Can I change my solicitor while under investigation?
Yes, you can.
Probably like most people arrested for an offence you did not know the name of a specialist solicitor and instead used the duty solicitor service.
The police will have arranged for the duty solicitor service to give you legal advice, either in person or over the phone.
Your duty solicitor may or may not have been a real solicitor, often it is the paralegal or trainee that gets sent to the police station. Some firms will use ex-police officers or accredited advisors that get a small fee to cover cases for them.
You may or may not have heard from your duty solicitor firm since the interview. It is incredibly disorientating to be arrested and put in a cell and then interviewed, the whole process was probably a stressful blur, now you have had time to reflect you probably have many questions.
You may be concerned about whether you said the right things to the police.
You may be wondering what is going on with the investigation.
You may be worrying about the likely outcome of your case.
You may be struggling to cope with the stress of not knowing what happens next.
You may want your property returned.
You may want bail conditions removed or help dealing with social services.
You may be thinking that more could be done to chase up the investigation or bring it to a close.
Unfortunately, the legal aid fee paid by the Government to duty solicitor firms is so low that often very little gets done after the interview. Duty solicitor firms just cannot do the extra proactive work your case really needs, overworked and underpaid staff just don’t have the time to dedicate to each case. Some duty firms like to offer a privately paid service, but it is still the same staff doing the work.
If you are on bail or are released under investigation it is likely that the police are continuing to investigate before contacting you to arrange a further interview, or before deciding whether to charge you with an offence.
If you are under investigation naturally you want your questions answered, you want the police to be chased for updates, you want clear legal advice, you want to be prepared for the next interview, and you want to try every option to close the case without having to go to court.
That sort of proactive work takes time and skill. In my opinion, only a specialist privately funded solicitor can give you that level of service.
A private solicitor like me can:
1. Contact the duty solicitor firm to obtain and review your case papers.
2. Meet you to answer your questions and take your full account of events that led to your arrest, including your background, so I can plan your case and give you the best advice.
3. Consider all avenues of defence.
4. Gather any defence evidence that could help close the case.
5. Speak to defence witnesses and take statements.
6. Instruct expert witnesses or forensic scientists to prove your defence.
7. Engage with the police to get updates on your case.
8. Push to have your bail conditions relaxed or removed.
9. Seek the return of your devices.
10. Make written representations for your case to be closed with no further action, or for consideration of a Caution or Conditional Caution.
11. Give you advice on rehabilitation and therapy services that can help you and minimise your potential sentence.
12. Arrange any further interview with the police at a time and date to suit you.
13. Meet to plan a strategy for the next police interview.
14. Attend to expertly represent you in any further interview at the police station.
15. Provide any other support, legal advice or work in relation to your case as appropriate during the investigation stage.
Legal services are like any other service, if it is free, it is unlikely to be the best. If you pay, you can have confidence that someone is actively working towards getting you the best possible result.
For just £50 you can book an initial consultation with me via Zoom or telephone. I will be able to answer your questions, learn more about your case, and plan a way to get the best possible outcome. I will follow up with a letter confirming my advice and include a no obligation proposal of how I can take over your case.
In summary, it’s your case, it’s your choice who you want to represent you.