There are numerous types of fraud in the UK and being charged with any one of them can have huge ramifications, both for you and your loved ones. It can cost you your job, your reputation, and even your liberty. There is no denying that a fraud conviction would be a very serious situation and one that you would be better off avoiding if you are innocent. This is why finding a fraud solicitor to represent you from the earliest stages of an investigation is the best way to avoid being found guilty of a crime you haven’t committed. If you have committed the fraud you have been charged with, an experienced solicitor can still help to achieve the most lenient sentence by highlighting any mitigating circumstances, for example, and ensuring that your defence is as robust as it can be.
What happens if I am called in for questioning by the police?
If you are questioned by the police in connection with a fraud case, this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily going to charge you. This is a very good time to call a specialist solicitor to represent you during the questioning, so that they can ensure that all legal procedures are followed correctly and that you don’t answer anything that you shouldn’t have to, in line with legal procedures. Having a solicitor to represent you at this early stage can make the difference between whether or not you are actually charged with fraud.
I’ve been charged. What happens next?
If you have been charged with the criminal offence of fraud, you will be sent to a magistrates’ court first. This is usually a formality, where you confirm who you are and that you understand the charges being brought against you. You will then enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. A solicitor will represent you in this court and will take this opportunity to request bail, for example, if this is required, while you wait to go to the Crown Court for trial. At the Crown Court, you will be represented by a barrister, however, your solicitor will also attend trial and support the barrister providing them with information as they require it. A decent solicitor will take proactive steps to help build a strong defence in the run up to this trial, interviewing witnesses and gathering information, such as CCTV footage, for example.
At the Crown Court, if you plead ‘not guilty’, then you will have a trial by jury and be found guilty or not guilty. If you are found not guilty, then you will be able to leave without any further action. However, if you are found guilty, you will then be required to go back to court again for sentencing. You may be remanded in custody during this time at the judge’s direction. It is of vital importance, therefore, that you have a strong legal team representing you to avoid an unfair outcome that could cost you your freedom.
How do I find a decent solicitor?
There are some solicitor firms that offer support wherever you are in the UK and they are available at any time of the day or night to assist with questioning at the police station. As soon as you telephone them, they should be able to explain what is happening and put your mind at ease about how they can help you in your specific situation. Checking their website to see if they have been established for long will help you to gauge how much experience they may have had. You could also research whether or not they have been endorsed by groups such as Legal 500 or Chambers and Partners. Once you find your solicitor, you can hopefully get moving towards the right and just outcome for yourself.