From April 2010, Clients with cases at the Magistrates Court have to pass two tests:
1. Interests on Justice: is the case serious enough to justify legal aid, for example, is there a risk of a prison sentence or community penalty if Client pleads or is found guilty of the offence? Could there be a threat to the Client's good character or loss of employment? Does the Client have a defence to the allegation, such as self defence or mistaken identity?
Mackesyscrime solicitors will help you with the test.
2. Means Test: If you are on a passported Benefit, such as income support, JSA, ESA or pension, all we need is your national insurance number for you to qualify. The Court has direct access to the DWP computer so can confirm quickly if you are on benefits. Some times this may not be clear and we will then ask you to provide a letter from the DWP, or if payment is made into your bank account, your bank statement.
If you are (and/or your partner) working, the court requires your last wage slip and evidence of out goings such as rent/mortgage (if more than £500 per month), Council tax and any maintenance payments. Also, if you have children they will be taken into account in calculating your disposable income.
Again, we will help you with the evidence required.
If you are self employed - the application process can be complicated.
Since June 2010, all Crown Court cases are means tested.
Technically, everyone will get Legal Aid for the Crown Court, particularly if you are on Benefits.
However, if you work or are self employed, legal aid could be subject to a contribution from income and should you be found guilty, from savings and equity in your property, with the first £30,000 exempt.
The application is processed at the Magistrates Court. Again evidence of income and certain outgoings are used to calculate your 'disposable' income.
The court then calculates 90% of your disposable income, they then divide this by 12 to work out your monthly contribution - you make this contribution over 5 payments (or 6 months).
Sometimes the contribution could prove prohibitive. Mackesyscrime are often instructed privately to defend clients as our costs are often lower. We work on the basis of fixed fees for specific parts of the preparation of the case.
Always check with us if we can make a saving for you.
Legal aid is generally NOT available for motoring offences save for dangerous driving and some drink drive offences. For example, if the Client has previous for drink driving, or is found drunk in charge of a motor vehicle. There may be a technical error in the way the test was carried out or the client may have a medical problem that prevented them from giving a breath test.
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Mackesys Solicitors can help you or your arrested relative. Phone Free From Landline 0800 696 999 or from a Mobile* 0330 440 2345NOW for 30 minutes FREE Initial Advice. You can contact us 24 hours a day - 365 days a year and it won't cost you anything.
Did you know? Legal advice at the police station is free. Don't believe the police if they tell you that it will be quicker without a solicitor. This is a lie! Why should you trust someone who has just arrested you and wants to put you in prison? Friends and relatives - is someone you know 'helping police with their enquiries'? You can instruct us, on their behalf, to look after their interests.
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