To be accused of murder or manslaughter can have a terrible impact upon your life. If you are wrongly convicted, you will certainly have a custodial sentence and it will be extremely difficult to then get employment upon your release, as DBS checks will highlight the conviction. What’s more, you could lose the support of those you love and they could also face a lifetime of heartache if you are convicted and society knows of their connection to you. This is why it is essential that you get a solicitor who is an expert in criminal cases to defend you and to get the best outcome for you. If you can find a criminal solicitor as early as possible – ideally before answering questions at the police station – it could make the difference between charges being brought against you, or whether or not you are convicted if your case goes to court. It will also be essential to have an expert to guide you through the legal process and ensure you understand what is happening at all times, and to advise you if you need to consider making any important decisions, such as what your plea will be.
What a solicitor will do for you
If you are in the police station and are going to be questioned, you have a legal right to representation during the questioning. This can be free representation and should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever you are taken in for questioning. During this time, a solicitor will be able to advise you about what questions you are obliged to answer and which ones you are not. A solicitor may also make arrangements for you to voluntarily provide evidence, when an investigation is pending, to prevent the questioning happening when you are not expecting it. This can then sometimes mean that fingerprints and gathering of other DNA is not required and your solicitor can be prepared for your questioning in advance of the meeting.
If you are charged with murder or manslaughter, you will need to be represented in a magistrates’ court to confirm your plea and other personal details. The case will then be sent to the Crown Court and a solicitor will work with your barrister to support them in building a strong defence for this trial. A solicitor will know you well by this time and will keep you informed at every stage. They will also be able to support the barrister in any further gathering of evidence that is required. Solicitors will interview expert witnesses such as forensic experts, or they will look at other evidence such as CCTV footage. Taking proactive steps such as this from the earliest stages can also make a difference between whether or not the Crown Prosecution Service chooses to charge you with murder or manslaugher, or a less serious crime.
Call off the search
To find the best solicitor for yourself, you can contact agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or search on the Law Society’s website for accredited members. You may also have friends or family who can recommend professionals, but finding out about the level of experience that a law firm has is also an intelligent move, as well as whether or not they specialise in the particular area of law that you need defence in.
Remember that the outcome of your case rests largely on how well your viewpoint is articulated in court and the evidence you have to support your claims. So, call a solicitor and they’ll come running to see you, wherever you are.