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Street Legal
Street Legal, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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should we use the duty solicitor at court next week as we have

Customer Question

should we use the duty solicitor at court next week as we have not had time to sort out a solicitor, and if i cant go to court with my son , difficulty getting time off work, can i speak to duty solicitor on the phone
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Hi

 

Didn't he have a solicitor at the police station?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi
Unfortunately, no.
Hes only 18 and said no. All this happened about 2 weeks ago and he was charged with driving without due care and attention. The tape was faulty and due to post and easter we only got the copy back today. We have been waiting to hear the tape to decide what to do next. As well as the tape arriving this morning , i got a call from the police saying the charge has now been changed to dangerous driving - can they do this ? Its the CPS s decision. The court date is next tuesday 13 th april, we dont have much time.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

 

That was probably a fatal error.

 

They can change the charge to the more serious but they probably wouldn't have done so if he'd had solicitor.

 

The duty solicitor will be fine at court but there's nothing that can be done now about the damage he's already done. There's no magic wands that make evidence go away. All that can be done now is damage limitation.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What do you mean by damage limitation ?

Why dont they just offer solicitors to young persons anyway, he didnt understand he needed one and now they have changed the charge, i know its not your fault and i apologise for going on but i dont think the british justice service is very fair.


Do you think i would be able to speak to the duty solicitor over the phone if i cant get time off work to go with him ?
Or do will i be given an opportunity to speak up in court if i go ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

 

They do offer a solicitor to everybody arrested. He said no. There are lots of problems with the justice system but this is not one of them. The decision to refuse a solicitor is down to him alone. He would have been offered legal advice on the telephone and a solicitor in person and would have had to sign the custody record to say that he did not want one. There is no excuse. The days have gone when the police discouraged solicitors.

 

He's probably said lots of things in interview that have made the whole thing worse and thats probably why they were able to charge a higher offence.

 

He will see a solicitor in person at court although nothing can be done now about what he said at the police station.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I know what you are saying but if you have never been in trouble before and only 18 !! How do you know if you need a solicitor or not, he was scared to death.

He was being tail gated by 4 youths who he didnt know and he felt threatened.Thats why he drove fast to get away, we accept he did wrong but he was scared. He wasnt even offered a chance to call home, before or after he was arrested.

So what sentences do young people in his situation ?
Will i be allowed to speak in court if i attend ?
Would i be able to speak to the duty solicitor over the phone ?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

 

He would have been offered a chance to call you. Everybody who comes into custody has the right to make a phone to inform somebody of his arrest unless certain exceptions apply. I was a police station legal adviser for years and what he is saying just doesn't happen in the police station and hasn't done since the 1970s. I think if you are scared to death then you probably ask for a solicitor rather than refuse one.

 

If this is dangerous driving then its the highest form of driving offence arising from the manner of driving. People do regularly go to prison for it. It would depend how dangerous his driving was and I suppose what he has said in interview. It will certainly involve more than merely driving fast. There must be more to that whatever he has told you.

 

The duty solicitor probably won't speak to you. You are not their client.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I still dont think its right.

If you are offered the opportunity to call home, is this recorded on the tape
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.

The answer from JOMO is correct and you should accept it. Your son is 18 and is treated as an adult by the system. The offer of a call to inform someone of the arrest is at the discretion of the police, but is usually offered and will be recorded on the custoody record. It will not be on tape unless the CCTV in the custody office has that technology.

 

Turning down a solicitor is your son's decision, as was whatever he said to the police. You can ask for a solicitor at court and ask for further time to consider the evidence and get detailed advice.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The decision was his i know , but at 18 we dont always make the best decisions do we ?

Would i get an opportunity to speak to the duty solicitor at court ? and do you think he would put my concerns and opinions across to the judges ?
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.

As your son is an adult it is for him to instruct solicitor, not you. If he does have a solicitor acting for him it will be your son's choice as to whether you are able to speak to him. It is also your son's choice whether you are able to address the court on his behalf.

 

It is my experience that concerned parents make very poor legal advisers as their children rarely wish to tell them the whole truth and they often let their emotions get in the way of common sense.

 

I do not mean this to be a personal criticism of you. I suggest you support your son by advising him to get a solicitor. You can make yourself available should you be called upon to assist but you should not direct or interfere with the way his case is presented.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
so in your opinion, its his first offence and he has admitted it to the police because he didnt have a solicitor, what do you think he will get ?
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.
That is an impossible question to answer as I would need to know precisely how bad the driving was. Was there a collision? Were other road users put in danger? What distance was the driving over? Was there a passenger in the car?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
As Daniel was putting some petrol in his car, a red corsa pulled up at the side of him. He paid and started to drive him - literally 3 mins away. The red car followed him for a few yards only inches away fgrom his car ( Daniel has been taunted in the past from an ex friend,in this way, and drove properly and was overtook and the other car pulled up in front of him and made him stop in the middle of the road ) Daniel was feeling threatened and just wanted to get home. He started to drive a little faster and the car behind also speeded up, Daniel then put his foot down to get away and was probably driving at 55 mph in a 40 mph zone, he knows its wrong, we regularly have conversations about safe driving. Then and he doesnt have an proper explanation, only the reason above, he went the wrong way round a mini rounabout, there was no other traffic on the road.He then slowed down to 20 mph to take a right turn onto our road, it was at this point he saw the police car light in his rear view mirror. The red car was still bumper to bumper with him. He again put his foot down to get away 50mph in a 30 mph zone. The road then turns into a wider road which is 50mph and this is the speed he drove up the hill towards our house, at this point the red car overtook him followed by the police car, Daniel then turned into our drive and the police followed the red car and stopped them and then 5 mins later they were knocking on our door. Daniel did not know the lads in the red car. He felt threatened, He realises what a big mistake he has made.
We have never been to court before in our lives and dont know what to expect.
Have you read what i told the other solicitor in this question because that explains a few other things too.
thanks
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.

If the police are able to confirm the manner of driving of the other car and get the CCTV footage from the garage then there is a possible defence to the manner of driving whether careless or dangerous. The essence of the defence would be "necessity".

 

It is difficult to advance this defence as there was no need to drive at speed if being followed by another car. He sped up to try to lose the following car. This is not a safe or necessary thing to do, however worried he was. He might have felt intimidated, but that is no justification to drive erratically and at speed.

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So do you think because its his first offence that he could get a prison sentence?
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.
Based upon what you have told me I think it is highly unlikely that he would receive a custodial sentence.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Do you think it would be a fine and disqualified from driving for a while (is it 12 months )
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.
There will certainly be a disqualification will think a fine too lenient sentence. For careless driving it might be appropriate, but if your son is convicted of dangerous driving he might be looking at a community order with a requirement to carry out unpaid work in the community.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
If he got disqualified how would it affect him at work. Hes doing an apprenticeship and has to move caravans and motorhomes around the work site, he doesnt go on public roads. Would he have to have off work to do community service and would he be obliged to tell his boss
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.

Community service work can be arranged to fit around work hours.

 

I have no idea how a disqualification would affect your son's work. You would need to ask him.

 

He would be disqualified from driving on a public road or any other place to which the public have access.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So do you think we should just go to court, get a duty solicitor and not interfere and just let the solicitor do his job, even if we think
Expert:  Street Legal replied 4 years ago.

I think you need to ensure that your son gets good, impartial advice on the evidence from an experienced criminal defence solicitor. You will have ample time to discuss the advice with your son to allow a considered decision to be made, by him, as to how the case should be handled.

 

 

Street Legal, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 395
Experience: Solicitor
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