LAW SPECIALISMS

 

Driving Offences

 

Violent Offences

 

Money Laundering

What is Criminal Litigation?

Criminal litigation is the term applied when an illegal act is committed and when the state seeks to bring a case against an individual under criminal law. Criminal litigation differs from civil litigation in that it deals with matters of the law, whereas civil litigation deals with matters between individuals.

Criminal law relates to offences that negatively affect society as a whole, rather than just one person. This area of UK law outlines what Acts of Parliament deem to be acceptable (and unacceptable) conduct. There are also offences that can be committed by a British citizen abroad, which are then prosecuted under British law in England and Wales.

If a person breaches criminal law, they are subject to criminal prosecution by the state. Criminal proceedings will usually be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the name of the Crown, and will be heard in a Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. Private Prosecutions are also pursued by parties who have a specific interest in the case.

Whatever your situation, get in touch today for a professional, cost-effective way forward.

We offer unbiased, professional advice unique to your situation to achieve the best outcome

Types of Criminal Litigation

Like civil litigation, there are many forms of criminal litigation and much like there are many ways the law can be breached. From simple breaches such as speeding or running a red light to much more serious crimes like money laundering, all criminal litigation suits are brought by the state against an individual. 

Criminal Litigation Case Types

Fraud and money laundering

Violent offences (such as murder, assault, sexual assault and battery)

Burglary, theft, arson and criminal damage

Drug dealing and possession

Business and financial crime

Investigations

International crime and extradition

Bail bond hearings, plea bargains, trials, revocation hearings (parole or probation), appeals and post-conviction remedies

We are also available for last minute police representation and advice

In these situations, out of hours fees may apply as per our terms of engagement.

Potential Outcomes

‘Innocent until proven guilty’ as the saying goes, and in no area of law is this more true than in criminal litigation. Criminal trials require the highest standard of proof, which means the prosecutor must prove all elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt in order for the defendant to be convicted, which is why having a criminal litigation solicitor can be extremely helpful.

It’s important to also consider the indirect outcomes that may arise from having a criminal conviction, such as motor insurance price rises, or if your job requires you to have a clean driving licence or criminal record. It is vital to advise your criminal litigation solicitor if you think there will be any negative consequences of a conviction on other areas of your life as they may be able to mitigate any potential sentence, but this is only applicable in certain situations.

If proven guilty, the judge or presiding body will consult the relevant sentencing guidelines and legislation and decide upon a suitable conviction. Sentences can vary significantly, ranging from unlimited fines to prison sentences or community orders.

Sentences for the more common criminal cases include:

Burden of Proof

You may have heard this said closely accompanied by the phrase ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ on the news or from a solicitor, but what does it actually mean?

In cases where the law has been broken, the prosecutor – normally the state – must prove that the defendant has committed a crime beyond reasonable doubt, meaning the evidence presented must be strong enough to persuade the judge to the extent they are absolutely sure the defendant is guilty.

This is normally referred to as the criminal standard, which is different to the civil standard used in civil litigation where the burden of proof is only to prove something on ‘the balance of probabilities’, i.e. more likely than not.

Possession or Dealing of Drugs and Psychoactive Substances

ClassDrugPossessionSupply and production
ACrack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth)Up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or bothUp to life in prison, an unlimited fine or both
BAmphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (for example mephedrone, methoxetamine)Up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or bothUp to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both
CAnabolic steroids, benzodiazepines (diazepam), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines (BZP), khatUp to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both (except anabolic steroids – it’s not an offence to possess them for personal use)Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both
Temporary class drugsSome methylphenidate substances (ethylphenidate, 3,4-dichloromethylphenidate (3,4-DCMP), methylnaphthidate (HDMP-28), isopropylphenidate (IPP or IPPD), 4-methylmethylphenidate, ethylnaphthidate, propylphenidate) and their simple derivativesNone, but police can take away a suspected temporary class drugUp to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

 

Psychoactive substancesPossessionSupply and production
Things that cause hallucinations, drowsiness or changes in alertness, perception of time and space, mood or empathy with othersNone, unless you’re in prisonUp to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Source: www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing

Driving Offences

OffenceMaximum penaltyPenalty points
Causing death by dangerous driving14 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification (minimum 2 years)3 to 11 (if exceptionally not disqualified)
Dangerous driving2 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification3 to 11 (if exceptionally not disqualified)
Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs14 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification (minimum 2 years)3 to 11 (if exceptionally not disqualified)
Careless and inconsiderate drivingUnlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification3 to 9
Driving while unfit through drink or drugs or with excess alcohol: or failing to provide a specimen for analysis6 months’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification3 to 11 (if exceptionally not disqualified)
Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident6 months’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification5 to 10
Driving while disqualified6 months’ imprisonment (12 months in Scotland) / Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification6
Driving after refusal or revocation of licence on medical grounds6 months’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification3 to 6
Driving without insuranceUnlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification6 to 8
Using a vehicle in a dangerous conditionLGV or PCV unlimited, other vehicles £2,500/ Obligatory disqualification if offence committed within 3 years of a previous conviction for a similar offence – 6 months min. Otherwise discretionary3 in each case
Failure to have proper control of vehicle or full view of the road and traffic ahead£1,000 fine (£2,500 for PCV or goods vehicle) / Discretionary disqualification3
Using a hand-held mobile phone when driving£1,000 fine (£2,500 for PCV or goods vehicle) / Discretionary disqualification6
Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence£1,000 fine / Discretionary disqualification3 to 6
Speeding£1,000 fine (£2,500 for motorway offences) / Discretionary disqualification3 to 6, or 3 (fixed penalty)
Traffic light offences£1,000 fine / Discretionary disqualification3
No MOT certificate£1,000 fine
Seat belt offences£500 fine
Dangerous cycling£2,500 fine
Careless cycling£1,000 fine
Cycling on pavement£500 fine
Failing to identify driver of vehicle£1,000 fine / Discretionary disqualification

Source: www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/annex-5-penalties

Money Laundering

Highly variable depending on the degree of harm caused and the culpability of the individual:

Culpability
HarmABC
Category 1

£10 million or more

Starting point based on £30 million

Starting point
10 years’ custody
Starting point
7 years’ custody
Starting point
4 years’ custody
Category range
8 – 13 years’ custody
Category range
6 – 10 years’ custody
Category range
3 – 6 years’ custody
Category 2

£2 million–£10 million

Starting point based on £5 million

Starting point
8 years’ custody
Starting point
6 years’ custody
Starting point
3 years 6 months’ custody
Category range
6 – 9 years’ custody
Category range
3 years 6 months’ – 7 years’ custody
Category range
2 – 5 years’ custody
Category 3

£500,000–£2 million

Starting point based on £1 million

Starting point
7 years’ custody
Starting point
5 years’ custody
Starting point
3 years’ custody
Category range
5 – 8 years’ custody
Category range
3 – 6 years’ custody
Category range
18 months’ – 4 years’ custody
Category 4

£100,000–£500,000

Starting point based on £300,000

Starting point
5 years’ custody
Starting point
3 years’ custody
Starting point
18 months’ custody
Category range
3 – 6 years’ custody
Category range
18 months’ – 4 years’ custody
Category range
26 weeks’ – 3 years’ custody
Category 5

 

£10,000–£100,000

Starting point based on £50,000

Starting point
3 years’ custody
Starting point
18 months’ custody
Starting point
26 weeks’ custody
Category range
18 months’ – 4 years’ custody
Category range
26 weeks’ – 3 years’ custody
Category range
Medium level community order – 1 year’s custody
Category 6

Less than £10,000

Starting point based on £5,000

Starting point
1 year’s custody
Starting point
High level community order
Starting point
Low level community order
Category range
26 weeks’ – 2 years’ custody
Category range
Low level community order – 1 year’s custody
Category range
Band B fine – Medium level community order

Source: www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/money-laundering/

The Role of Criminal Litigation Solicitors

Criminal litigation solicitors work with individuals accused of a crime and represent their cases in a criminal court. Much of a criminal litigation solicitor’s time is spent gathering facts, analysing information, filing the necessary legal paperwork relating to the case and attending hearings. A good criminal litigation solicitor, such as those at Britton and Time Solicitors, will provide strategic, sensible and practical criminal law advice, as well as keep potentially high profile cases out of the public eye.

Criminal litigation solicitors can assist clients throughout the criminal justice process, including pre-trial. Some clients choose to retain a solicitor during the investigation period of a crime too, before they are even charged. This often happens if someone is a suspect and has reason to believe that he or she will soon be charged. In these instances, a criminal litigation solicitor can help instruct the individual while they are being questioned by authorities, to ensure the suspect doesn’t divulge any incriminating information.

A criminal litigation solicitor can also help convince a court to drop charges against you based on insufficient evidence or improper procedure. For example, in many instances a police officer must have probable cause before making an arrest.

Probable cause means a compelling reason to believe that you may have committed a crime. Criminal litigation solicitors have a nuanced understanding of probable cause as it is defined within your jurisdiction and may be able to present a challenge to the officer’s reasoning in court.

If your solicitor can show that the officer may not have had probable cause to investigate the alleged crime scene and make an arrest, charges against you may even be dropped before the trial begins.

In addition, when you are arrested for a crime, you may be detained pending trial. But you can usually be released as long as you provide a certain amount of bail money. Bail is intended to ensure you show up for trial. A criminal litigation solicitor can persuade the court to reduce your bail or waive it altogether.

If you know you will be found guilty of committing a crime, you may want to try to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution. This is a negotiated agreement to reduce charges to a lesser crime or reduce sentencing.

Your solicitor can represent you during plea negotiations to increase your chances of receiving a reduced punishment. For example, if you are a minor and are accused of assault, some jurisdictions may wish to charge you as an adult. However, with the use of a solicitor, you may be able to negotiate a deal so you instead are charged with juvenile assault.

Your solicitor can also assist you during the criminal trial. They will analyse your case, identifying its strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can then collaborate and come up with the best possible strategy.

Your solicitor can also discuss the pros and cons of pleading guilty, especially when a plea bargain may be on the table.

The standard steps of a criminal trial, (from jury selection to providing opening statements to questioning witnesses) will be explained to you by your criminal litigation solicitor. If the result does not go in your favour, your solicitor will then assist you with the appeals process.

Why Choose Britton and Time Solicitors for Your Criminal Litigation Case?

Our criminal litigation solicitors are at once discerning and supportive and will defend or pursue your case with the utmost ferocity.

By choosing Britton and Time Solicitors you can be assured you will be represented by an experienced solicitor who genuinely cares about the outcome of your case. Following an initial meeting, during which we will listen to and annotate everything you have to say, an appropriate strategy will be formulated for your case.

You will be kept informed and will be involved in every stage of proceedings, including (but not limited to) correspondence, evidence and the selection of counsel.

Britton and Time Solicitors is driven by the need to succeed, because we are very aware of the possible implications of the wrong result. Quite apart from the direct punishment, there are reputations at stake – both yours and ours – we fully appreciate the right outcome is of the greatest importance.

Why Would Someone Need a Criminal Litigation Solicitor?

In terms of who would need a criminal litigation solicitor, this has no tangible answer in as much as anyone could one day find themselves in need of one, regardless of profession, background, wealth or standing. Essentially anyone facing, or needing to defend against a criminal case needs a criminal litigation solicitor.

Criminal law is a complex body of legislation. The average person, regardless of their standing or intelligence will not have an understanding of criminal law, the court system or the criminal justice process. Yet ignorance or failing to understand criminal law is rarely an adequate defence.

Although every individual has the right to represent himself or herself during criminal trial proceedings, the consequences of having poor legal representation can be far-reaching and severe. Being found guilty of lesser crimes might only result in a fine or a brief prison sentence, but more serious crimes can lead to long prison terms. This is why it is imperative to have someone knowledgeable about the law to argue on your behalf.

Many rules about criminal proceedings are buried within regulations and laws, and in some cases even prior court decisions. For example, if you were to represent yourself, you may never know if the search that the police conducted of your home was lawful or not, without understanding the many nuances and intricacies surrounding the law pertaining to such matters.

Furthermore, because no one criminal case is exactly like another, criminal litigation solicitors are trained to pick through each case And find out what makes them unique. In addition, the best criminal litigation solicitors are able to spot certain arguments and factors that could mitigate or even negate any potential crime. When all is said and done, hiring a solicitor to represent you in your criminal trial is a necessity.

 

How can Britton & Time Solicitors Help Someone Who Needs a Criminal Litigation Law Firm?

Our solicitors are all proud of their innate ability to investigate, negotiate, provide a technical legal defence and win at trial.

The start of the case is all about the gathering of information. It’s our job to ascertain what actually happened and how to prove it. This could include gaps in the investigation, internet and phone records, video evidence and witnesses. The latter might contradict current witnesses or even the police. It is these pieces of evidence that often mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Beyond this strong negotiation is key. Good criminal litigation solicitors such as those at Britton and Time Solicitors know everything there is to know about their client – the good and the bad. It is our job to convey the good, whilst remaining transparent and honest at every juncture.

If you need to win your case, you need the very best criminal litigation law firm. Call Britton and Time Solicitors today to ensure the right result.

  OUR CRIMINAL LAW SPECIALISMS

 

Driving Offences

 

Violent Offences

 

Money Laundering

Whatever your situation, get in touch today for a professional, cost-effective way forward.

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