Criminal Legal Advice and Assistance is a form of Legal Aid that covers a variety of Criminal Law matters. Generally speaking, Advice and Assistance relates to the initial work that is carried out on your behalf, and generally involves work carried out outside of court.
Whether or not you qualify for Criminal Advice and Assistance is assessed exclusively on the basis of your means. This is applied for by providing your solicitor with your financial details including income, capital, and where relevant, your partner’s income or capital. Allowances are made for your partner and any children you have. We offer a free assessment on whether or not you qualify for any form of Legal Aid, however there is also a useful Online Calculator provided by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) to indicate whether or not you are likely to be eligible or not. There are however a number of factors to be taken into consideration which one of our solicitors would be happy to discuss with you. You may qualify without having to pay anything towards your legal costs, or you may have to pay a contribution.
In all cases where SLAB require your financial details, they will also require vouching of your means. This means you will be required to produce a copy of a wage slip, benefit awards letter or bank statement. Bringing such documentation with you to your appointment saves time later and will allow the process to be completed quicker.
The most common types of work covered by Criminal Legal Advice and Assistance are:
- Police interviews
- DWP interviews (Benefit Fraud)
- Initial meeting
- Work prior to a not guilty plea being entered in summary proceedings
- Advice relating to Fixed Penalties and Fiscal Fines
Where you are required to be represented at court, in certain circumstances Advice by way of Representation (ABWOR) may be available to you, which is assessed on similar financial criteria to Criminal Advice and Assistance. This is generally where you wish to plead guilty to the charges against you at the earliest possible opportunity, or in relation to certain matters following a conviction.
Where you wish to plead not guilty in Summary proceedings, we will require to apply for Criminal Legal Aid on your behalf in order to carry out the work following your initial plea. Generally, where you instruct us to enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf at a pleading diet and we consider that you are likely to be granted Criminal Legal Aid, we will carry out the initial work up until the plea of not guilty is entered on your behalf without applying for Criminal Legal Advice and Assistance.
All of our offices offer Legal Aid, to find out more contact one of our Glasgow Solicitors, Falkirk Solicitors or Fife Solicitors by filling out the form below, clicking send to submit and we will contact you, or alternatively contact us on the appropriate number above.