Criminal cases classification in England
Criminal cases in England are split up into categories based on the type of crime.
All criminal cases begin in the Magistrates Court, however the most serious cases (such as murder) will only be in the Magistrates Court for the first appearance.
Classification of criminal offences
In England, there are three categories of cases in the criminal court system:
Summary only offences
These are the less serious offences such as:
- motoring offences
- less serious assaults
- other regulatory offences
Either way offences
More serious offences, examples of which are:
- actual bodily harm
- wounding (not with intent)
- more serious assaults
In these cases the Magistrates themselves will decide if the case is too serious for them to deal with and if their sentencing powers are sufficient should you plead or be found guilty. If the Magistrate decides that their powers are sufficient then you will have the choice of taking your trial in the Magistrates court or in front of a jury in the Crown Court.
Indictable only offences
These are the much more serious offences such as:
The first hearing will be in the Magistrates court. Often with these cases the police have refused to grant bail to court and the first hearing is often from custody.
In these cases you need a skilled advocate to make an application for bail on your behalf. There is often work to be done before the hearing to prepare for the bail application such as negotiating with the prosecutor as to what conditions they may be prepared to accept.
Contact us for more information.