Suspects under arrest at a police station are automatically entitled to free legal advice from a criminal defence lawyer.
Legal Aid – also known as public funding – is, however, means tested and this means that some defendants may not be eligible for Legal Aid if a case goes to a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court.
Defendants with an income of £12,475 or less will always be granted Legal Aid in criminal cases. However, defendants with higher incomes will have to apply for Legal Aid.
There are several factors taken into account by the Legal Aid Agency when assessing whether a defendant is eligible for public funding for their case.
The Legal Aid Agency takes into account a defendant’s income, living expenses (including rent) and whether or not they are supporting children before deciding on whether to award public funding for a case.
If a defendant is turned down for Legal Aid, it is possible to ask for a review of any additional outgoings they have to pay if these have not been taken into account in the original application for Legal Aid.
The Legal Aid Agency will also take into account the merits of a case when considering awarding Legal Aid to a defendant. This might involve consideration of the nature of an offence and whether a custodial sentence might be likely, as well as whether a defendant has previous convictions.
It is possible to appeal against a decision not to award Legal Aid on the basis of the IoJ test.
There are some circumstances, however, when a defendant will automatically be awarded Legal Aid to pay for their defence costs regardless of the means test and if they have passed the IoJ Test – known as passporting.
Legal Aid will automatically be granted if a defendant is a minor (under 18) and is in receipt of certain welfare benefits:
Duncan Lewis is one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid services and will advise clients on their eligibility for Legal Aid to defend criminal charges once a case has been assessed.
The Duncan Lewis Crime Department is ranked in Legal 500 2014 for its General Crime and White Collar Fraud Work.
Duncan Lewis crime lawyers have acknowledged expertise in case building based on a sound knowledge of the criminal justice system – and the ability to assemble compelling evidence and documentation in criminal cases, including highly technical and complex road traffic cases, as well as serious crime.
Duncan Lewis represents clients at Police Stations, Magistrates’ Courts, Crown Courts, and at Appeal Courts such as the Court of Appeal – and has highly experienced Higher Court Advocates with a background in conducting serious matters such as murder and rape.
We aim for the best possible outcome for clients facing criminal charges from the pre-investigation stage of a charge onwards – call Duncan Lewis any time on 020 7923 4020 for expert legal advice on criminal charges.
For 24/7 help at a police station in England and Wales, call the Duncan Lewis Emergency Hotline on 020 7275 2036.
All Duncan Lewis crime lawyers are police station representatives and can advise on criminal charges even before a charge is brought, when errors or misjudgements may occur and prejudice the outcome of a case for a client.
Clients should get in touch as soon as possible if it is likely they may face criminal charges or a criminal investigation, including charges relating to serious crime and white collar crime such as fraud, violent crime (murder, rape, domestic abuse, child abuse) and criminal charges relating to terrorism offences.
Once a hearing is scheduled at a Magistrates’ Court, Duncan Lewis will prepare a case thoroughly to make sure that the outcome is in the client’s best interests whenever possible, including advising defendants on Crown Court representation for indictable offences.
Duncan Lewis is a leading provider of Legal Aid criminal defence services –Legal Aid is means tested and may only be available in certain circumstances.
Duncan Lewis will advise further on Legal Aid funding at the initial client meeting.
If a client is not eligible for Legal Aid, Duncan Lewis crime lawyers also offer competitively-priced fee levels for private client representation at a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court, with fixed fees and advance notice of any costs whenever possible.
Call Duncan Lewis Criminal Defence Solicitors to discuss Legal Aid funding for a criminal case on 020 7923 4020.