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The Annual Crime Statistics 2010

On 21st October 2010, the Government releases the annual crime statistics for court proceedings in England and Wales. (http://www.justice.gov.uk/criminalannual.htm)

The statistics are spread across 11 documents and contains a lot of data which needs to be reviewed in details to see what improvements, if any, have been made since last year.

Criminal Statistics 2009 (PDF 0.52mb 126 pages) ·

Chapter 1: Summary (Excel 0.07mb 3 pages) ·

Chapter 2: Penalty notices for disorder (Excel 0.09mb 5 pages) ·

Chapter 3: Cautions (Excel 0.18mb 9 pages) ·

Chapter 4: Remands (Excel 0.21mb 13 pages) ·

Chapter 5: Court proceedings (Excel 0.25mb 16 pages) ·

Chapter 6: Offenders found guilty (Excel 0.09mb 5 pages) ·

Chapter 7: Offences brought to justice (Excel 0.09mb 5 pages) ·

Chapter 8: Motoring offences dealt with by the courts (Excel 0.17mb 11 pages) ·

Annex A: Additional tables (Excel 0.30mb 14 pages) ·

Appendix 5: Offence classifications (Excel 0.19mb 1 pages)

This publication provides information about the criminal justice system (CJS) in England and Wales – focusing on progress through the system from police detection of the crime through to out of court disposals and court proceedings.

This volume therefore only relates to crimes that are recorded by the police and it is known that this represents only a fraction of all crime that is committed. For example, the British Crime Survey (BCS) which measures crimes experienced by the population resident in households, estimates substantially higher levels of offences than are recorded by the police. However, the BCS does not cover all offences, drug offences or fraud for example. Victims of an offence may not report it to the police in which case the CJS cannot pursue the case.

Once an offence is reported to the police it will either be detected (that is the person or persons responsible are identified) or undetected. If detected the police can then, depending on the severity and circumstances of the crime, choose to: take no further action; issue a warning or a caution or a Penalty Notice for Disorder if there is an admission of guilt; or refer a case to the courts.

Our analysis shows that overall 20% of people who are brought to court are not found guilty. The statistics are laid out in a table below.

The Statistics show:

Annual Crime Statistics 2010

72% of crimes reported are not detected. Only 15.35% of reported crime is pursued through the courts (55% of all crime cases detected).

18% of people appearing in the Magstrates Court and 28% of people appearing in the Crown Court (overall 20% or 1 in 5 people charged) is not found guilty.

A good criminal lawyer on your side is imperative to maximise your chances of a not guilty verdict. Do not believe the old adage “Where there’s smoke there’s fire!” the system is imperfect and you need expert legal assistance to navigate you way through it.

If you are found guilty of the offence, strong representation will assist in mitigating in your favour with a view to reducing your sentence.

Maximum Sentences for Criminal Offences

Do you know what the maximum sentences are for any crimes? This table may assist your research. Remember this is the MAXIMUM penalty available. Most people will get a lighter sentence than this. This merely tells you what the maximum sentence a magistrate or judge can impose, not what the LIKELY sentence will be for you. There is no crystal ball, but an experienced solicitor will give you a good estimate once he has all the facts of your case.

You will note that some offences have possible sentences from both Magistrate and Crown Court. E.g. Affray. That means that either court can sentence you. Your solicitor will discuss which court is tactically the best one for you to be tried in, given the details of you case. Whilst the sentences in the Magistrates court are lower, the judge in The Crown Court may have extra discretionary powers available to him. You need to discuss these tactics with your solicitor.

Click here to download a pdf file of the Maximum Sentences for Criminal Offences.

Maximum Sentences for Traffic Offences

Most of us know that a speeding ticket attracts 3 points and that 12 points is the maximum you can have without being disquallified under the “totting” rules. (A “Totter” being someone who has reached 12 points on their license.) Do you know what the maximum sentences are for other traffic offences? This table may assist your research. Remember this is the MAXIMUM penalty available. According to government statistics, those who are represented by a solicitor  and facing a driving disqualification do not necessarily receive one. (40%) Caution:- This table tells you what the maximum sentence a magistrate or judge can impose, not what the LIKELY sentence will be for you. There is no crystal ball, but an experienced solicitor will give you a good estimate once he has all the facts of your case.       

You will note that most offences are dealt with in The Magistrate Court. Only serious charges are sent to The Crown Court. E.g. Causing death.

Click here to download the Maximum Sentences for Traffic Offences .pdf

Legal Aid – Criminal Cases – Do you qualify?

Police Station Representation

There is a national scheme in place throughout England and Wales that ensures all persons arrested for an offence are entitled to free legal advice at the police station.

You can choose your own criminal solicitor, or if you do not know one, you can ask to be represented by the Duty Solicitor. A Duty Solicitor is a criminal law solicitor that has been specifically trained for this task. There is a national rota scheme and the duty solicitors cover their local police station on a regular basis.

The national scheme makes a single payment to cover a person’s representation at the police station, which is a fixed fee and does not change whether there is one visit or ten visits before the case is either dropped or charged. For this reason, a change of solicitor after arrest and before charge is awkward as the first solicitor will charge the government for the representation and the second solicitor will have to either charge you privately or work without payment.

Magistrates Court

Following arrest and interview, if the police decide to progress further, they will charge the person with the crime committed. At this point the police station representation ends and matters move to the Magistrates Court. Here a decision is made about the complexity of the case and whether it can be tried in the Magistrates Court, or whether it needs to proceed higher and be tried in the Crown Court.

Legal Aid Test
Immediately upon charge, application for legal aid should be made, to ensure you have representation at the earliest point.

Legal Aid is means tested. You will not have to pay if you are below 18, or on specific benefits. (income support, income based job seekers allowance, guaranteed state pension credit, income related employment and support allowance).

If you are in work, you need to be assessed under the “in” or “out” test.

If a clients annual household income, minus living costs and family circumstances is £12,475 or less: pass initial means test and get legal aid.

If a clients annual household income, minus living costs and family circumstances is £22,325 or more: fail initial means test and do not get legal aid.

If a clients annual household income, minus living costs and family circumstances is between £12,475 and £22,324: disposable income test applies.

If annual disposable income is £3,398 or less: pass means test and get legal aid.

If annual disposable income is more than £3,398: fail means test and do not get legal aid.

Evidence of income is required for all employed and self-employed clients. Legal Aid in the Magistrates Court will be extended to the Crown Court is required.

Crown Court

Some cases are “sent” from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court. Generally this is more serious cases. If you have received legal aid in the Magistrates Court, you are covered in the Crown Court also. If you have failed to access legal aid in the Magistrates Court, because your earnings are too high, you can now apply again for legal aid in the Crown Court. A different test applies.

Legal Aid Test
If annual disposable income is £3,398 or less: (£283.17 a month or less) pass means test and get legal aid.

If annual disposable income is more than £3,398: pass means test and get legal aid, however, an income contribution towards your defence costs is required.

If found not guilty, the contribution is returned to you, with interest.

If found or plead guilty, clients will have to pay defence costs from capital if
· They have £30,000 or more of assets, e.g. savings, equity in property, shares or Premium Bonds.
· Their defence costs haven’t already been covered by income contributions.

It is estimated that around 1 in 4 clients whose cases go to the Crown Court will have to pay some or all of their defence costs, from either their income, capital or both.

Check with your criminal solicitor, it may be that the costs of instructing him privately are less that the contributions you need to make to the Crown. If that is the case he will expect payment in advance and will advise you if proceedings are going to exceed the initial estimate.

How much do clients pay?

If a clients disposable income exceeds £3,398 per annum or £283.17 per month, he will be asked to pay 90% of his disposable income for 5 months, from the time the case reaches the Crown Court, or until it ends, whichever is sooner.

Failure to make all 5 payments will incur a fine of an additional payment.

Minimum Contribution

The minimum contribution is £254 per month, which equates to an annual disposable income of £3399.

Maximum Contribution

The maximum contribution can reach £185,806. See table.

Legal Aid – Criminal Cases – Do you qualify?

When are contributions due?

Within 28 days of the case being posted to the Crown Court, a contribution notice or Order detailing the amount due will be posted.

Evidence of Income

Evidence of income is necessary, either a letter confirming benefits, payslips for employees or tax returns / annual accounts for self employed. Failure to provide evidence of earnings may result in a high contribution of £900 or 100% of your monthly disposable income being set.

What if I can’t afford to pay?

If you believe the contributions are too high, you can appeal against them. If your circumstances change after the contributions are set, e.g. you lose your employment, you can ask to have the contributions recalculated. Your solicitor will assist you in this matter.

What happens if I don’t pay?

The Legal Services Commission may take action against you, such as charge interest, take part of your earnings, or send a baliff to your home address. This will add more costs to the system, which you will have to pay. Speak to your solicitor if you have any problems with payment and he will offer advice where possible.

Would it be cheaper to pay a solicitor directly?

Check with your criminal solicitor, it may be that the costs of instructing him privately are less that the contributions you need to make to the Crown. If that is the case he will expect payment in advance and will advise you if proceedings are going to exceed the initial estimate.

Teenager faces two years over riots

A former youth Olympic ambassador has been detained for two years for her part in the London riots.

Chelsea Ives, 18, admitted violent disorder, burglary and criminal damage on August 7 and 8. She was sentenced to two years in a young offenders’ institution, an official at Wood Green Crown Court in north London said.

The teenager, from Leytonstone, East London, is a former Waltham Forest Council youth Olympic ambassador.
She was reported to police by her mother Adrienne Ives, who apparently saw her on TV coverage of the riots.

Her mother has said it was a hard decision but something any good parent would do. Ives pleaded guilty to two counts of violent disorder, the first relating to her behaviour in Enfield, north London, on August 7, and the second in Hackney, east London, the following day.

She pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary and criminal damage, while two further charges of burglary will lie on file.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/teenager-faces-two-years-over-riots-6259280.html

Government figures show 26% proven reoffending rate

More than 180,000 convicted offenders went on to commit a combined 510,000 offences within a year, according to the first detailed official figures revealing the scale of reoffending in England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice figures show there was an average 26% proven reoffending rate for the 700,000 criminals who were convicted or cautioned in 2009. More than half of the extra offences were committed by career criminals each with more than 25 previous offences to their name.

The official reoffending figures reveal for the first time that the prison with the lowest reoffending rate for long-term inmates – 6% – was Latchmere House in Richmond, London, which was closed in September.

The prison with the highest reoffending rates for short-term prisoners was Hindley, in Wigan, at 87% in 2009. Hartlepool was named as the local authority area with the highest proven reoffending rate in the country at 36%; this figure includes convictions and cautions.

Overall, reoffending rates have fallen over the past decade. Adults serving prison sentences of less than 12 months have an average reoffending rate of 57%. This compares with 38% for those sentenced to one to four years, and 34% for those serving community punishments.

Among probation trusts, the biggest falls in reoffending rates since 2005 were in Staffordshire, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. The largest increases were in Hertfordshire and Merseyside.

For more details: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/oct/27/convicted-offenders-crime-figures

The Role of a Criminal Solicitor

The Criminal Justice System can be very complex, especially if you do not have a legal background. Charged with a crime, a defendant will be faced with many legal issues and legal jargon that can be confusing and overwhelming. For this reason, anyone who is charged with committing an illegal act should hire a criminal solicitor to make sure their rights are protected and they have the best possible defence.

A criminal solicitor works on a client’s behalf to ensure they are treated fairly and justly. Criminal solicitors are trained and experienced in various areas of criminal law such as assaults, drink driving, theft, murder, and much more. They have the expertise, knowledge, and experience to defend their clients without fear or favour, whilst maintaining a strict code of ethics.

Criminal solicitors are familiar with how the criminal process works, they are able to effectively work with prosecutors, judges, and other legal officials, such as probation workers. They understand how to perform such tasks as organising evidence, interviewing witness, making sure their client’s right were are protected at all times, filing appropriate court documents, negotiating with prosecutors, preparing the case for trial, and representing their client at trial. They will work on behalf of their client to get the charges reduced or if possible, the charges withdrawn if they determine that the case has no merit. A criminal solicitor will be able to keep their client up-to-date on their case and explain issues that will help the client understand the court process. Their fundamental goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for their client.

Anyone who is charged with a crime has the right to a criminal solicitor at the police station. Dependent on whether they qualify for legal aid, they may have a dedicated criminal solicitor in the Magistrates or Crown Court. If legal aid is not granted, they may ask to be represented by the Duty Solicitor on the day, or can pay privately for this service.

A criminal solicitor can offer you the best possible advice so you can make an informed decision about your case and how you should proceed such as pleading guilty or going to trial. He will ensure you understand the possible outcomes from each decision, and what the possible sentences for a guilty verdict would be, dependant on your plea. i.e. if you plead guilty, your sentence is likely to be reduced, compared to a not guilty plea where you are found guilty.
If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is important to exercise your right to representation before speaking to the police. A representative will then accompany you throughout the police interview and give you advice as necessary.

When charged with an offence, many people can find the experience terrifying. They can often feel alone and intimidated by the criminal justice system. A criminal solicitor fighting on their behalf can reduce anxieties and fears. The best decision you can make when charged with an offence is to hire a criminal solicitor. You will be provided with expert legal advice and greatly improve your chances of a fair outcome.

Criminals to have weekly benefits docked by up to £25 to pay fines

As a response to the riots, David Cameron will announce plans to increase maximum weekly court payment by fivefold.

People on benefits who are fined in court could face a fivefold increase in the amount docked from their weekly payments to cover the penalty, David Cameron will announce on Saturday as the government response to the riots is intensified.
Under the plans, the maximum weekly payment taken from benefit payments to pay off fines will rise from £5 to £25.

Cameron has been pressing hard for a series of measures to crack down on benefit recipients who commit crimes in the wake of the disturbances. Figures from the Ministry of Justice showed that more than a third of those who appeared in court after the riots were on benefits, including more than 200 on disability benefits.

Offenders ‘could have goods seized’

Offenders could be stripped of prized possessions such as iPods under proposals to give police better powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, the Home Office said today.
Authorities would also be forced to take action if several people in the same neighbourhood complain or if one victim complains three times with no action being taken.
The “community trigger”, one of a raft of proposals which form part of a Government consultation on anti-social behaviour, comes after Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca in 2007 after being hounded by youths outside their home in Leicestershire.
Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said: “For too long anti-social behaviour has wreaked havoc in our communities and ruined decent people’s lives.
“It is time for a new approach that better supports victims and makes it easier for the authorities to take fast, effective action.
“This consultation sets out how we propose to tackle this stubborn problem, ensuring the most vulnerable in our communities are protected from the cowards and bullies who carry on in such an offensive manner.
“It is important there is no let-up – local areas must continue to use the most appropriate powers available to them.”

In the consultation document, the Home Office said it was working with the Ministry of Justice on proposals “to increase the use of asset seizure as a sanction for criminal offences”.
“For example, to explore whether there are particular types of offender for whom seizing assets might be effective and proportionate.”
It added that the Government was also considering seizing an offender’s passport as a “useful additional sanction”.

Asbos, Criminal Asbos and a whole range of other measures will be replaced with Criminal Behaviour Orders and Crime Prevention Injunctions, Mr Brokenshire said.
The orders will ban an individual from certain activities or places while the injunctions will be designed to nip bad behaviour in the bud before it escalates.
They will also need a lower level of proof than the criminal orders.
Asked whether Asbos had simply been rebranded, Mr Brokenshire insisted there were “important differences”.
The replacement powers will make the sanctions “speedier to attain and also will mean the lower civil standard of proof is important here”, he said.
Mr Brokenshire also suggested that offenders could be banned from taking holidays abroad as an incentive to comply with any court orders.
“We’re looking at a range of issues that might have an impact on how people behave,” he said.
“Let’s be clear – we’re not talking about police being able to seize things in the community.
“This is about going to court, evidence being produced and what sanctions may be appropriate for the courts to consider.
“Obviously, if someone’s passport is taken away then that could have an impact on their ability to travel.
“Equally it might apply greater focus on their ability to follow through on orders that have been given to them and the consequences of their actions.”
Asked about taking away iPods and other belongings, he went on: “We want to ensure that, if there are sanctions and measures for people who break the law, who go to court, who receive those punishments, that there are effective teeth to them.
“And, when we look at things like drug dealing, ensuring that there is that mainstreaming of powers to take away the assets that may benefit, that may be the things that that person has gained from their criminal behaviour, and making sure those powers are properly used and are effectively applied.”
Other proposals include community protection orders, which would give councils powers to stop graffiti, noisy neighbours or dog fouling.
They could also be used for “more serious disorder and criminality”, such as closing a property being used for drug deals, the Home Office said.

The Asbo was launched under the last Labour government while Tony Blair was still in power.
But the measure attracted criticism in some quarters for the perception that it is seen as a badge of honour among offenders.
Figures showed there were more than 6,500 incidents of anti-social behaviour recorded by police in England and Wales every day in December.
In all, more than 200,000 instances of anti-social behaviour took place, including almost 35,000 in London alone.
Last September, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said only one in four incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported and communities were “becoming used to things we should not have become used to”.
But the Children’s Society said the move “appears to be more of a rebranding exercise than anything else”.
Chief executive Bob Reitemeier said it was “a missed opportunity to adopt a more effective approach for dealing with children and young people who are deemed to be anti-social”.
“There is no doubt that sometimes difficult behaviour, particularly by teenagers, remains an issue of great concern in many neighbourhoods,” he said.
“But rather than continue to demonise children and punish them without addressing their behaviour, there is an urgent need to develop real solutions that make a genuine difference to children, families and communities.”
Mediation and conflict resolution strategies “can be much more effective than using criminal or civil sanctions”, he said.
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Edens, anti-social behaviour lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said any new approach “must recognise the harm that anti-social behaviour causes”.
“We have been clear that we will support a simplification of the tools and powers available to frontline practitioners, making it easier for them to do what works best,” he said.
“We also recognise that anti-social behaviour cannot be solved by public services alone.
“Police and partners have a role in supporting communities to develop their own capabilities, including enhancing the public’s ability to appropriately intervene, without putting themselves at risk.”
Victims’ Commissioner Louise Casey said the proposals “put tough enforcement action against perpetrators at the centre” of the plans.
“I have worked and campaigned for many years for the rights of the law-abiding community to be given proper consideration over lawless, mindless thuggery that makes people’s lives unbearable,” she said.
“This has often been caricatured as an infringement of civil liberties or a campaign to give all young people a bad name.
“This is nonsense. It’s actually about protecting decent people, often the poorest people, by putting in very reasonable controls over incessantly nasty behaviour – actually most often perpetrated by adults.”
The crime reduction charity Nacro said enforcement on its own will not work.
Graham Beech, Nacro’s strategic development director, said: “It is not necessarily the measures which sound tough and make the news headlines, like confiscating iPods, that will make the real difference.
“We need a sophisticated response, which acknowledges the complexity of the problem we’re dealing with.
“What is needed is a balance of measures which combine police enforcement with interventions which get in early and steer young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
“This includes getting them back into school, providing real opportunities for work, using adult role models to help deal with alcohol and drug misuse, and diverting them into more positive activities.
“And those who cause these problems should be made part of the solution by giving something back to the community.”
The Criminal Justice Alliance, which represents more than 50 organisations, backed the plans to simplify and clarify the powers.
But director Jon Collins warned: “Enforcement powers will not on their own be enough to prevent anti-social behaviour and there is a risk that if these new measures are not accompanied by providing the necessary support, they will do little in the long term to tackle this important issue.
“Proposals to allow people who breach the new orders to be sent to prison could create a back door to custody for people who have not committed a criminal offence.
“Locking people up for breaching a civil order is neither effective nor proportionate, and the final proposals should ensure that custody is not used inappropriately.”
Shadow home office minister Vernon Coaker said: “The thing that has made the biggest difference to anti-social behaviour over the last 10 years has been neighbourhood police teams including PCSOs out on the streets and working with local communities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Whether using Asbos or the other measures the Labour government introduced, these teams have made a real difference. What we have learnt is that no matter what measures you introduce, you need the officers to enforce them.”
Speaking at a public event in Nottingham, shadow chancellor Ed Balls added: “You can’t enforce anti-social behaviour orders or any successor if you’ve not got the police on the streets.
“I think most people on the streets are saying, ‘Conservative-led Government cutting police – why are they doing that? That’s not what we voted for’, and I think it’s very important for us to say you need the police on the streets and the PCSOs to make sure our communities are safe and anti-social behaviour is tackled.”

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