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After being arrested and questioned about a criminal offence, you are likely to be released on bail or under investigation while the police conduct an investigation.
We understand the stress caused by the uncertainty of the investigation process. Our proactive and skilful criminal defence solicitors will work tirelessly to minimise your chances of being charged with a criminal offence.
The period between being arrested and being charged can be lengthy, with some people being under investigation for weeks, months, or even years.
During this period, the police may approach witnesses, people you know, and gather evidence. You may also be called back to the police station for further questioning.
At Edward Fail, Bradshaw & Waterson Solicitors, we have broad experience assisting people who’ve been accused of a crime before they are charged.
High quality legal advice at this stage can lay the foundations for a strong defence at court, or even prevent a person being charged with an offence.
Criminal or regulatory investigations can affect anyone, regardless of background. Many of our clients have never faced criminal proceedings before so we deeply understand how anxious you are probably feeling.
Our criminal defence solicitors have an in-depth understanding of the legal procedures behind police investigations. Our goal is to support you throughout the process, representing you at any interviews, ensuring your legal rights are respected, and working strategically and diligently to bring the investigation to a close, preferably without any charges being brought against you.
Should you wish to discuss funding or would like further information, please get in touch with our criminal defence solicitors on 0207 790 4032 or fill in our enquiry form.
Alternatively, if you require out-of-hours assistance, please call 07841 454 170.
Criminal investigation FAQs
Do I need a solicitor for a criminal investigation?
Many people assume that there’s nothing they can do to alter the course of a criminal investigation. In fact, the opposite is true.
Instructing a criminal defence solicitor who specialises in supporting clients through investigations is invaluable. For example, for ensuring the investigation is conducted fairly, advising and representing you through any further encounters or interviews with the police, and making representations to the police and Crown Prosecution Service against charging you.
Your solicitor will also use this stage of the criminal justice process to start building your defence strategy in case you are charged, improving your chances of being found not guilty at trial.
When should I contact a solicitor?
You should contact a solicitor as early into the investigation as possible so you have the support and advice you need.
Many people will become aware of the allegations against them after they’ve been arrested and taken into custody for questioning. You are entitled to free legal advice at the police station so ensure you contact our criminal defence solicitors prior to any interviews.
Other suspects may be invited into the police station for a voluntary interview under caution. Voluntary interviews are just as serious as interviews under arrest so you should get in touch with our team prior to your appointment to prepare.
For further information about arrest and police interviews, please visit our police station page.
What happens after I’ve been released under investigation?
If you’ve been arrested by the police, after you’ve been interviewed you will likely be released under investigation or on police bail.
During the investigation, our criminal defence solicitors will take every opportunity to advise and assist you in achieving the best outcome.
After any police interview, we will carefully examine the points raised and assess whether we can argue that you should not be charged because there is no realistic prospect of conviction or because it wouldn’t be in the public interest to prosecute.
Dependant on the circumstances and available funding, we can proactively gather any available evidence which proves your innocence, including tracking and speaking to possible defence witnesses, reviewing online communications such as texts and emails, and obtaining available CCTV.
How does bail work?
If you aren’t charged within 24 hours of being taken into police custody, you may be released on bail while the police investigation continues.
Your bail might have conditions attached, such as:
- The requirement that you live at a specific address
- Not being allowed to contact or approach certain individuals (such as any alleged victims or witnesses)
- Handing your passport into the police
- Attending the police station at set times
What happens if I breach the conditions of my bail?
If you breach the conditions of your bail, you are likely to be rearrested and the custody officer at the police station will decide whether you can be charged.
If you cannot be charged, you may be released again on the same terms of bail as before while the investigation continues.
How long does a police investigation take?
How long the criminal investigation takes will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.
In some cases, the police have enough evidence to immediately refer a case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Other investigations will take a few weeks, months, or even years to conclude.
We can provide further advice on how long your investigation may take and outline any options for trying to bring the investigation to a close as efficiently as possible.
How do the Crown Prosecution Service decide whether to charge someone with a crime?
Although much of the criminal investigation process is undertaken by the police, it’s actually the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which takes the decision to prosecute.
Whether or not you are charged with an offence depends on whether the CPS thinks there is sufficient evidence to secure a conviction at court and that it would be in the public interest to prosecute.
Our aim is to cast sufficient doubt upon the evidence gathered during the investigation to prevent any charges being brought.
What happens if I’m charged with a crime?
If the CPS takes the decision to charge you, you will either be sent a summons or if you are in custody be brought to a custody officer who will read details of the offence to you. You will then be given a date to attend the Magistrates Court and either released on bail or remanded into custody until your hearing.
We can provide further advice about what the charges mean, what plea to enter, possible defence strategies, and the likely penalties if found guilty at trial.
Why choose our criminal defence lawyers in London?
Whether you’re being investigated by the police or another authority, such as the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Crime Agency, or HM Revenue and Customs, we can offer practical and professional advice and representation throughout the entire process.
We are recognised as one of the leading criminal law firms in London and the UK by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. Therefore, you can trust that our assistance is coming from a position of authority and experience.
Our team has strong links with our local community across East London, meeting with clients facing criminal charges day-in-day-out, and often travelling to police stations across the city (and the country in certain cases) to provide our specialist skills.
We enjoy an enviable success rate at helping our clients avoid criminal charges, minimising any damage to their personal and professional lives, and we are accredited by the Law Society in Criminal Litigation for our skills.
Our fees for criminal investigations
Unfortunately, legal aid is unavailable for legal services in relation to criminal investigations outside of police station representations. However, we strongly believe that justice should be accessible to all and we offer competitive private funding options designed to work for our clients’ needs.
When you get in touch with us, we’ll be happy to discuss fees and funding with you, including the possibility to working on our hourly rates within a budget or providing quotes for fixed fees.
All fee quotes will depend on the individual circumstances of your case, so please give us a call for a confidential, no obligation discussion.
Get in touch with our criminal defence solicitors in London
If would like further information, please get in touch with our criminal defence solicitors on 0207 790 4032 or fill in our enquiry form.
If you require out-of-hours assistance, please call 07841 454 170.