Homicide Offences

Murder and manslaughter are two of the offences that constitute homicide.

They are, of course, very serious and complex offences which carry very serious consequences. In brief, Murder is causing the death of another person with the intention to cause death or Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH). The intention to cause death or GBH need not be to the person ultimately killed. You could therefore be guilty of Murder if you intend to kill or cause GBH to one person but inadvertently someone else is killed.

Manslaughter can be committed in a number of ways. Broadly speaking it is causing death to another person but the intention to kill or cause GBH may not have been present.

Anyone convicted of Murder will be sentenced to “life imprisonment” which will have either a minimum term tariff, (Minimum period of detention), or  “whole life tariff” attached to it. The sentence for Manslaughter is really dependent on the circumstances but will usually attract a prison sentence.

All our fee earners are very experienced in dealing with clients arrested and charged with homicide offences. If you are suspected of or charged with, or are concerned for someone suspected of or charged with a Homicide offence you should contact our expert team for further advice.

Violence Offences

The Offences Against The Person Act 1861 defines a number of different types of assault. These vary in seriousness and therefore the severity of the penalty that can be imposed.

Listed below in decreasing order of severity of the penalty which can be imposed, the offences are:

  1. Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) – Wounding (with intent)
  2. Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) – Wounding (without intent)
  3. Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
  4. Common Assault (Including Battery)

Additionally, The Police Act 1996 provides for offences in relation to police officers which include Assaulting, Resisting or Wilfully Obstructing a Police Officer in the Execution of His/Her Duty

We are very experienced in representing clients either arrested or charged with offences of violence, speak to one of our experienced lawyers.

Grevious Bodily Harm (s18 and s20 GBH)

There are two separate offences of GBH: they are GBH with intent (to cause grievous bodily harm) Sec 18 and GBH without intent Sec 20.

Grievous Bodily Harm is defined as ‘really serious bodily harm’.

The important distinction when it comes to sentencing is whether there is intent to cause grievous bodily harm or lack of intent.

If the attacker only intended to cause ‘some harm or pain’ and not ‘grievous bodily harm’ then this is a less serious offence carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and may be dealt with by either the Crown or Magistrates Court.

If there was intent then the offence will be dealt with by the Crown Court and can carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Actual Bodily Harm (ABH – s47)

Actual bodily harm is an offence where harm has been caused, but the only intention of the attacker was to assault the victim. The distinction here is the lack of intent to cause injury. The harm caused will often be more minor such as cuts and bruises.

The prosecution therefore only have to prove that an assault was carried out, in addition to showing that bodily harm was caused; they do not have to show that actual bodily harm was intended.

ABH is an either way offence and may be dealt with in the Magistrates or Crown Court. This offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

Common Assault (s39)

Common Assault is when someone either applies unlawful force to another person (for example by hitting or slapping- battery), or makes them afraid that immediate force will be used against them.

Significantly there does not need to be any injury caused.

Common assaults are offences which can only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court. These offences are usually dealt with by a fine or a community penalty but the maximum sentence is 6 months’ imprisonment.

Offences In Relation To Police Officers

The Police Act 1996 establishes specific offences of Assaulting, Resisting or Wilfully Obstructing a Police Constable in the execution of his duty.

These offences can only be tried in the Magistrates’ Court. They can include a wide variety of behavior. These types of offences are commonly faced by protesters during demonstrations.

In order for the offence to be committed, it must be proven that the police constable was acting in the execution of his duty. This is not limited to when the officer is ‘on duty’ and the officer need not be in uniform.

There is no definitive list of circumstances in which an officer will, (or will not be), acting in the execution of his duty. However, if the officer unlawfully interferes with a person’s liberty, for example, by way of an assault, unlawful arrest or trespass, he may not be acting in the execution of his duty.

Self-defence or the defence of another may be available, however, it may be difficult to persuade a court that it was necessary to defend oneself against a police constable acting in the execution of his duty. In addition, there is no need to establish that an individual knew that the person he assaulted was a police officer.  For example, if a genuine mistake is made where a plain clothed police officer exercises powers that he has without identifying himself, this may amount to a defence.

The offences of resisting and willfully obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty suggest that some action is required. Therefore, deliberately delaying police entry to premises or giving false information could amount to willful obstruction, however, refusing to answer police questions or refusing to accompany an officer (whilst not under arrest), may not. This is subject to certain exceptions, as it is an offence for someone to refuse to provide their name and address when asked by a police officer who has reason to believe they are acting in an anti-social manner.

Offences against the police are viewed seriously by the Courts, and if convicted, you could face up to six months in custody or a £5,000 fine, or both.

Firearms & Weapons

ESL’s team of specialist criminal solicitors are available to defend you against any firearms or weapons offence(s). Whether you are facing an allegation of possessing a firearm, a bladed article or an offensive weapon, our specialist team has vast experience in dealing with offences involving weapons.

We provide 24 hour legal help and advice, offer police station assistance, and regularly deal with firearms and weapons crimes before the Magistrates’ Courts and Crown Courts.

Firearm Offences

A firearm is defined as a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged. Not just weapons, but the components of weapons and accessories such as silencers are also prohibited. The law also prohibits ownership of some imitation firearms.

Many firearms offences are strict liability offences. This means that if a relevant firearm or just ammunition is found in your possession and you do not hold a valid firearm certificate, you are guilty of an offence even if you were unaware that you had the item.

However, there are a number of exemptions that may apply.

Shotguns

It is not necessarily an offence to possess a shotgun without a certificate. Depending on its technical properties, a shotgun may fall outside the category of a prohibited firearm. If the weapon is de-activated, or an antique, it may be exempt.

Air guns

Air guns are not prohibited by the law unless they are specifically dangerous. Paintball guns are a type of air weapon and fall outside the scope, unless they are specifically dangerous or considered to be imitation firearms.

Tasers

A hand-held device (sometimes called a stun gun) designed to stun a victim by way of electric shock is a prohibited weapon under the Firearms Act, even if it does not work properly.

CS Gas

It is an offence to possess any weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid gas, which includes CS Gas. The fact that you did not know or suspect that it was a prohibited weapon does not constitute a defence.

Firearms offences are a complex area of law, so call our expert team on 01179525777, who will be able to fully advise you on your options before you make a decision on whether to plead guilty or not guilty.

Offensive Weapons & Bladed Articles

Unlike firearms, it is not unlawful to possess an offensive weapon or bladed article in a private place. However, if you are found with such an item in a place that is accessible to the public, this is an offence unless you had lawful authority or reasonable excuse for having an offensive weapon with you. You will need to have lawful authority or good reason to possess a bladed article (an item with a blade or sharp point) in public. There is no fixed definition of what constitutes a “good reason”. It will be a matter for the court to decide based on all the circumstances.

An offensive weapon is any item made, adapted or intended to cause injury or intended by the person having it with him for such use. An innocent motive for carrying an offensive weapon or a bladed article can sometimes amount to a reasonable excuse or good reason, for example as part of a fancy-dress costume. Other defences include having the weapon in question for use at work, for educational purposes, for religious reasons or as part of a national costume.

The fact that you had an offensive weapon or a bladed article with you for your own protection will not generally constitute a defence unless you can show that you feared an imminent attack.

 Call ESL on 01179525777, if you are arrested or charged with a weapons or bladed article offence.

Sentencing

Certain firearms offences carry a minimum five-year prison sentence. The minimum sentence may be reduced if the Court finds exceptional circumstances.
You could be facing life imprisonment for other firearms offences depending on the circumstances. It is therefore essential to seek expert legal advice from ESL, who can make representations on your behalf.

If you are found in possession of a bladed article or an offensive weapon in a public place, you could be facing up to four years’ imprisonment. Furthermore, new provisions introduced in 2015 compel the Courts to impose a mandatory six-month prison sentence if you have previous convictions for possession of an offensive weapon/bladed article in a public place; unless the Court is of the opinion that there are particular circumstances which would make it unjust to do so.

Forgetfulness alone cannot be a reasonable excuse or good reason, but the combination of forgetfulness and the circumstances may amount to a defence.
ESL has extensive experience of the circumstances that are likely to constitute a defence and will always strive to achieve the best outcome for you.

The law in relation to weapon/knife related crime is complex. ESL’s team of criminal solicitors are experienced in dealing with cases involving weapons and blades and will be able to advise you thoroughly. We are also familiar with the Court’s sentencing practices and are able to make representations on your behalf to secure the most lenient sentence.

Sexual Offences

Accusations of a sexual offence can be particularly distressing for individuals and their families. The social stigma and publicity surrounding such cases often mean that reputations, relationships and careers are on the line.

Our lawyers are sensitive to the issues that these cases involve and we defend our client’s case rigorously and discreetly. Our priority is always to obtain the best possible outcome whilst limiting any reputational damage.

It is essential to seek expert advice immediately, because much can be done pre-charge. Our involvement at an early stage in proceedings frequently leads to clients avoiding charge altogether.

If matters do progress to the court stage, our lawyers are experienced in defending accusations of a sexual nature. These include:

  • Rape
  • Historic sexual abuse
  • Child sex offences
  • Grooming
  • Sexual assault
  • Gross indecency
  • Exposure
  • Making/possession of indecent images
  • Prostitution (soliciting, loitering, keeping a brothel)

Elite Solicitor’s expert lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide advice and representation throughout criminal proceedings. For more information please contact us on 0117 9525 777.

Drugs

The legal restrictions placed on the use of controlled drugs are aimed at preventing drug misuse. The principal offences relating to the misuse of controlled drugs are contained in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (“the Act”) and most of the offences dealt with in this guidance are created by the Act. Drugs are “controlled drugs” if they are specified in Parts I, II or III of Schedule 2 to the Act.

Class A

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Crack Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD
  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Amphetamines (if prepared for Injection)

Class B

  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis

Class C

  • Tranquilisers
  • Ketamine
  • Diazepam (unless prescribed by a Doctor)

Offences

The Act covers a range of offences some of which are set out below:

Possession offences:

  • Possession – s.5(1) of the Act;
  • Possession with intent to supply – s.5(3) of the Act.

Supply offences:

  • Supplying a controlled drug – s.4(3)(a) of the Act;
  • Being concerned in a supply – s.4(3)(b) of the Act;
  • Offering to supply – s.4(3)(a) of the Act;
  • Being concerned in an offer to supply – s.4(3)(c) of the Act.

Importation offences:

  • Importation (and exportation) of a controlled drug – s.170 Customs and Excise Management Act 1979,

Production offences:

  • Production of a controlled drug – s.4(2)(a) of the Act;
  • Being concerned in the production – s.4(2)(b) of the Act;
  • Cultivation of the cannabis plant – s.6(2) of the Act.

Occupier offences:

  • Permitting premises to be used for producing – s.8(a) of the Act;
  • Permitting premises to be used for supplying – s.8(b) of the Act;
  • Permitting premises to be used for smoking cannabis etc. – s.8(d) of the Act.

Opium related offences:

  • Smoking or using prepared opium – s.9(a) of the Act;
  • Frequenting a place used for opium smoking – s.9(b) of the Act;
  • Permitting premises to be used for preparing opium for smoking – s.8(c) of the Act;
  • Possessing pipes or other utensils in connection with the preparation or smoking of opium – s.9(c)(i) and (ii) of the Act.

Supply of articles offences:

  • For administering controlled drugs – s.9A(1) of the Act;
  • For preparing controlled drugs for administration – s.9A(3) of the Act.

Inchoate offences:

  • Incitement of any of the above offences – s.19 of the Act;
  • Participating in an offence (that corresponds with an offence under the Act) outside of the UK – s.20 of the Act;
  • Attempting to commit a drugs offence – Criminal Attempts Act 1981;
  • Conspiracy to commit a drugs offence – Criminal Law Act 1977;
  • Encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence – Part 2 Serious Crimes Act 2007.

Obstruction offences:

  • Obstructing (or concealing or failing to produce evidence to) a constable or other authorised person – s.23 of the Act.

Being arrested and tested for Drugs

You may be tested for drugs if you have been arrested for a legal aid trigger offence such as street robbery, burglary, car theft, handling stolen goods or supplying drugs.

You may then be taken to a police station where you may be tested to find out if you’ve taken any drugs.

You cannot be forced to provide a sample for testing; however, it is an offence to refuse to provide a sample without good cause.

Penalties

What are the penalties for Possession or Supply of drugs?

The penalty for supply or possession of a drug relates to what classification that drug has been given.

Class A drugs

Penalties for possession: Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both
Penalties for supply (dealing): Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine, or both

Class B drugs

Penalties for possession: Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both
Penalties for supply (dealing): Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both

Class C drugs

Penalties for possession: Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both

Penalties for supply (dealing): Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both.

The above penalties are given in a Crown Court. In a Magistrates Court, where less serious offences are dealt with, the maximum sentence is six months imprisonment and a £5000 fine. The actual sentence you’re likely to get will also depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The drug involved;
  • Any previous criminal record;
  • Your personal circumstances;

Drug trafficking (supply) attracts serious punishment including life imprisonment for Class A offences.

Cultivation of Cannabis

Another offence exists specifically for Cannabis production known as Cultivation of Cannabis. It is an offence for anyone to grow any form of Cannabis plant, unless they have a license for Industrial production. This Offence carries a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.

Producing & Importing Drugs

Producing Drugs

Producing Drugs means being involved in manufacturing drugs, often in large quantities and sometimes for sale. This offence carries the following penalties:

Class A Drugs – Up to life imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.

Class B Drugs – Up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both

Class C Drugs – Up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both

Allowing Premises to be Used for the Use, Supply or Production of Drugs

It is an Offence to allow premises to be used for the Use, Supply or Production of Drugs. You are guilty of an offence if you knowingly permit any of the aforementioned activities to take place on premises owned by you or under your control.

Importing Drugs

The Customs and Excise Management Act in combination with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes it an offence to import Drugs into the Country. This offence carries the following sentences:

Importing Class A Drugs carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It can be tried in either the Crown Court or the Magistrates Court.

Importing Cannabis can be tried in either the Crown Court or the Magistrates Court and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

POCA

POCA

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which provides for the confiscation or civil recovery of the proceeds from crime and contains the principal money laundering legislation in the UK.

Confiscation – Principle

The purpose of confiscation proceedings is to deprive a person of the financial benefit that he or she has obtained from criminal conduct. To do this the court must decide whether the person, has a criminal lifestyle. If it decides that he or she does have a criminal lifestyle then the Court calculates the benefit from general criminal conduct using the assumptions set out in the POCA. If it decides that he or she does not have a criminal lifestyle, the court will instead calculate the benefit from particular criminal conduct (the actual offences of which the defendant is convicted).

Our lawyers are very competent and experienced in confiscation proceedings and are able to provide you with representation.

Dishonesty Offences

Theft, robbery, handling stolen goods and burglary are classed as “dishonesty” offences.

All are serious and we advise you to seek legal representation both upon arrest, at the police station and also at court. ESL are available 24 hours a day to advise and assist you on 0117 9525777.

Our team of solicitors is competent, professional and well able to defend these types of cases.

If you are accused of any offence then contact us immediately.

Theft, Robbery, Burglary & Handling Stolen Goods

Theft

Theft is the dishonest taking of another’s property with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

Theft includes shoplifting, theft from a person or from an employer.

This offence can be heard in the Magistrate’s Court. However, more serious thefts involving high value or a breach of trust are normally sent to the Crown Court.

Theft can carry imprisonment of up to 14 years.

Robbery

Robbery involves theft but the use of violence or threats of violence must also be present.

This offence is serious and can only be tried at the Crown Court.

Robbery can carry life imprisonment.

Burglary

Burglary is committed when a person enters a building as a trespasser with the intention to commit theft, assault, damage or rape.

The offence Can be heard in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court, and can carry up to 14 years imprisonment for a dwelling and 10 years for a commercial burglary.

A dwelling (house) burglary is deemed to be more serious than a commercial burglary (factory/warehouse/outbuilding), and will normally be sent to the crown court.

Handling Stolen Goods

This offence is committed if a person has knowingly handled stolen goods or believes that they may be stolen when he comes into possession of them. Mere suspicion is not enough to be guilty of this offence.

Handling can be heard in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court and also can carry up to 14 years imprisonment.

Benefit Fraud & Fraud

Benefit Fraud

ESL’s expert team of Solicitor’s is able to offer professional advice and representation throughout any DWP investigation and prosecution.

We are on hand at any time to attend with you at interview. We will advise on defences that may be available to you and we will walk you through the procedure with sensitivity, professionalism and expertise.

Fraud

Other types of fraud can include mortgage fraud, tax fraud or credit card fraud. Other serious offences can also include money laundering or the possession of counterfeit goods.

Fraud offences are so varied and therefore the sentence range depends on the individual circumstances. Please contact us on 01179525777 for specific advice.

If you are charged with any offence then contact us immediately for detailed legal advice.

Public Order Offences

ESL’s team of specialist criminal solicitors are available to defend you against any public order offence. Whatever the offence that you are faced with, our criminal defence team have extensive experience in dealing with all types of public order matters in the Magistrates’ Court and in the Crown Court.

Advice and assistance at the police station from a solicitor of your choice is always free of charge, whether you have been arrested or you have been asked to attend for a voluntary interview, regardless of how much you earn. You may be eligible for legal aid in Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court proceedings, subject to your income. However, some of the more minor offences, such as Using foul or abusive words or behavior in a public place, are usually outside of the scope of public funding.

You can call us for a no obligation, free initial telephone consultation and we’ll happily provide you with further information

The Public Order Act 1986 contains most offences involving behavior which affects order in public places. The most common offences charged are as follows.

  • Riot
  • Violent Disorder
  • Affray
  • Threatening, abusive, insulting words or behavior with intent to cause fear, intentional harassment, alarm or distress
  • Threatening, abusive or insulting behavior

The sentences imposed for these offences vary according to the offence, the individual’s involvement and all other relevant circumstances, and range from a fine or discharge to imprisonment. Call our team for more detailed advice tailored to your circumstances.

Do you need us to represent you? Contact us for a free consultation