What is a postal charge?
A postal requisition or a postal charge is simply an order from the court requiring you to attend at a fixed date and time.
If you receive a postal requisition or postal charge – previously known as a court summons letter – it is important you understand:
- What a postal requisition is
- What the requisition requires you to do by law
- Your next steps once you receive a postal charge
For a summary offence heard in the magistrates’ court, the court hearing must begin within 6 months of the date when the offence was allegedly committed.
The police will typically ask the court to issue the requisition or postal charge within this fixed period of time. If they fail to do so, any potential prosecution may be time barred.
The postal requisition or postal charge may ask that you to provide your intended plea – whether you will plead guilty or not guilty to the alleged offence. You should seek expert legal advice at this stage, if you have not done so already.
If you intend to plead guilty to the alleged offence by post and are asking the court to deal with the case in your absence, you may wish to include a letter of mitigation with the requisition. The letter of mitigation should explain the circumstances surrounding the offence and is aimed at achieving a more favourable outcome in your case. Once you have returned the postal requisition with your plea, you will receive a letter from the court confirming their decision. If you are requested to attend a further court hearing, it is highly recommended that you seek expert legal advice from a specialist solicitor.
You are also able to plead guilty to the offence and attend court in person. You may represent yourself in court or instruct an experienced criminal defence solicitor to act on your behalf.
All criminal court cases are initially heard in the magistrates’ court. If the criminal offence you are accused of is classified as a summary offence your case will be dealt with solely in the magistrates’ court.
A summary offence is generally considered to be of a reduced severity than offences heard in the crown court.
A summary offence is heard by a magistrate rather than a judge and jury, unless the offence is linked to a more serious offence committed at the same time. In which case, the offence will be heard in the crown court.
Summary offences include:
- Minor assaults
- Property damage
- Road traffic offences such as drink driving and driving without a valid licence
- Offensive or anti-social behaviour
Some summary offences can be heard without you being present at court. If you don’t plan to attend court, ensure you are represented by a specialist criminal defence solicitor in order to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
If you are required to attend court and you fail to do so, the court has the power to issue a warrant for your arrest. In some occasions, you can be found guilty of committing a further criminal offence, for which you could be sent to prison.
Find Ealing magistrates’ court at:
Ealing Magistrates’ Court
The Court House
Green Man Lane
Contact the court at:
448 High Road
Expert legal representation in Ealing
Lawtons’ criminal defence solicitors can represent you in Ealing magistrates’ court or any other magistrates’ court in London.
We pride ourselves on providing expert legal advice and assistance in any criminal charges that have been made against you. Our criminal defence solicitors will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your individual case.
If you are in need of legal assistance or advice from a criminal solicitor in London please get in touch with us:
Lawtons Criminal Law Solicitors
5 St John’s Lane, Farringdon
Telephone: 0333 577 0522