Around 95% of all criminal cases are completed in the Magistrates’ Court, which deals mostly with less serious crimes and motor & driving offences.
Once the defendant has been charged at the police station, the case is then sent to the Magistrates’ Court. In some cases the offender may be committed by the magistrates to the Crown Court for sentencing if a more severe sentence is thought necessary.
The Magistrates Courts generally deal with minor offences, known as 'summary offences'. However they can deal with more serious crimes, known as ‘either way’ offences. This means they can be dealt with by either a Magistrates’ Court or a Crown Court. More serious crimes include:
• drugs offences
• handling stolen goods
The maximum punishment in a Magistrates’ Court is:
• six months in prison, and/or
• a fine of up to £5,000
It is possible to get a prison sentence of up to 12 months if you’re found guilty of more than one either way offence.
We have extensive experience in representing our clients in the Magistrates’ Courts throughout Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Any one of our criminal defence team is able to represent you at the Magistrates’ Court under a Legal Aid representation order or on a privately paid basis at very reasonable rates.
You may be entitled to free legal aid at the court. To find out more about legal aid visit our legal aid page. If you are not eligible for legal aid, contact us for a quote or a fixed fee so that you know in advance what it will cost.