Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors can advise on civil asset recovery proceedings such as Restraint Orders under Section 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
The Court may impose a Restraint Order even before a trial – for example, in a fraud case.
Restraint Orders are applied to assets before a trial, if those assets might be the subject of a Confiscation Order once a conviction is obtained. The Order prevents the assets being disposed of.
A Restraint Order in effect freezes an asset until the trial is over – such as a property overseas or a bank account, which might have been acquired as a result of criminal activity or is linked to criminal activity.
However, in some cases, property or financial assets might have been legitimately acquired – and it is vital to take legal advice from a specialist criminal solicitor as soon as possible if it is likely a Restraint Order will be involved in a criminal prosecution, such as fraud, drugs offences, trafficking, prostitution or money laundering.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or another agent – such as an officer of HMRC – may apply for a Restraint Order at any stage of a case, including from the start of a criminal investigation, or at any stage of a criminal charge or court proceedings.
A criminal investigation is defined under Section 88 (2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act. At the start of a criminal investigation, the CPS or agent applying for a Restraint Order must provide enough evidence that a defendant has benefited financially from criminal activity before the Court can grant a Restraint Order – mere suspicion that a defendant might have benefited financially is not sufficient for a Court to grant a Restraint Order.
Once a Restraint Order is granted, a defendant may be required to disclose by affidavit to the CPS details of any assets such as bank accounts and property and their location – including overseas assets.
In cases where assets are held outside the jurisdiction of England & Wales, the Court may also order the assets to be returned to the jurisdiction of England & Wales; for example, transferring sums held in offshore accounts to bank accounts in England or Wales, which will be frozen.
Defendants in a case may be allowed to receive a living income from Restrainted assets, in order to pay living expenses.
A Restraint Order is also only likely to be applied for if the assets remain at a certain level once the living income has been calculated.
However, it is vital to contact Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors as soon as possible if there is a possibility that a Restraint Order will be applied for, to avoid errors and misjudgements which may later prejudice the outcome of a criminal investigation or proceedings, or any assets held by a defendant in a criminal investigation.
Duncan Lewis has considerable expertise in advising on all aspects of Restraint Orders – and how to protect any financial assets or property rightfully held.
The Duncan Lewis Crime Department is ranked in Legal 500 2014 for its General Crime and White Collar Fraud Work.
Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors have acknowledged expertise in case building based on a sound knowledge of the criminal justice system – and a successful track record in criminal cases involving Restraint Orders.
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 fraud cases.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide in England and Wales – and a criminal defence solicitor from Duncan Lewis can usually reach a client at a police station or court within 45 minutes.
We aim for the best possible outcome for clients facing Restraint Order proceedings – call Duncan Lewis motoring offence solicitors 020 7923 4020 for expert legal advice on Restraint Orders.
For 24/7 help at a police station, call the Duncan Lewis Emergency Hotline on 020 7275 2036.
Duncan Lewis advises clients who are facing Restraint Order Proceedings to contact us as soon as possible.
Duncan Lewis Criminal Solicitors can advise even before a criminal charge is brought – as well as advising on Restraint Orders at any stage of a criminal investigation or proceedings.
Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors are a leading provider of Legal Aid criminal defence services.
Legal Aid is means tested and may only be available in certain circumstances, however – Duncan Lewis can advise further on Legal Aid at the initial client meeting.
In cases where a client may not be eligible for Legal Aid, Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors offer competitively-priced fee levels for private client representation – with fixed fees and advance notice of costs whenever possible.
In some cases, after the event insurance may also be a funding option.
Call Duncan Lewis Criminal Solicitors to discuss Restraint Orders on 020 7923 4020.