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Convicted Before A Magistrates’ Court – Can I Appeal?

Convicted Before A Magistrates’ Court – Can I Appeal?

If you have been convicted by the Magistrates’ Court you might feel aggrieved at the outcome.  It is natural that you will wish to consider a Magistrates’ Court appeal.

Your grievance may arise because you think that your case was not prepared correctly.  It might be that you believe that the Magistrates’ reached the wrong result on the evidence that was heard.

For many people, a conviction can be a major barrier to obtaining or keeping employment.  It may be an impediment to overseas travel.  This may well be the case even where the offence itself is relatively minor.

We acknowledge that the court process can be far from perfect. If you have a grievance, it is only right and proper that you consider your options. including a Magistrates’ Court appeal.

So, what can I do about it?

Magistrates' Court appeal solicitor adviceThe first thing to remember is that you must act quickly.  You only have 21 days from the date of sentencing to appeal your conviction.  As a result you should not delay in contacting us to discuss your Magistrates’ Court appeal.

If more than 21 days have passed then all might not be lost.  Please get in touch as soon as possible so that we can advise you about the possibility of an ‘out of time’ appeal.

When you contact us, we will also be able to consider and advise as to whether there are other avenues of appeal.  These may be either by way of judicial review or appeal by way of case stated.  Both of these methods of appeal are to the High Court.  These might be more suitable.

I pleaded guilty, can I appeal?

You might be able to appeal against ‘conviction’ if you pleaded guilty.  This will only be possible in limited circumstances.  These will exist only if your plea is ‘equivocal’. In this instance, there are two potential remedies that we will discuss  with you.  We will provide advice accordingly.

Do I need permission for a Magistrates’ Court appeal?

An appeal against conviction from the magistrates’ court to the crown court is what is termed ‘an appeal as of right’.  This means that you do not need any permission to appeal as long as your appeal is in time.

In effect, you are entitled to ‘2 bites of the cherry’ in terms of your conviction.  There are, however, some other issues such as sentence and costs that you should consider first.

Is my Magistrates’ Court sentence suspended pending an appeal?

Your sentence is not suspended pending appeal, although:

  • we can apply for bail if you are in custody; and
  • Apply for any driving disqualification to be suspended.

If you have been made subject to a community order, this will need to be complied with.  We will, however, take steps to try and expedite the hearing.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

magistrates' court appeal legal aid solicitorThe crown court, presided over by a Judge and Lay Magistrates (rather than a jury), will hear the case afresh.

As a result we have a valuable opportunity to review the case again on your behalf.  We will be able to identify what might have gone wrong at the first trial.  This will allow us to take steps to remedy any failures.

We can also examine what other evidence ought to the gathered on your behalf.  We can advise on any additional lines of attack that can usefully be deployed against the prosecution case.

If I lose the appeal, what happens?

If this happens then you will be re-sentenced by the crown court.  In addition you will be liable for prosecution costs. We will have an opportunity to discuss the costs implications with you in detail before you make any decision as to whether to appeal.

It is important to note that the crown court is not restricted to the same sentence imposed by the magistrates’ court.  As a result you may receive a higher penalty.

This will be one of the risks that you will need to balance.  This is also why we will at an early stage examine the other avenues of appeal with you such as judicial review and case stated.

Can I get legal aid?

magistrates' court appeal legal adviceMany people are eligible for legal aid.  We will advise you as to your eligibility when we meet with you.

If legal aid is not available for your Magistrates’ Court appeal then we will be happy to discuss fixed fee arrangements.  The cost of our high-quality representation is almost certainly much less than you might imagine it to be.

If you are successful in your appeal, and have funded your case privately, then some of your costs may be refunded to you.

Contact your nearest office for advice

magistrates' court appeal legal advice east midlandsAlthough you must act quickly in relation to your Magistrates’ Court appeal you must also consider it fully.  Please contact your nearest office to speak to a solicitor experienced in criminal law to provide you with full advice.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below and we will be in touch with you.