Magistrates’ Court Trials
As one of the leading criminal law firms in Birmingham located just across the road from Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, we are perfectly placed to defend our many clients in their Magistrate Court trials.
Purcell Parker’s experienced Magistrates’ Court solicitors and barristers also regularly represent clients in Magistrates’ Courts in the Coventry, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Worcester and Wolverhampton areas.
Will my trial take place at the Magistrates’ Court?
If you are over 18, live in England or Wales and are being charged with a crime, this process will always begin at the Magistrates’ Court. Assuming that you plead not guilty and your case proceeds to a criminal trial, the nature and severity of the allegations against you will determine whether or not your case is tried by the Magistrates’ Court, or in the case of more serious crimes referred to the Crown Court to be tried by a jury.
Summary-only offence is the term used to describe the least serious offences that are heard in Magistrates’ Courts. These include:
- Traffic offences including careless driving, drink driving and unlicensed driving. All but the most serious of traffic offences are heard at the Magistrates’ Court.
- Common assault. This is the term used to describe minor assaults where no injury or slight injury was caused.
- Section 4 and 5 of the Public Order Act which relates to verbal and behavioural offences.
Summary only offences carry a maximum sentence of 6 months which is the longest sentence Magistrates are allowed to impose for one crime.
Either-way offences are cases which can be heard either at a Magistrates’ Court or a Crown Court. If you plead not guilty to an either way offence at your first hearing at the Magistrates’ Court, your criminal defence solicitor and the prosecuting lawyer will give their opinions on whether your trial should take place at the Magistrates’ Court or, in more serious cases where a sentence exceeding six months may be required, be sent to the Crown Court.
If the Magistrates accept your case, your trial will be heard at the Magistrates’ Court.
In situations where Magistrates choose to accept your case, you have the legal right to ask for your trial to be conducted by a judge and jury at a Crown Court. Some people opt to be tried at the Crown Court for reasons including the fact that Crown Courts have a lower conviction rate. However you should only ever consider this as an option on the advice of your criminal defence solicitor.
Indictable only offences
If you have been accused of an indictable only offence such as rape, murder, manslaughter or robbery and choose to plead not guilty, your case will be sent for trial at the Crown Court by a judge and jury. However, your first court appearance will be at the Magistrates’ Court where Magistrates will make decisions including whether you should be granted bail and if any reporting restrictions should apply to your case.
Expert criminal defence for your West Midlands Magistrates’ Court trial
Whether this is your first appearance at the Magistrates’ Court or not, we understand that it is a daunting experience. The criminal defence team at Purcell Parker will do their best not just to secure the best possible outcome for your case, they will use their extensive experience to prepare you for every aspect of your Magistrates’ Court trial.
Financing your Magistrates’ Court trial
As one of the biggest legal aid law firms in Birmingham, Purcell Parker can provide legal aid for your trial if you and your case are eligible.
For motoring offences, which do not usually qualify for legal aid, our fees are as follows:
- Plea and sentence hearing – £595 plus VAT
- Additional hearings (e.g. sentence) – £395 plus VAT
- Half day Trial – £1,500 plus VAT
- Full day Trial – £2,000 plus VAT
In other situations where fees apply, we may be able to offer a competitive fixed-fee rate for your Magistrates’ Court trial.
For more information, please fill in our contact form or call us on 0121 236 9781.
All criminal cases begin at the Magistrates’ Court and many are tried there too. Purcell Parker’s highly experienced solicitors and barristers can represent you in Birmingham city centre and at Magistrates’ Courts across the West Midlands.