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Maybe you got a citation a whole bundle of papers that came in the post with a court date on them. A date you have to reply by. And a bit that says: are you pleading Not Guilty or are you pleading GUILTY. Uh-oh. What do I do; you might be thinking? Or maybe you were released from a police station with a purpley-pink piece of paper and a date on that?An undertaking and a time when you have to turn up at court. Like just walk in. Crikey. And you don’t know what’s going to happen. Or maybe you were held in the police cells overnight, or even worse for the whole weekend, then were taken to a court and through a door, and stood up in a dock, and answered your name, and people said some things, and it all happened super fast…and then wham, bam you were taken back out and later you were released? But for what? On bail? Or Ordained? Whatever these things mean. And in the bewildering, frightening, unfamiliarity of it all did somebody say something about two further dates…

To go back to court? And something about bail conditions?

These are just some of the ways that prosecutions can start.

If you answered yes to any of the above you should be asking yourself this: do I need a lawyer?

The answer to that is usually, though not always: Yes.

But what if the police just call you up on the telephone. Are chatty. Like you to pop into the police station. Maybe they’ll even swing by and give you a lift. And you’ve got a sinking feeling that they want to talk to you because you are a suspect. And it’s an INTERVIEW. Though they may not use that very word.

And you’re wondering…

What’s going to happen? Am I going to be detained? What on earth is Section 14? What will I say to them? Do I have to say anything to them? How long will I be there? Will I get to go home after? What about my wife / my husband / my mum / the kids…the dog? And a million more questions.

Are you asking yourself this: Do I need a lawyer? Because you probably should be.

Given that almost a third of the people in this country apparently have criminal convictions and crime as somebody once said NEVER SLEEPS…you’d think the system would be a bit more user friendly. Slightly less intimidating. Even if you are the accused. It’s not. Yet. And these are just a few of the ways prosecutions start.

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