Criminal Defence Solicitors

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Criminal Defence Solicitor

For the best possible outcome

Facing criminal charges can affect not only your personal freedom but also your future. No matter the charge, the stakes are high. If you’re found guilty, outcomes range from fines to community orders such as unpaid work through to severe consequences like imprisonment.

Beyond the immediate legal ramifications, being charged with a criminal offence can also have an impact on your personal life, job security and reputation. In such a critical situation, it's essential to get expert legal advice to navigate the complexities of criminal law and safeguard your rights.

Specialising in a range of criminal offences, the team of criminal defence solicitors at Switalskis is fully equipped to guide you through the process of defending a criminal charge. We tackle each case with the care and attention it needs, offering straightforward and compassionate advice at every turn.

Whether you're facing a minor civil charge or something much more serious, we're committed to defending your rights and minimising the impact on your life. With Switalskis, you're not just getting help from a solicitor; you're gaining a supportive team dedicated to securing the best possible outcome for you.

Our range of expertise includes:

  • Police station representation - if you’ve been arrested and taken to a police station, we can represent you when you need it most. All advice we offer at the station is free, and we have a 24-hour emergency callout service.
  • General crime - our criminal defence solicitors can help you if you’ve been accused of sexual offences, drug assaults, theft, burglary and public order offences.
  • Fraud and business crime - our business crime team specialises in serious fraud, tax fraud and asset seizures for organisations of all sizes. We can provide representation in regulatory investigations and actions, and we will aim to reduce the possibility of serious penalties for businesses.
  • Motoring offences - losing your driving licence can have serious consequences on your career, your family life and your personal relationships. If you’re being prosecuted for a motoring offence, we’ll advise you on minimising the impact the offence has upon you.

To discuss your specific circumstances and find out how we can help, call us today on 0800 1380 458, or reach out to us via our website.

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How Switalskis can help you

When you call us, we'll start with a consultation to understand your situation. We'll assess how strong your case is and walk you through what the legal process looks like, so you know what to expect, whether you’re due to be interviewed by the police at a police station or have already been charged and are due to appear in court.

Our team will be with you every step of the way. We'll make it easy for you to understand what's going on by explaining any legal terms in straightforward language, and we’ll take on the bulk of the legal responsibility. We understand that you’re likely going through a tough time, and we'll tailor our advice to meet your needs.

All our solicitors have been qualified for a minimum of 10 years under the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) to practise as duty solicitors in the Magistrates’ court and police stations.

With Switalskis, you can rest easy knowing you have seasoned legal professionals fighting to defend your rights. We'll steer you through each stage of your case, making sure you're informed and confident about your decisions.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What kind of cases can Switalskis help with?

Our expert solicitors work across many areas of criminal law, including serious and violent crimes, as well as fraud. Collectively, the team has many years of experience and includes a barrister and two solicitor advocates who can provide the full range of services you might need. We can represent you before courts at all levels, and will always work to secure the best possible outcome for your situation.

With our strong track record, we aim to give you the peace of mind that you’ll receive consistent advice. You’ll also be able to retain our services if you need to take your case to a higher court, as our lawyers can represent clients at all levels, including the
Court of Appeal.

Defending a criminal offence

Facing criminal charges can be a daunting experience. Our dedicated team of criminal defence solicitors understands this, and we’re here to take on the legal burden, making sure you're informed and confident at every stage.

Although criminal defence cases can vary depending on the circumstances of the offence, here's a quick guide to how the defence process can look:

Step 1: Initial consultation

Whether you’re arrested or informed in another way that criminal charges are being brought against you, get in touch with our criminal defence team. We'll have a chat about your situation to give you an idea of what you might be up against. We can advise you on the best approach to take and how you should plead.

Step 2: Building your defence

If you decide to plead not guilty, we'll start gathering all the evidence we need to build a strong defence. The nature of the evidence will vary depending on the offence but could include CCTV footage, witness statements, digital communications, medical records and written reports of any interactions with law enforcement or other parties involved.

Step 3: Court proceedings

All of the evidence we’ve gathered and the argument we’ve built in your defence will be presented at trial. In criminal offence proceedings, there may be a number of court hearings, including a final trial. You can trust us to present your case effectively and fight for your rights whether the matter concludes in the magistrates’ court or is dealt with at the Crown Court.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty after a trial, we can assist at your sentencing hearing to make sure that you achieve the best possible result.

Throughout this journey, we'll keep you in the loop and stay in regular communication so you can make informed decisions. We’ll also help you understand any bail conditions or restrictions that might apply and make sure you’re not at risk of facing further penalties by breaching these rules.

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What are the time limits for defending a criminal offence charge?

How your case proceeds and the length of time it can take will vary due to the wide range of factors that can impact it. These include the specific charges you’re facing, the nature of any police investigation, which court deals with it and the availability of court time to accommodate hearings.

If you’re charged with an offence by the police, you’ll typically need to attend court to enter a plea within 4 to 12 weeks.

You may also be summoned to answer charges at court by a letter known as a postal requisition. You may receive a postal requisition without warning and without any previous contact with the police. If you receive one, you’re likely to need to attend court within a similar timescale, meaning within a maximum of 12 weeks.

A guilty plea in the Magistrates’ court often results in the case being dealt with on the first occasion, but not in every case. We can provide more detailed advice on this when we have reviewed the evidence related to your case.

A not guilty plea means that there’ll be at least one further hearing. If the case remains in the Magistrates’ court, the second hearing will probably be the trial itself. If the case is sent to the Crown Court, there will probably be more hearings.

How much does our criminal defence service cost?

It’s impossible to say exactly how much it’ll cost to defend against a criminal offence charge, as every case is different. The only way to get an accurate estimate is to contact Switalskis for a free initial consultation. We’ll assess your case, estimate the fees and break everything down for you to make sure you understand the financial implications before you decide to proceed.

In certain circumstances, we offer a fixed-fee service. These don’t factor in outside costs, which you may have to pay separately, but are usually inclusive of our handling of your case, right up to representation in court. We currently charge VAT on all our services and third-party disbursements at 20%.

Any advice and assistance we provide at a police station interview is free of charge.

Court proceedings

Guilty plea and mitigation

For representation at a single hearing for a guilty plea and mitigation, in relation to cases that conclude in the Magistrates’ court we charge a fixed fee of £720 (inclusive of VAT).

This fee is subject to the following:

We can typically only offer this service within West Yorkshire. We may be able to offer it elsewhere, but this could result in additional costs that will need to be agreed beforehand.

  • The £720 fee is only for attendance at court on the day of the hearing. If a one-hour office appointment is needed prior to the court hearing then the fee will increase to £840 (inclusive of VAT).
  • The above fees do not cover ‘special reasons’ hearings.

In some cases, you’ll need to pay for the services of third parties in addition to our fees (disbursements). For example, there may be costs to instruct an expert witness, such as in cases where a psychiatric report is needed. This will typically cost between £1,000 and £2,000 (plus VAT), but this depends on the specifics of each case.

You may also need to pay for reports that can be used in evidence, for example, if you’re contesting a drink driving charge. Such reports typically cost up to £1,000 (plus VAT).

Not guilty pleas

If you’re pleading not guilty, you will need representation at a trial in the Magistrates’ court unless your case is being transferred to Crown Court, and we’ll be able to represent you for a fixed fee. This fee is typically between £1,000 and £2,000 (plus VAT) if you’re represented by one of our solicitors, and between £2,000 and £5,000 (plus VAT) if you’re represented by our in-house barrister Jim Littlehales.  

We’ll agree to a fixed fee with you before you decide to begin the legal process with us. The amount of this fee will also depend upon the complexity of the case and the length of the trial. If we have to travel to venues other than Leeds Magistrates’ Court or Leeds Crown Court, we will charge for mileage and travel time.

Special reasons or exceptional hardship

Jim Littlehales is our specialist in-house barrister, dealing with motoring offences, and is supervised by Michael Devlin . In cases where he’s asked to argue special reasons or exceptional hardship, we typically charge between £2,000 and £4,000 (plus VAT). However, this fee will depend on the venue and complexity of the case. Representation by one of our solicitors in cases of this nature will typically cost between £1,000 and £2,000 (plus VAT).

In all matters, if you’re paying for our services privately, we’ll need payment for the first court hearing before it happens. We’ll then need payment in full to cover any outstanding amount of the fixed fee before the trial date.

How are criminal defence cases funded?

In specific cases, you may be able to rely on an insurance policy to help cover your legal fees. Some cases will qualify for legal aid and in those circumstances we can help clients to apply. However, under most circumstances, you’ll need to pay your fees yourself. If we succeed in defending your case, it may be possible to recover some of your legal costs. Whether this is possible will depend on the unique details of your case. We’ll advise you on whether this may be possible during our initial conversation, so you’ll fully understand the implications of any decisions you make well in advance.

To find out how we can help, call us today on 0800 1380 458, or reach out to us via our website.

Our Criminal Defence Specialists

Photo of Michael Devlin
Michael DevlinSolicitor Advocate
Photo of Sarah Myatt
Sarah MyattSolicitor Advocate
photo of Rob Fones
Rob FonesSolicitor Advocate
Angela AmblerAccredited Police Station Advisor and Crown Court Case Worker
View more

Our latest crime updates

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Why Switalskis?

Our solicitors are experts in criminal defence. If you're facing charges, you need specialist legal advice. Our team is ready to guide you through the legal process, making what can be a daunting time run smoothly. Here’s what makes Switalskis’ service stand out:

Clarity in complexity

Criminal cases can be a tangle of confusing legal language and procedures. We always prioritise getting the best result possible for you while keeping our approach simple and efficient. We'll answer your questions, break down any confusing language and keep you in the know at every stage, so you're never left feeling lost.

Empathy at every step

We understand this is likely to be a rough time for you. We're here to listen, get the full picture and offer advice that's tailored for you. To us, you're not just another case; you're a person going through a challenging time, and we're here to help you get through it.

Expertise you can trust

When it comes to criminal defence, you need a team you can count on. With Switalskis, you're in safe hands. Our solicitors have a wealth of experience and a proven track record in handling all kinds of criminal cases. We’ll consider every circumstance to deliver the strongest possible defence for you.

Championing your rights

We're committed to making sure your voice is heard. No matter your situation, you have the right to a legal defence. We’ll make sure you’re treated properly during the whole procedure, from providing information in the police station to representing you in court.

Find out how Switalskis can help you

If you’re being accused of committing a criminal offence, don’t leave your fate to chance. Even if you feel like your innocence speaks for itself, you need a legal expert to help you put it before the court. Speak to our team as soon as possible and we will begin work to build your defence and uphold your rights. To learn more, call us today on 0800 1380 458 or contact us through our website.

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