For adults, all criminal cases begin in Magistrates’ Court, but some offences can be tried only in the Crown Court, some only in Magistrates’ Court, and others in either court.
The seriousness of the offence will dictate whether the case will remain in a Magistrates’ Court from start to finish or will be referred to the Crown Court.
The more serious criminal offences are passed on to the Crown Court, either for sentencing after the defendant has been found guilty in a Magistrates’ Court, or for full trial with a judge and jury.
Cases dealt with in Magistrates' Court
These are less serious cases, such as motoring offences and common assaults, where the defendant is not usually entitled to a trial by jury. They are disposed of in Magistrates’ Court.
Either way offences
They can be dealt with either by Magistrates' or before a judge and jury at the Crown Court. Such offences include theft and handling of stolen goods.
A defendant can insist on their right to trial in the Crown Court. Magistrates' can also decide that a case is so serious that it should be dealt with in the Crown Court – which can impose tougher sentences if the defendant is found guilty.
Indictable-only offences are much more serious and include offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery. These must be heard at a Crown Court.
How can we help you with summary offences?
Our Criminal Law Solicitors have a decades-long history of representing clients who are facing summary offences such as motoring offence charges, helping them to secure the best outcome possible.
Whether you’re facing charges of speeding, drunk driving, failure to provide a sample, or even causing death by dangerous driving, we can advise you.
If you have been summoned to the court or invited for a voluntary interview by the police about your motoring offence, call us immediately for expert legal advice.
We can offer advice and representation on the following offences:
- Driving without Due Care and Attention
- Dangerous Driving
- Drink/Drug Driving
- Failing to Provide a Sample
- Causing Death by Careless/Dangerous Driving
- Exceptional Hardship/Special Reasons argument to avoid disqualification
There are three basic types of assault:
- Common assault
- Actual bodily harm (ABH)
- Wounding / grievous bodily harm (GBH)
Common assault is on one end of the spectrum, which can be as little as threatening words, all the way to GBH, which can be a physical attack that leaves the victim permanently disabled.
The maximum sentence allowed by law for common assault is six months imprisonment, and cases can only be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
If the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is two years imprisonment and cases can be heard in the Crown Court as well.
How can we help you with either way offences?
An either way offence, also known as an indictable offence, may be heard either in the Magistrates' Court or in the Crown Court.
As the defendant, you will initially appear in the Magistrates' Court. Both you and the Magistrate have the option to request that the case is transferred to the Crown Court.
Appearing in the Crown Court means that if you are convicted you may face a longer sentence. The maximum sentence available at Magistrates' is six months.
On the other hand, a jury is more likely to give a defendant the benefit of the doubt, compared with a Magistrate who may have had many years of hearing similar cases.
In these cases, we will review the evidence and offer you the best advice on how to proceed with the case.
Excellent service, 24 hours a day
As the oldest department at Broudie Jackson Canter, our Crime team have a very proud history of making sure everyone has access to justice, no matter what. We have built an excellent reputation over the past 60 years across the North West and beyond, and as a result, our clients know to expect professional, friendly, first-class service.
Our Criminal Law Solicitors are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter what situation you find yourself in, we are here to help.
Alternatively, you can make an enquiry and a member of the team will be in touch to assist you further.