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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I'm being charged drunk and disorderly in

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I'm being charged for being drunk and disorderly in a public place in a few weeks time. Unfortunately, this is the second time I have been arrested, the first resulting in a caution for the same offence. I have a number of questions and was hoping for some answers and advice:
1) I understand it is most likely that I will receive a fine and criminal record, but is there any way I can avoid the criminal record? I've read that conditional discharge is probably the best outcome, is there any way I could push for this?
2) What should I expect at court? If I were to just appear, would I be provided a lawyer and would I be advised in any way?
3) Should I hire a lawyer? I'd be happy to do so if I thought this would benefit me, although some have raised concerns that this could be unnecessary cost if I am pleading guilty or be seen as defensive?
Background - I cannot remember the incident and did not take the opportunity to speak with a lawyer at the police station. I regret this and I'm not 100% sure of what happened in the morning due to being shocked and still, most probably, drunk. I signed what I think was my understanding of the allegations. I've given up drinking indefinitely due to this and have not decided whether or not to drink again. I'm ambitious and really would hate for this to affect future and current employment.
All advice would be appreciated.
When was your caution?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Pretty much exactly a year before this offence
OK. On your points above 1 It is possible that you could get a conditional discharge but I wouldn't rely on it. The caution is an aggravating feature. Whether you will receive a discharge depends on the features of the offence. Generally speaking, good natured drunkenness that disturbs the peace is more likely to achieve a conditional discharge than more aggressive behaviour. 2 If this is just drunk and disorderly then you will not get legal aid but it might fall under the duty solicitor scheme. 3 You won't get legal aid. Generally speaking, you are better off with representation but you do have to balance the benefit against the cost bearing in mind that you will only receive a fine anyway. Can I clarify anything for you? Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. I can't remember the incident but in the morning the police officer did comment that I wasn't 'very nice'. Pretty sure I was not violent but will have been aggressive.Honestly, I'm quite anxious about court. Any advice for what to expect would help, will I be asked to speak other than plead guilty/not guilty? If so, is there anything which can minimise the penalty or is the fine generally based on what happened?How do I find out about duty solicitor scheme and if I qualify?
I don't think it can have been that aggressive or they would have charged more serious offences.If you are unrepresented then you will be asked if there is anything you want to say about the offence.Fines are based on your weekly income and usually range between 100-150%.Just ask the usher who the duty solicitor is.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.One final note, I'm currently applying for car insurance and asks about non-motoring convictions. Do I need to declare this considering it hasn't taken place yet?
No. It isn't a motoring conviction.Unless they are ask about all convictions.I really don't think a conviction for drunk and disorderly is going to mar your future though.
You may have to declare it but it is not going to stop you getting anything.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again Jo, appreciate the prompt responses. I don't personally think it will be worth hiring a lawyer given the costs involved and so I am planning on preparing a statement in the hope it will at least show that I have taken steps to ensure it does not happen again.If you believe this is a mistake then please let me know. Otherwise, thanks for your help.
I do agree in this instance.This isn't that type of offence.They will just give you a fine or a discharge.
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