The magistrates’ court initially hears all criminal court cases and your case will be dealt with solely by the magistrates’ court if the criminal offence you are accused of is classified as a summary offence.
Your case will be referred to the crown court if the alleged offence is linked to a more serious case.
Find Stevenage magistrates’ court at:
Stevenage Magistrates’ Court
The Court House
Contact the court at:
Stevenage Magistrates’ Court
c/o Luton Magistrates’ Court
What is a summary offence?
A summary offence is a criminal offence which is heard by a magistrate rather than a judge and jury, unless it is linked to a more serious criminal 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
In some cases a summary offence can be heard without you attending court. If you don’t plan to attend court it is extremely important that you are represented at the hearing by a specialist criminal defence solicitor.
If your case requires you to attend court and you fail to do so, the court has the power to issue a warrant for your arrest and in some occasion you can be committing a further offence for which you can be sent to prison for that alone.
What is a postal requisition?
Previously known as a court summons letter, a postal requisition or a postal charge is an order from the court requiring you to attend on a specified date. If you receive a postal requisition or postal charge requesting you to appear at Stevenage magistrates’ court, it is important you understand:
- What a postal requisition is
- What you are required to do by law
- Your next step
For a summary offences heard in the magistrates’ court, the court hearing must start within 6 months from the date when the offence was allegedly committed.
The police will ask the court to issue the postal requisition 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 intend to plead guilty or not guilty to the alleged offence. Ensure you 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 your case in your absence, you may wish to include a letter of mitigation with the requisition. Aimed at achieving a more favourable outcome in your case, a letter of mitigation should explain the circumstances surrounding the offence.
Once you have returned the postal requisition with your intended 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 an experienced criminal defence solicitor.
If you plead guilty to the offence, you can attend court in person. You may either represent yourself in court or instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf.
Expert legal representation in Stevenage
We can represent you Stevenage Luton magistrates’ court. The team of criminal defence solicitors at Lawtons regularly handle criminal cases at courts across Hertfordshire.
Our Stevenage solicitors will expert legal advice and assistance in any criminal charges that have been made against you. We will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
If you are in urgent need of legal assistance or advice from a criminal defence solicitor in Stevenage, please get in touch with us:
Lawtons Criminal Law Solicitors – Hertford
8 – 10 Bull Plain
Telephone: 01992 472094
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