If you’ve received a postal requisition or you have been told you will receive a postal charge summoning you to attend court in Luton, you are likely to need specialist legal representation.
All criminal court cases start in the magistrates’ court. If the criminal offence you are accused of is classified as a summary offence your case will be dealt with in the magistrates’ court unless it is linked to a case or offence that is sent to the crown court.
Find Luton magistrates’ court at:
Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court and Family Court
What are summary offences?
A summary offence is a criminal offence that must be heard by a magistrate rather than a judge and jury, unless it is linked to a more serious offence committed at the same time.
Summary offences heard in the magistrates’ court are generally considered to be of a reduced severity and include:
- Minor assaults
- Damage to property
- Road traffic offences such as drink driving and driving without a valid licence
- Offensive behaviour
Some summary offences can also be heard without you being present at court but if you don’t plan to attend court it is extremely important that you are represented by a specialist criminal defence solicitor.
If you are required to attend court and fail to do so, the court has the power to issue a warrant for your arrest and in some occasions you can be committing a further offence for which you can be sent to prison for that alone.
What is a postal requisition or a postal charge?
If you receive a postal requisition or postal charge requesting you to appear at Luton magistrates’ court, it is important you understand:
- What a postal requisition is
- What you are required to do by law
- Your next steps
A postal requisition or a postal charge – previously known as a court summons letter – is simply an order from the court requiring you to attend.
For summary offences heard in the magistrates’ court, the court hearing must start within 6 months from the date when the offence was allegedly committed.
Normally, the police will ask the court to issue the requisition or postal charge within this prescribed period of time. If they fail to do so, any 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 offence. Taking expert legal advice at this stage is vital – sometimes you may not be able to make this decision as you will not have seen the evidence underpinning the case.
If you intend to plead guilty by post and are asking the court to deal with your 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.
Specialist legal advice can ensure that the right points are identified for the purposes of sentencing, sometimes also preventing people inadvertently stating things that can make the offence sound more serious than it was.
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 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 a solicitor to act on your behalf.
Expert legal representation in Luton and Bedfordshire
We pride ourselves on providing personalised legal advice and assistance in any criminal charges that have been made against you. Our Luton solicitors will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your individual case.
If you are in urgent need of legal assistance or advice from a criminal solicitor in Luton, please get in touch with us:
Lawtons Criminal Law Solicitors – Luton
Telephone: 0333 577 0522
Find us on Google Maps.