Criminal Legal Aid – do you qualify?
Police Station Interviews
Anyone who is interviewed by the Police under caution, is entitled to free and independent legal advice. This means that whether you are under arrest, or due to attend the Police Station voluntarily, you are entitled to free legal representation. There is no means test and everyone qualifies, providing you are to be interviewed under caution. Legal representation at the police station is very important, as what you choose to do or say in interview can have a huge bearing on the outcome of a case.
Criminal Court proceedings
There is a two stage test for anyone who is hoping to apply for legal aid:
1. Means test – this part of the test looks at your income. If you are in receipt of certain benefits, you will automatically qualify. If you are working but on low income, you may also qualify.
2. Interests of justice test – the usual test is whether the person is at risk of receiving a prison sentence, however, there are other criteria such as a requirement to challenge expert evidence or if a person suffers with medical issues which would render them unable to present their own case.
We can usually ascertain over the phone whether you would be entitled to Legal Aid, by asking you a few questions. However, we also offer a free half an hour consultation to discuss whether you are eligible and how we can help, if you would prefer to discuss your case with us face to face.
If you would like to talk about a forthcoming Police Station interview or a Court attendance and you would like to know whether you are eligible for Legal Aid, please contact our criminal solicitors, David Latham and Shelley Dundee, for telephone advice or a free initial consultation.