Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
Threatening behaviour carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment (although it is only in th most serious cases that imprisonment is imposed) so you might want to have a solicitor.
Eligibility for legal aid is decided by 2 tests. Firstly is the offence serious enough to merit legal aid. That test will probably be met in your case because there is a risk of a custodial sentence. The ecd test is a means test and if you are of sufficiently limited means (and pass the merits test) you will be entitled to legal aid.
Do you know what the limited means are? I work but am on a low salary (about 12k per year) and live with my parents. Also, how would I find a local solicitor that deals with criminal law?
In order to answer your question can you tell me: do you intend to fight the case, do you have any previous convictions, what in very general terms are you said to to have done. Is this an allegation of a racially aggravated offence?
It's a public order offence and I intend to fight the case. No previous convictions. I'm supposed to have threatened violence and tried to enter a house but I didn't do this, no, it wasn't racially aggravated. It was basically an argument with a friend.
An income of £12,000 will almost certainly entitle you to legal aid. Follow this link to an excel calculator where you will be able to assess your financial entitlement to legal aid. http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid/assess-your-clients-eligibility/crime-eligibility/criminal-eligibility-calculator
If your income is less than £12,475 then you will qualify if it is higher then you will need to work your way through the calculator and carry out the full assessment to see if you qualify. This is fairly straight forward and hopefully you can do this. But I think the short answer is that you are likely to qualify.
This doesn't sound like the most serious allegation of this type and imprisonment is unlikely. You should definitely see a solicitor and apply for legal aid with them. If you had to pay privately I would estimate fees at between £500-£1000 depending on area and the level of self regard of the lawyers concerned.
Thank you, ***** ***** just need to find a local solicitor who deals in criminal law and also offers legal aid, what's the best way to find one?
In order to find a local solicitor you could follow this link http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/ and then click on the find a solicitor tab and searc for criminal defence solicitors in your area. Alternatively you could visit the court and ask the court staff who they would recommend. The only real badge of competence that solicitors have is whether they are duty solicitors. You have to be experienced and competent to become a duty solicitor. In London virtually all the good solicitors are members of the LCCSA (London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association) and in the country as a whole membership of the Criminal Law Solicitor's Association would be a good sign.
You will not have trouble finding a solicitor who is happy to talk to you and I would say go with your instincts about the person you meet with.
I hope this answer is helpful but please feel free to ask further questions.
Thank you very much for your help