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Paul J Watson Solicitor - 116 Borough Road - Middlesbrough - TS1 2ES - T: 01642 293427

Tag Archives: criminal solicitors

Appearing in the Magistrates Court (Adults) – 10 things you should know.

If you need help advice at Magistrates Court from our specialist Criminal Solicitor in Middlesbrough, call us for free advice on 01642 293427 or 07949 186589 out of hours. We can talk to you about your case and whether you would get legal aid, free of charge.

Our Criminal Defence Solicitors writes;-

1) What to do first:-

Usually it is not a good idea to attend without first taking legal advice from a specialist Criminal Defence Solicitor.

Your Criminal Solicitor can advise you whether it would be a good idea to have legal representation at Court.

Your Criminal Solicitor will also advise you whether you qualify for Legal Aid in the Magistrates Court.

Your Criminal Solicitor will need your National Insurance Number to help you apply for Legal Aid.

2) What to do next;-

Make sure you know where the Magistrates Court is and how to get there. Most Magistrates Courts are in the town or city centre, so parking is often a problem, although public transport is usually readily available.

3) On the day:-

Make sure you are at Court on time to meet your lawyer and appear in Court, otherwise you might breach any bail granted to you by the Police. If you are answering a Summons, then you are not on bail but it still helps to be on time. Do not ignore the proceedings: they will not go away.

4) What not to do:-

When in the Court room itself, DO NOT;-

  • Wear a “hoodie” or other headgear.
  • Chew.
  • Have your hands in your pockets.
  • Back chat the Magistrates

At different times, you will be asked to stand up or sit down; do it. Take the proceedings seriously. If you do not do these things, you will only make things worse for yourself.

5) How long will it take?

Usually longer than you might think. There is always a lot of waiting at Court for you and your Criminal Defence Lawyer, so take a newspaper, I-Pod, book or a friend with you. You might be at Court all morning or all afternoon – be patient! “Kicking off” just gets you thrown out by security.

6) Will it all be over in one go?

Not unless it is a Guilty plea for a minor offence; otherwise you can expect to go back to Court at least once more, either for a trial (if you plead “Not Guilty”) or to be sentenced (if you plead “Guilty” or are found guilty after a trial).

7) Is there a crèche?

Not at Teesside Magistrates Court, or most other Courts in the North East. Try not to take the kids at all (unless they are appearing in the Youth Court).

8) Can I get food and drink there?

At Teesside Magistrates Court, a cafe is open from 10am to 2pm every weekday. Good quality food and drink at low prices! Outside those hours, a machine is available.

9) I work, can I have my hearing on a Saturday?

No, not unless you have been arrested on a Friday night and you are the subject of a Police application to remand you in custody.

10) Will there be any publicity?

There could be, depending on how interesting the Media think your case might be. They can report what takes place at Court and publish your name and address; however, they must be careful not to prejudice your right to a fair trial (if you are pleading “Not Guilty”). Only Defendants under the age of 18 cannot be named (without the special permission of the Court).

The Government is talking about a new law to prevent the publication of the names of anyone accused of rape, unless they are convicted. No date has been fixed for this new law to be brought it and we do not know yet whether it will apply to all sex offences.

Article by Paul J Watson, Principal Solicitor.

Legal Advice at the Police Station

criminal-solicitor-middlesbroughShould you have a Solicitor with you when you are interviewed by the Police?  Even if it's just to "come in and have a chat"?

The short answer is “Yes”, whether it is a voluntary attendance or you have been arrested or are returning on bail and these are the reasons why;

  • It is Free of Charge. If you are arrested or asked to attend for a voluntary interview, you should ask for Paul J Watson Solicitor to be contacted.  This service is free of charge to everyone at any time of day and is not means tested.  Whatever your financial circumstances, you do not need to pay for a Solicitor's advice at the police station.
  • It is your right to have free and independent legal advice before answering any questions from the police.
  • Anything that you discuss with our solicitors is confidential.
  • When our Criminal Defence solicitors arrive at the police station they look at the custody record to ensure that you have not been mistreated by the police. From the moment you were arrested, we will endeavour to ensure that you are treated properly by the police until you are released.
  • The only way of ensuring that you are dealt with fairly and correctly by the police is by using a solicitor.
  • In order to know your full rights whilst at a police station, it is best to use a solicitor
  • If you ask for a solicitor, the police have to provide that solicitor with the full details of any allegations against you. We can then tell you this information before the interview, making sure that you are fully prepared prior to the interview taking place. The solicitor will also advise on the best course of action for you to take during that interview, such as whether or not you should answer the police questions.
  • A solicitor can stop the interview at any time if, for example the police are unduly pressurising you, or in order to provide you with further legal advice.
  • Being arrested can be a daunting experience for anyone. By taking up the opportunity of having a solicitor, you will be advised of each step of the procedure, and what is likely to happen with you, whether it be a charge, bail or no further action. Having this understanding will go some way to putting you more at ease.
  • Police may attempt to persuade you not to use a solicitor/legal representative. This is only because not having a solicitor present may be better for the police. It is certainly not better for you to go ahead with the interview without obtaining assistance from a solicitor.
  • Police often say that you will be released from the police station quicker without a solicitor. This simply is not the case; “Research has found that the police sometimes use the prospect of further delay to persuade a suspect to agree to being interviewed without having received the advice the suspect initially wanted.” (Defending Suspects at Police Stations, the practitioner`s guide to advice and representation, sixth edition, 2011, Ed Cape)

Choosing our Criminal Defence Lawyers;-

  • Our clients consistently recommend us because we offer a high quality service, with very experienced Criminal Solicitors who give honest advice you can trust. Read our reviews to see what our clients say.
  • Our Solicitors are in easy reach of any of the police stations in the North East and can be with you quickly.
  • At Paul J Watson Solicitor, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience of representing clients at the police station. We cover all types of criminal offence, from complex fraud and conspiracy to supply, to kidnapping, firearms offences and sexual offences, and have done so for many years.


For free legal advice at the police station:

Complete our Contact Form or call us for free advice on 01642 293427 or 07949 186589 out of hours

Using the Duty Solicitor

Free Legal Advice at Police Stations

Everyone receives free legal aid to have a solicitor represent them at the police station, regardless of financial circumstances.

Do you know the difference between a duty solicitor and a trusted local solicitor? THERE ISN’T ONE! Most local criminal solicitors are on a rota which means that they are on duty on certain days/nights in case someone needs a criminal solicitor and doesn’t already have one.

But you never have to use a solicitor that you don’t already know if you don’t want to and you never have to use the duty solicitor.

Our specialist Criminal Solicitors live in Middlesbrough and will come straight out to the police station as soon as the Police confirm they are ready to interview.

You always have the right to choose and if you use a duty solicitor at the police station, you can still come to us for any case after that if you want to.

Call outs – 07949 186 589 out of hours or call our Crime Team, during office hours on 01642 293427.

Another great result for our Crime Team

R v W – Historical sexual abuse charges

Another client successfully defended in a 5 day trial which concluded at Teesside Crown Court today. The Jury took only 90 minutes to decide to acquit our client (find him not guilty) on every charge, after hearing evidence over the previous 4 days.  This brought to an end a nightmare for our client, whose life had effectively been put on hold since he was invited to the Police Station to answer allegations of historical sexual abuse.  Since then he had to endure months of waiting to prove his innocence, whilst at the same time having his life disrupted by the involvement of Social Services.

This represented another successful result for the crime team, headed by Paul Watson and the Defence Barrister, Alison Pryor and assisted by our Paralegal, Emma Richardson.  It represented the culmination of months of meticulous and dedicated preparation by the team to ensure that our client’s version of events was properly put before the Jury.