What Happens in the Magistrates’ Court?

Every defendant in a criminal case will make at least their first appearance in a Magistrates’ Court; the vast majority of cases will also end there.

Magistrates’ courts can deal with:

  • So-called ‘summary’ offences (e.g. lower level driving matters, assaults, disorderly behaviour), and
  • ‘Either way’ offences (such as burglary, theft and even some drugs offences);

Sometimes, magistrates might feel that an either way offence is too serious for them to deal with, and it will be sent to the Crown Court. In addition, some cases must be dealt with at the Crown Court, which means that the hearing in the Magistrates’ court will be very short and will simply result in the case being transferred.

Magistrates can give a range of sentences. Their powers allow them to combine more than one of the following elements:-

  • In terms of custody, they can sentence a defendant to six months in prison (or 12 months in total for more than one offence) and hand down a suspended sentence;
  • A fine (the amount will depend upon the offence);
  • A community sentence;
  • There may be other penalties which the law allows the Magistrates to take. Again, these will depend upon the offence but can include measures such as driving disqualifications.

Our expert team represent clients in Magistrates’ courts across Yorkshire and even further afield. Their work includes trials, bail applications, ‘Special Reasons’ arguments (for applicable motoring offences) and covers all offences, including TV Licensing and Council Tax cases.

Contact Harrison Bundey

Telephone: 0113 200 7400
Emergency 24 hour arrest helpline: 0113 399 6181
E-mail: mail@harrisonbundey.co.uk