What happens when you have been convicted and you want to appeal? What if you think that the Court made a mistake with your sentence? How do you go about addressing it? Whether you have been convicted in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court, there are always tight timescales to adhere to, and complicated paperwork to complete. Taking the decision as to whether or not to pursue an appeal at all can seem overwhelming, as the consequences of an unsuccessful appeal can be costly and emotionally draining.
Our experienced team of lawyers can help you. If you are considering an appeal of any kind, whether from the Magistrates or Crown Court, it is vital that you contact us quickly, whether or not we acted for you in the first instance. Where the deadline has passed, we may be able to help with drafting reasons as to why an extension should be granted. We will carefully consider all aspects of your case and provide you with the balanced and practical advice you need to help you make your decision. Should you choose to pursue an appeal against your conviction, we will guide you through the formalities and meticulously prepare your case to ensure the best possible representation at Court and maximising your prospects of success. Or you can instruct us to simply offer you a valuable ‘second opinion’.
There are a number of alternative routes of appeal which may be available to you when appealing from the Magistrates Court. You can appeal to the Crown Court where you believe that the magistrates made a mistake in fact or fact and law; to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court by way of case stated where you believe that the magistrates made an error of law or acted in excess of their powers; or to the High Court for judicial review where you believe that there has been unfairness, bias or procedural irregularity.
All defendants have a right of appeal against conviction or sentence from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court. Where an appeal is taken against conviction, it will take the form of a complete ‘re-hearing’ of the original matter. However, it is important to seek legal advice since there may be costs implications in the event of an unsuccessful appeal, and sentence is ‘at large’, which means that the Crown Court can pass a different sentence, which may be greater than the original.
To appeal against a decision of the Crown Court – whether against conviction or sentence, appeal lies to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). Here there is no automatic ‘right to appeal’, and so ensuring the application for leave to appeal is properly drafted in the first instance, is critical and not something to be undertaken lightly. Appeals that the Court finds to be ‘wholly without merit’ expose the appellant to the possible risk of a ‘loss of time order’ and so again, it is vital to understand the risks and to take proper advice.
When considering appeals against sentence, we can assist you in advising whether or not there are grounds for arguing that it is ‘manifestly excessive’ or ‘wrong in law’ and can also advise you in relation to any ancillary orders that may have been imposed at the time, such as Criminal Behaviour Orders, Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, Restraining Orders and many more. If confiscation proceedings have been instigated then we can also advise in relation to this [insert link].
Legal Aid is available for some cases, and we can advise you as to whether you are eligible. In other cases we can offer competitive private rates, calculated on a ‘staged’ basis so that we do not undertake or charge you for unnecessary work.
We understand that at this stage you and those close to you will be anxious to hear that there is ‘still a chance’. While we will do all we can to apply a fresh pair of eyes to your case and assist you in any challenge, we are firmly of the view that no one benefits from being given false hope. By instructing Reeds, what you can be assured of is realistic, legally sound advice that will not leave you exposed to any further, avoidable risk.
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