Our dedicated criminal defence service ensures that each of our clients receives the highest quality specialist legal advice.
We represent both publicly funded and fee paying clients at all stages of the criminal law process, from Police Station through to appearing before Magistrates' or Crown Courts. We have a contract with the Legal Services Commission and are fully committed to Legal Aid and representing those who cannot afford to pay.
The firm deals with all types of cases, from the most serious crimes such as murder, manslaughter, possession of weapons, harassment, assault and battery, rape, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, theft, handling stolen goods, arson, drug and alcohol offences and firearms offences to matters that are often considered less severe.
We also specialise in dealing with restraint and forfeiture proceedings in both the criminal and civil courts, especially those under the Proceeds of Crime Act. We additionally represent clients in the most serious criminal cases including large drug cases and murder.
If you are under investigation or suspicion of a crime we recommend that you seek the advice of our Crime solicitor immediately, the sooner you do, the sooner we can start working on your behalf. You can call our Crime Team for an initial consultation or fill in our online enquiry form and we will call you back.
We herewith present a guide to our costs in relation to motoring offences that can only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court such as drink and drug driving, failing to provide a specimen of breath, speeding, careless driving, using a mobile phone whilst driving, using a motor vehicle whilst uninsured and failing to provide driver information to the police.
Whilst we provide comprehensive representation in the Magistrates and Crown Courts for all motoring offences this guide does not cover more serious offences where the law allows trial in either the Magistrates or Crown Court. Examples of offences not covered by this fees guide will be dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, causing death or serious injury through dangerous or careless driving. Please note that dependent on your financial circumstances, you may be eligible for Legal Aid to cover your representation for these types of offences.
The fees below are exclusive of disbursements except for an advocates mileage and parking. Any expert reports, medical reports or third party costs are in addition to the fees below.
If you have any specific requests not covered in the fees below we are happy to discuss these with you and accommodate them where possible but this may mean an increase to the fee illustrated below.
All fees must be paid in advance of work done unless agreed otherwise and fees quoted below are exclusive of VAT.
Consultation fee - £150 – Ernest & Co Solicitors offers a one hour plus consultation with a Solicitor to consider the available evidence, provide advice as to likely plea and the sentencing options available to the Court and whether you have an exceptional hardship argument or special reasons hearing to put before the court. This will include confirmation of advice in writing thereafter.
It does not include any representation at Court.
Representation at Court for a guilty plea - £350 - this fee includes representation by a Solicitor or Barrister of our choice within London to mitigate on your behalf and advise on appeal as appropriate.
This will not include guilty pleas involving either an exceptional hardship or special reasons argument to be put forward. Nor will it include any additional or adjourned hearings. Hearings outside London may attract an additional fee subject to their geographical location and that will be discussed with you and agreed in advance.
Half day trials and special reasons hearings - £1,000 - This will cover representation at trial by a Solicitor or Barrister of our choice. It will cover the taking of a statement from yourself and one defence witness to a maximum of 2 hours. It will cover consideration of prosecution and defence evidence of up to 50 pages and advising on the same. It will cover the locating and instructing of an expert where necessary and all communications between us and yourself, the prosecution, Court and any third party directly involved with your case.
It will not cover any pre-trial hearings (which are unlikely for offences of this nature) nor will it cover any additional trial hearing if your case has to be adjourned for example, due to lack of Court time. Additional trial dates and pre-trial hearings will be fixed at £350 each.
We have the experience of regularly undertaking complex and large motoring matters that fall outside what is described above. If your case is one like this we can provide you with a bespoke fixed fee upon request.
Full day Trials and special reasons hearings - £1500 - This will cover representation at trial by a Solicitor or Barrister of our choice. It will cover the taking of a statement from yourself and 2 defence witness to a maximum of 3 hours. It will cover consideration of prosecution and defence evidence of up to 50 pages and advising on the same. It will cover the locating and instructing of an expert where necessary and all communications between us and yourself, the prosecution, Court and any third party directly involved with your case.
It will not cover any pre-trial hearings (which are unlikely for offences of this nature) nor will it cover any additional trial hearing if your case has to be adjourned for example, due to lack of court time. Additional trial dates and pre-trial hearings will be fixed at £350 each. Additional defence witness that need to be seen and statements taken will be an additional £150 each.
We regularly undertake complex and large motoring matters that fall outside what is described above. If your case is one like this we can provide you with a bespoke fixed fee upon request.
Exceptional hardship arguments -
Initial Consultation - £150 - We strongly advise an initial consultation in these matters to ascertain at an early stage whether you have a good case. We will advise you on the merits of any argument and if appropriate provide written advice as the documents you will need to put forward your argument at Court. This will be with a solicitor for up to an hour or more.
Representation at court - £600 - this fee includes representation by a Solicitor or Barrister of our choice within London to put forward your hardship argument on your behalf and advise on appeal as appropriate.
This will not include any adjourned hearings. Hearings outside London may attract an additional fee subject to their geographical location and that will be discussed with you and agreed in advance.
GENERAL CRIME CASES
Ernest & Co Solicitors have a long standing and excellent reputation in the local and surrounding areas for their expertise in defence in every aspect of representation against criminal allegations.
We have the demonstrated ability to represent clients throughout the criminal case, right from the interview at the police station to the crown court.
Police Station Advice and Assistance
Most criminal matters begin with an arrest and interview at the Police Station. We offer 24/7 free advice and assistance at any Police Station and we have a 24 hour contact number available to everyone so we are always available to offer advice in emergency.
The majority of our clients ask for us on arrest and we are then quickly informed of the arrest and offer support and advice throughout the time detention and beyond. However, we always welcome new clients and if you are concerned that you may be arrested or if you have a relative or friend in custody that you believe may need assistance then we can accept new instructions in this way also.
Following an arrest, there are a number of possible outcomes that can occur. The first is that no action is taken and a detainee is released. It is important to be aware, however, that even once a matter has been dealt with in this way it is possible for the Police to reopen an investigation and arrest or question further.
A further often common outcome following an arrest is that the Police bail a suspect for further enquiries to be made, identification procedures to take place or for a charging decision. If you have been arrested and bailed, and did not have a Solicitor when you were in custody, we are able to represent you following your release at any subsequent attendances at the Police Station or for advice in the meantime. This is your legal right and representation is free.
If you did have a Solicitor whilst in custody and you are unhappy with their representation for whatever reason, in some circumstances you may still be entitled to free representation at any subsequent attendances at the Police Station by a different Solicitor. If this is a situation you have found yourself in then do not hesitate to contact us as we will be happy to take over your case.
Voluntary Interviews under Caution
Sometimes, the Police or another body (for example the Department for Work and Pensions) may request that you take part in a voluntary interview under caution. It is your right to decline to take part in an interview, however if it is a request by the Police then you may be arrested for the allegation instead.
That a police interview is voluntary does not mean that it is not serious; for sometimes even very serious allegations are dealt with voluntarily. We have represented people who have been taken to Court having been interviewed voluntarily, who did not have legal advice at the interview stage and this has resulted in matters being taken to Court which might not have been had they had representation. We would strongly advise that you obtain advice and assistance for any interview under caution. Again, this representation is free if the matter is being investigated by the Police and free in some circumstances if investigated by another body. If we cannot secure you free representation then we offer very reasonable and competitive fixed fees with no hidden costs.
Magistrates' Court Representation
Where the Police gather sufficient evidence following a criminal allegation then you may be charged and either held in custody or bailed to attend Court on a later date. Alternatively, you may receive a summons to attend Court.
Ernest & Co Solicitors offers expert legal advice in relation to any criminal allegation that has been made against you and can represent you during every stage of the proceedings, whether this is a guilty plea and sentence or a not guilty plea and Trial. We instruct experts if your case requires expert evidence, and we deal with any points of law which arise.
If you are receiving state benefits or you are in the low income group then you will qualify for Legal Aid. This is not available for all offences (for example minor motoring offences or offences which can only be dealt with by a Fine) however even for less serious offences, we will endeavour to secure Legal Aid for you. Once Legal Aid is in place, your representation throughout every stage of the proceedings will be paid for by the Legal Aid Agency unless your financial circumstances change.
Legal Aid is means tested and dependent on your income and outgoings, and the number of dependents that you have. We can advise you immediately whether you are likely to secure Legal Aid. In the event you do not qualify for Legal Aid, we offer very competitive and fair private rates.
Crown Court Representation
Certain offences can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court, for example Theft or Assault causing Actual Bodily Harm (ABH).These offences are known as “either way”offences.
The most serious offences can only be dealt with in the Crown Court (for example Murder) although will always start in the Magistrates Court. These offences are known as “indictable only”offences.
Where you have been charged with an either way offence, then the Court may determine that the matter must be dealt with in the Crown Court, or you will be given the choice. We will advise you fully as to the advantages and disadvantages of having your case dealt with by the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.
Ernest & Co Solicitors offer expert advice and representation in the Crown Court in relation to any criminal allegation – whether this be a matter which has progressed through the Magistrates Court and sent to the Crown Court or an appeal against a decision (conviction or sentence) made in the Magistrates Court.
Legal Aid is available for matters dealt with in the Crown Court, and although this is means tested, the majority of people will qualify for Legal Aid in the Crown Court (although a contribution may have to be paid towards the representation).
Alternatively, we offer excellent private rates and will work with you to keep the costs within any budget that you have.
Our firm offers excellent rates for privately funded representation and able work with you to keep the costs to a minimum and within your budget. Many cases that we deal with are on a very competitive fixed fee basis and always with no hidden costs. We will always be very clear with you about what costs may be incurred and give an accurate as possible estimate of your costs.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more information regarding any aspect of funding – whether you wish to clarify your eligibility for Legal Aid or for an estimate of our costs for your case.
Majority of our clients are people who have used us in the past or have been recommended to us by existing or current clients. We have an excellent reputation for client care, giving honest reliable advice and outstanding representation both in the Police Station and in Court.