The type of offence with which you are charged will influence the type of court that deals with the matter. Furthermore, the type of police station interview you give can influence whether you are charged at all, and if so with what. That is why the police station should be considered an important "venue" in its own right, and why it is so important for us to represent you there free of charge.

Generally speaking, the more "routine" cases are dealt with in the Magistrate's court, where the court's sentencing powers are more limited in comparison to those of the Crown court.

There are a number of offences that can only be dealt with in the Magistrate's court, such as excess alcohol, speeding, no insurance, failing to provide specimens and driving without due care and attention. Some offences are called either way offences. They can be dealt with in either the Magistrate's court or the Crown court such and include offences such as dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving. Only a few offences can be dealt with in the crown court alone, e.g. causing death by dangerous driving.

Regardless of the offence with which you are charged, the first hearing will always be in the Magistrate's court. With matters that can be dealt with in either court, this first hearing will be used to determine the court to hear the matter, either for sentence on a guilty plea or a trial on a not guilty plea. For the rare motoring cases that can only be heard in the crown court, then the first hearing in the Magistrate's court will simply be a procedural hearing where the matter is "sent" to the crown court.

A defendant will have a say on venue where the matter is either way and the magistrates are happy to deal with it. At those hearings, the crown court can be elected. This is a decision that needs careful consideration and one that is not to be taken likely. We will work with you to advise on this issue.