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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70511
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello Just Answer, I am after a bit of advice regarding

Resolved Question:

Hello Just Answer,

I am after a bit of advice regarding a criminal matter I am going through. I was arrested 2 months ago for PWITS for having in my possession 2.5oz of Class B Cannabis, small scales, bags, £3000 cash and a further £470 cash. I stated straight away that the money was for a stag do and had collected off friends in the days before.

I returned to the police station last week and the charge has now been dropped to possession. I am due to appear in court in 10 days on the 1st July. On my charge sheet it states 'Possess a controlled drug of Class B - Cannabis / Cannabis Resin' and does not state anything about the money.

I have decided that I will be pleading guilty to this charge. The duty solicitor that represented me at the police station has now informed me that legal aid will not cover my case any more, either to do with my annual income or the charge now being dropped to possession.

My solicitor now wants a payment of 900 (750 +VAT) to represent me at court for one day and if it goes on a further day further payments would be required.

What I would like to know is would it be worth paying for my solicitor to represent me even if I am deciding to plead guilty or would I be better off making use of the duty solicitor on the day?

My current solicitor has said she is going to try to get in touch with the police and find out what their intensions are with the money. But has said this:

'Please note however that, if the police have seized the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act rather than as evidence in your case, the hearings regarding the money form a completely separate case from those regarding the Possession of Cannabis. I will make enquiries of the Officer in the Case what their intention regarding the money is'

As I would quite like this money back what would your advice be to do. I don't want to spend money on a solicitor, have to bring friends / witnesses etc in to court to testify that the money was for a stag do thus meaning more days in court as it is between 13 of us and more solicitor fees. As that would almost cost as much as the money is worth.

Please advise because I am really torn between using the duty or paying

Many Thanks

Rob Cranston
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am after a bit of advice regarding a criminal matter I am going through. I was arrested 2 months ago for PWITS for having in my possession 2.5oz of Class B Cannabis, small scales, bags, £3000 cash and a further £470 cash. I stated straight away that the money was for a stag do and had collected off friends in the days before.

I returned to the police station last week and the charge has now been dropped to possession. I am due to appear in court in 10 days on the 1st July. On my charge sheet it states 'Possess a controlled drug of Class B - Cannabis / Cannabis Resin' and does not state anything about the money.

I have decided that I will be pleading guilty to this charge. The duty solicitor that represented me at the police station has now informed me that legal aid will not cover my case any more, either to do with my annual income or the charge now being dropped to possession.

My solicitor now wants a payment of 900 (750 +VAT) to represent me at court for one day and if it goes on a further day further payments would be required.

What I would like to know is would it be worth paying for my solicitor to represent me even if I am deciding to plead guilty or would I be better off making use of the duty solicitor on the day?

My current solicitor has said she is going to try to get in touch with the police and find out what their intensions are with the money. But has said this:

'Please note however that, if the police have seized the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act rather than as evidence in your case, the hearings regarding the money form a completely separate case from those regarding the Possession of Cannabis. I will make enquiries of the Officer in the Case what their intention regarding the money is'

As I would quite like this money back what would your advice be to do. I don't want to spend money on a solicitor, have to bring friends / witnesses etc in to court to testify that the money was for a stag do thus meaning more days in court as it is between 13 of us and more solicitor fees. As that would almost cost as much as the money is worth.

Please advise because I am really torn between using the duty or paying

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I've read that.

What I need to know is what is your question about this?

What do you want to know about this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Oh sorry,


 


Well I'm struggling to figure out whether it will be worth paying for a solicitor if I'm pleading guilty as there is not much of a case to put forward. Or whether I would be better off using the duty solicitor on the day.


 


Will paying for a solicitor better me that much when I am already admitting it and pleading guilty? I've accepted that I may get a fine and community work so it would be ideal to keep costs down.


 


And if the charge is 'Possession of a class B' and that is all that is on my charge sheet, will I even need to explain the money and put across where it come from. Or will they just give it back once everything is over. I'm presuming they seized it in the first place because they thought it was related.


 


Many Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

There is absolutely no point in paying privately if legal aid is available. All criminal firms have duty solicitors. That is how work is obtained. Even if you pay privately you will only be paying a person who is at other times a duty solicitor.

If legal aid is not available though that changes the situation. You can use the duty solicitor on the first day but it won't be resolved then.

In relation to the money, if this is a POCA seizure then your only options are either to self represent or to pay privately. It is a relatively complicated section so its probably a good idea to get representation.

I wouldnt presume that this will remain a simple possession. In the circumstances it is amazing its not a PWITs. They may amend the charge.

If it remains a possession then I'm not sure they can really maintain a POCA matter. It is a lot of money and it calls for an explanation.

However, you do make a good point. It often costs more to reclaim your funds than they are worth. You can get a costs order up to legal aid rates but that won't be the sum you've paid.

The alternative is to self represent.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you,


 


Is it possible for them to put the charge back up then. Would they not of just charged me with PWITS in the first place?


 


If I can only make use of the duty solicitor on my first day, would I need to pay for a solicitor for the rest of the days if it was to take more than one day.


 


Generally how many days would a charge like this take and how much should I be looking to pay for a solicitor?


 


Thanks


 


 


Rob

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Oh yes, they amend the charge all the time.

They should have brought the right charge originally but that doesn't mean they have.

Yes, if the matter is not resolved on the first occasion you would have to pay or self represent.

How long it would take depends. If this remains a simple possession then they may want a pre sentence report and adjourn off for that to happen. If it is a PWITs though then they coudl send it to the Crown Court for hearing.

Probably only two or three further hearings.
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