Frequently asked questions about Criminal Law.
I have been arrested – what do I do?
It is vital that you do not make any comments to the arresting Officer about the allegation. Do not struggle or resist the Police. It can only make matters worse. As soon as you arrive at the Police Station, tell the Custody Sergeant that you wish have Harrison Bundey contacted as soon as possible in order that we can represent you.
Do I have to pay for you to represent me at the Police Station?
No. Every single person in the country, no matter how wealthy, is entitled to free representation when being questioned about an alleged offence by a Police Officer. We will never charge you for representing you at a Police Station.
Do I have to answer police questions?
No. Anyone being questioned by the Police has a right to silence. There are risks attached to either staying silent or to giving an account to the Police. This is why it is vital that you have a Lawyer at the Police Station to represent you so that you can get the best advice possible as to how you should deal with Police questioning.
I have been charged with an offence – what do I do now?
Contact us as soon as possible to let us know what time and date you are to appear at Court and to call to see us for an initial discussion. The sooner we know the better prepared you – and we – will be.
Will my case be heard at the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court?
Some cases are deemed to be so minor that they can only ever be dealt with at the Magistrates Court. Equally, some very serious offences can only ever be dealt with at the Crown Court. There are a large number of offences which fall between these two extremes and which could be dealt with at either Court. These are called “either way” offences. The Magistrates can decide to allocate either way cases to the Crown Court but, where the Magistrates say that they are happy to deal with the case themselves, you can still choose to have your case sent to the Crown Court. We can advise you about the advantages and disadvantages of either course.
Can the Police stop and search me on the street?
Yes but, generally speaking, only where the Police have reasonable grounds for suspecting that you have, a bladed article or certain times of prohibited fireworks. The Police can also stop and search if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person might have controlled drugs on their person. There are also powers to stop and search in certain circumstances under the Terrorism Act 2000. On rare occasions, the Police can stop and search individuals without a need for reasonable suspicion if there is a general reasonable belief that incidents involving serious violence might take place or that people might be carrying dangerous instruments or offensive weapons. Searches without reasonable grounds in relation to individuals can be authorised in particular localities at certain times. It is perfectly reasonable, when you are stopped, for you to act what powers the Police are exercising. The Officers should tell you.
Can the Police search my premises?
The Police can search premises in a number of different situations. A search is lawful, for example, where a Magistrates Court has issued a warrant justifying such a search. 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. The Police can also search premises where a person has been arrested or where an arrest is made where a person has been seen to leave the premises.
How long can I be detained in custody?
The Police have initial powers to detain someone at a Police Station for up to 24 hours after the person’s arrival at the Police Station. In cases that could end up before a Crown Court where a charge is brought, a Police Superintendent can authorise detention at the Police Station for up to 36 hours and, thereafter a Magistrates Court can authorise detention to a maximum of 96 hours (i.e. 4 days). Much longer detention can be authorised where a person is detained under the Terrorism Acts.
What is police bail?
Police bail can be granted where the Police wish to conduct further enquiries or where the Police are awaiting a charging decision from the Crown Prosecution Service. A person released on police bail is obliged to return to the Police Station at the time given to them by the Police. Any failure to return for the police bail appointment can result in a conviction for failing to answer bail and can lead to a fine or to a period of imprisonment. The Police can release a person on police bail subject to bail conditions. Any failure to abide by the bail conditions can also lead to re-arrest.
Will I get police bail?
At the point at which a person is charged, the Custody Sergeant is obliged to consider 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 at the Police Station has to take into account such factors as the seriousness of the case, a person’s record in respect of any previous cases and periods on bail, the likelihood of any further offences being committed, the risk that the person being charged might fail to appear at Court to answer bail and, in certain circumstances for the person’s own protection. The Police are not allowed to release anyone on bail who has been charged with an offence of Murder. If the Police do decide to keep a person in custody after charge, the person will be able to make an application for bail before the Magistrates Court other than, as said above, in a case of murder.
Do you represent under 16’s?
Yes, we represent people of any age. It is particularly important for those aged under 18 to have representation so that the Police can be held to account and the young person dealt with speedily and fairly. Anyone aged under 18 is also supported in custody by an appropriate adult, usually a parent or other close releative.
How do I contact you?
During normal office hours Monday – Friday, we can be contacted on 0113 200 7400.
Can I contact you 24 hours a day 7 days a week?
Yes. If you have been arrested and are at a Police Station, you simply have to tell the Custody Sergeant that you want to be represented by Harrison Bundey. We will then be contacted and we will ring in as soon as possible to have an initial talk with you over the telephone. We will then attend for any police interview. If you need to contact us at night or weekends and it is an emergency you should ring our pager service on 07659106872. Please bear in mind that this is an emergency arrest helpline and should be used only for calls about people who have actually been arrested.
I have received a summons for a road traffic offence – what shall I do?
As soon as you receive a summons you should contact us immediately to give us the details of your scheduled court appearance. We can give you some initial advice over the telephone and make the necessary arrangements to represent you at Court.