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    I've been watching Judge Judy and just had a thought.

    When you get arrested, your allowed a solicitor to talk to, but I don't know any solicitors. So if I suddenly got arrested, how would I go about finding one? I know the police provide you one if you haven't got one, but how do you know they are any good?
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    You got to make do with what solicitor you get, if you have doubts then you have no choice because you're a criminal.
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    Yes you are right, you are given a choice between a duty solicitor or one you provide yourself.

    99% of the people the police see and deal with on a day to day basis are 'regular customers' and probably have a lot of experience, so they will often get a solicitor who is familiar with their case.

    For most people who haven't been involved with the police before, you won't know a solicitor, so the police will provide one.

    As to whether they are any good, well, I only know of one solicitor, involved in dealing with a distant relative's probate. He is a certifiable moron whose monumental incompetence was only matched by his magnificent flair for fiction when it came to dreaming up charges for every little thing.

    You should always opt for the duty solicitor. He will doubtless turn out to be equally incompetent, but he/she will have the twin advantages of turning up sooner and charging you precisely nothing.
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    Um, surely its not a good thing if he's incompetent?:confused:
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    (Original post by zyzzyzus)
    Um, surely its not a good thing if he's incompetent?:confused:
    No, but if you think about it, it's a necessary evil that they are incompetent. If they weren't no one would pay for a solicitor, which would mean people who would make good solicitors would probably do something else which makes more money, which means you're back to having only incompetent ones for free.
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    My dad just says to say no comment...
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    (Original post by zyzzyzus)
    I've been watching Judge Judy and just had a thought.

    When you get arrested, your allowed a solicitor to talk to, but I don't know any solicitors. So if I suddenly got arrested, how would I go about finding one? I know the police provide you one if you haven't got one, but how do you know they are any good?
    You don't know. You get given one if you don't already have your own solicitor. If you do, you can call them but you might well have to pay them for their [presumably] more expert services.

    You should probably know that Judge Judy is about as good a reflection of the legal system as Barney is of real life.
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    (Original post by zyzzyzus)
    My dad just says to say no comment...
    "You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

    No comment isn't always the best policy, particularly when the offence is one which could be dealt with conservatively in return for an admission of guilt, or one which is likely to go to trial

    OP I'd recommend going with the duty solicitor, to be honest. They deal with this situation all day every day, so they know the police officers, they know what stance the police are likely to take and they know how to put things across so you come out as intact as possible. If necessary you can always pay for a solicitor if you need to go to trial, but the duty solicitor's job is really to safeguard your interests as best as possible while you are actually at the police station, and make sure everything that happens to you is by the letter of the law, and they tend to be pretty good at that.
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    (Original post by Vohamanah)
    "You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

    No comment isn't always the best policy, particularly when the offence is one which could be dealt with conservatively in return for an admission of guilt, or one which is likely to go to trial

    OP I'd recommend going with the duty solicitor, to be honest. They deal with this situation all day every day, so they know the police officers, they know what stance the police are likely to take and they know how to put things across so you come out as intact as possible. If necessary you can always pay for a solicitor if you need to go to trial, but the duty solicitor's job is really to safeguard your interests as best as possible while you are actually at the police station, and make sure everything that happens to you is by the letter of the law, and they tend to be pretty good at that.
    No comment is best unless they charge you with something.

    For example, say you were being questioned for burglary during the riots, and they have CCTV of you at the scene, even if you didn't steal anything.

    You say to them, yes, it's me, but I didn't steal anything. Well done, you just made their case a whole lot easier.

    Without that they would have had to prove BRD that it was you in the CCTV footage, and that's not easy with the grainy footage they had.

    Basically in the video, where they talk about the Fifth Amendment (American), it's the same as our right to remain silent.

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    (Original post by Rascacielos)

    You should probably know that Judge Judy is about as good a reflection of the legal system as Barney is of real life.
    Haha, very true!

    One thing to be aware of is that "duty solicitors" are often not proper solicitors - but legal executives or trainees deputised by local legal firms to work in police stations. They can be quite knowledgeable but there can be gaps in their knowledge and sometimes they can be not particularly sharp. That may not matter if your case is drinking whilst in charge of a bicycle but it could matter a lot if you have been falsely accused of shoplifting or an assault.

    People are right to advocate "no comment". What you always have to remember when arrested is that no matter how straightforward, sincere or nice the police might be to you (often police will use that type of approach - it isn't all beatings in the cells with rubber truncheons), they are basically trying to get you to incriminate yourself and solve their case for them. Without your self-incrimination, their work is a great deal harder.

    If you do say anything when under arrest, think about how it will sound when read out in court. If you say something like "yeah OK I did it", it can be read out by the prosecutor in court as "all this guilty and arrogant student had to say about the stealing of the bicycle was yeah OK I did it" and make that last bit sound like you couldn't care less.

    Best to stay quiet though and just answer "no comment" to everything.
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    (Original post by Dekota-XS)
    You got to make do with what solicitor you get, if you have doubts then you have no choice because you're a criminal.
    Not really, innocent until prooven guilty.
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    (Original post by marcusfox)
    No comment is best unless they charge you with something.

    For example, say you were being questioned for burglary during the riots, and they have CCTV of you at the scene, even if you didn't steal anything.

    You say to them, yes, it's me, but I didn't steal anything. Well done, you just made their case a whole lot easier.

    Without that they would have had to prove BRD that it was you in the CCTV footage, and that's not easy with the grainy footage they had.

    Basically in the video, where they talk about the Fifth Amendment (American), it's the same as our right to remain silent.

    Thanks for the out of jurisdicton legal lesson

    Like I said, staying silent isn't always the best policy. Particularly in the examples I gave of a case that could be disposed of with a warning (which requires an admission of guilt) or a case which is likely to go to trial, in which case you would have missed a vital opportunity to put your case across at the earliest possible stage. I maintain my point.
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    (Original post by Vohamanah)
    Thanks for the out of jurisdicton legal lesson

    Like I said, staying silent isn't always the best policy. Particularly in the examples I gave of a case that could be disposed of with a warning (which requires an admission of guilt) or a case which is likely to go to trial, in which case you would have missed a vital opportunity to put your case across at the earliest possible stage. I maintain my point.
    Almost every single point in that video applies in the UK. I doubt you even watched it, and just dismissed it because it is American.

    Face it, we have exactly the same right to remain silent and rights to a solicitor/attorney that they go through in that video, in fact there are very little differences between the whole process between arrest and trial in both countries.

    Who wants a warning or a caution on their record when it is completely unnecessary? In many cases the police will offer you a caution when it's easy for them and they don't have any evidence that would hold up in a court.

    Offering a caution is an easy clear up for them and they are relying on putting pressure on you to admit it, and of being scared of going to court when they know full well it won't get anywhere near a courtroom.

    The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 enables some criminal convictions to become 'spent', or ignored, after a 'rehabilitation period'. After the rehabilitation period, an ex-offender is not normally obliged to mention their conviction when applying for a job or obtaining insurance, or when involved in criminal or civil proceedings.

    No matter what the offence, the same is not true for a caution. A caution is never 'spent' and so will affect your job prospects for the rest of your life.

    Most people accept a caution without understanding it's implications. One should never accept a police caution, if they have the evidence they will charge you, you will have a criminal record if you receive a caution, a cheap conviction for the police, why make it easy for them to convict you without a judge and jury? It's just like rolling over and accepting your fate.

    Give this a read, you might find it interesting. http://pcbloggs.blogspot.co.uk/2009/...s-caution.html
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    (Original post by zara55)
    Haha, very true!

    One thing to be aware of is that "duty solicitors" are often not proper solicitors - but legal executives or trainees deputised by local legal firms to work in police stations. They can be quite knowledgeable but there can be gaps in their knowledge and sometimes they can be not particularly sharp. That may not matter if your case is drinking whilst in charge of a bicycle but it could matter a lot if you have been falsely accused of shoplifting or an assault.

    People are right to advocate "no comment". What you always have to remember when arrested is that no matter how straightforward, sincere or nice the police might be to you (often police will use that type of approach - it isn't all beatings in the cells with rubber truncheons), they are basically trying to get you to incriminate yourself and solve their case for them. Without your self-incrimination, their work is a great deal harder.

    If you do say anything when under arrest, think about how it will sound when read out in court. If you say something like "yeah OK I did it", it can be read out by the prosecutor in court as "all this guilty and arrogant student had to say about the stealing of the bicycle was yeah OK I did it" and make that last bit sound like you couldn't care less.

    Best to stay quiet though and just answer "no comment" to everything.
    A duty solicitor isn't just a law school failure, they are full fledged criminal defence solicitors, who work on a rota as duty solicitors. They have the same experience and knowledge as the CPS (Okay, not the same since CPS are barristers). Also, regarding the 'no comment' approach - that's just idiotic. If you did the crime, and you remain silent, then your likely defence WILL fail, no matter what. If you didn't, you'll just look like an idiot and waste both the police, and your time.
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    (Original post by marcusfox)
    Almost every single point in that video applies in the UK. I doubt you even watched it, and just dismissed it because it is American.

    Face it, we have exactly the same right to remain silent and rights to a solicitor/attorney that they go through in that video, in fact there are very little differences between the whole process between arrest and trial in both countries.

    Who wants a warning or a caution on their record when it is completely unnecessary? In many cases the police will offer you a caution when it's easy for them and they don't have any evidence that would hold up in a court.

    Offering a caution is an easy clear up for them and they are relying on putting pressure on you to admit it, and of being scared of going to court when they know full well it won't get anywhere near a courtroom.

    The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 enables some criminal convictions to become 'spent', or ignored, after a 'rehabilitation period'. After the rehabilitation period, an ex-offender is not normally obliged to mention their conviction when applying for a job or obtaining insurance, or when involved in criminal or civil proceedings.

    No matter what the offence, the same is not true for a caution. A caution is never 'spent' and so will affect your job prospects for the rest of your life.


    Most people accept a caution without understanding it's implications. One should never accept a police caution, if they have the evidence they will charge you, you will have a criminal record if you receive a caution, a cheap conviction for the police, why make it easy for them to convict you without a judge and jury? It's just like rolling over and accepting your fate.

    Give this a read, you might find it interesting. http://pcbloggs.blogspot.co.uk/2009/...s-caution.html
    Wrong, cautions are 'spent' as soon as they are given - Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 schedule 10
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    (Original post by marcusfox)
    Almost every single point in that video applies in the UK. I doubt you even watched it, and just dismissed it because it is American.

    Face it, we have exactly the same right to remain silent...
    Not exactly. In the UK, remaining silent can be damaging to the defendant's case. Look at the wording of the Miranda rights (the US version of a police caution):
    You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?
    Compare this to the UK caution:

    You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence
    They are fairly similar, but note the caveat in the UK version: "but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention something which you later rely on in court."

    This means that if you fail to mention anything which you could have reasonably put forward, and you later rely on this in court, the jury will be allowed to draw an adverse inference against you - usually along the lines that the defence you are now putting forward is something you have just made up since your arrest.

    A no comment interview can be very damaging to a defendant - it doesn't look good when you apply for bail, it doesn't look good at trial and it hardly helps at sentencing.

    The video you provided makes some interesting points - I have seen it before. However I would not suggest that it is good advice in every case. The advice contained in the video is a little over the top - perhaps because of the different system that the US have - i.e. the police do not have to be truthful when questioning a suspect whereas in the UK they do have to be.

    As for the original post: A lot of solicitors firms will advertise in some way. I remember somehow coming into possession of a credit card sized card which read: "If you are ever arrested, call ******* on: 0800****** 24/7". If you do not know a lawyer, one is provided - usually some poor sod from a local firm.
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    (Original post by zaliack)
    A duty solicitor isn't just a law school failure, they are full fledged criminal defence solicitors, who work on a rota as duty solicitors. They have the same experience and knowledge as the CPS (Okay, not the same since CPS are barristers). Also, regarding the 'no comment' approach - that's just idiotic. If you did the crime, and you remain silent, then your likely defence WILL fail, no matter what. If you didn't, you'll just look like an idiot and waste both the police, and your time.
    I didn't say a Duty Solicitor is a law school failure - the problem is that at many busy police stations late at night especially, people who arrested don't get a Solicitor sometimes. They get a legal executive of some kind. This is very common.

    Your point about No Comment interviews isn't really right. There may be some situations, like where you need to state an alibi or where simple explanations on your part can speedily clear a matter up and ensure the police no longer trouble you. I was really talking about situations where you know you did it or where you did something, maybe not as bad as the police are charging you with. In those kinds of situations, the police are typically trying to incrimate you and the best thing to do is not help them by getting into Q and A with experienced police officers who are good at tripping people up and know all the tricks. Typically, it's better to do No Comment in that situation. Yes, theoretically the Prosecution can make a big deal out of that, but you have your defence as well. You can just say you were scared, you couldn't collect your thoughts properly, your Solicitor advised you to make no comment, etc, etc.
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    (Original post by zaliack)
    Wrong, cautions are 'spent' as soon as they are given - Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 schedule 10
    Yes you are right, I did not realise that this had now been changed as it didn't used to be the case.
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    Couple of points here:

    (Original post by zyzzyzus)
    My dad just says to say no comment...
    (Original post by marcusfox)
    No comment is best unless they charge you with something.
    Without meaning to sound more authoritative (since I'm not, by any means!), Inner Temple is right. This area of law is particularly thorny, but the best strategy is to use a pre-prepared statement. As you've rightly identified, the problem with saying anything is that it could be misconstrued or used against you, but if you stay totally silent, any version of events you give later is likely to be attacked for being fabricated after you were arrested (thus allowing adverse inferences).

    With the pre-prepared statement, essentially you're mentioning all of the relevant facts at the time of being questioned, but by submitting your statement in writing, you have the opportunity to draft it (with your lawyer) beforehand.

    (Original post by zaliack)
    A duty solicitor isn't just a law school failure, they are full fledged criminal defence solicitors, who work on a rota as duty solicitors. They have the same experience and knowledge as the CPS (Okay, not the same since CPS are barristers). Also, regarding the 'no comment' approach - that's just idiotic. If you did the crime, and you remain silent, then your likely defence WILL fail, no matter what. If you didn't, you'll just look like an idiot and waste both the police, and your time.
    For what it's worth, the CPS employs solicitors. A fair few now have advocacy rights, so they can actually do the courtroom stuff.
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    (Original post by zara55)
    Your point about No Comment interviews isn't really right. There may be some situations, like where you need to state an alibi or where simple explanations on your part can speedily clear a matter up and ensure the police no longer trouble you. I was really talking about situations where you know you did it or where you did something, maybe not as bad as the police are charging you with.
    That could be just the type of situation where going no comment could be very damaging. Say you are in for murder - an old woman found dead in her bed. Broken window and the police catch you through a DNA match. In reality, you did not murder her - a relative with a key let themselves in earlier and killed the old dear. You, on the other hand, attempted to break in to do a spot of burgling. You smash the window and step inside but get spooked when a car drives by - you do a runner.

    Being upfront and admitting to the real reason as to why you were in the house would be a good idea.

    In those kinds of situations, the police are typically trying to incrimate you and the best thing to do is not help them by getting into Q and A with experienced police officers who are good at tripping people up and know all the tricks.
    Really depends what sort of tricks you think the police will use, bearing in mind the relevant code of practice.

    Typically, it's better to do No Comment in that situation. Yes, theoretically the Prosecution can make a big deal out of that, but you have your defence as well. You can just say you were scared, you couldn't collect your thoughts properly, your Solicitor advised you to make no comment, etc, etc.
    Yes, you can say you were flustered - but the jury are entitled not to accept this.

    Yes, you can say that you answered no comment because you were advised to - but the legal advice given will be explored and again, the jury may reject this reason.

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