Sheffield Office:
0114 290 9500
f: 0114 2909501
Rotherham Office:
01709 377 399
f: 01709 839595
Doncaster Office:
01302 590800

Magistrates’ Court

We regularly represent clients before Magistrates’ Courts in South Yorkshire and beyond. Our team are specialists and can help to ensure you secure the best possible outcome.

If you are charged with a criminal offence your first appearance will be made before the Magistrates’ Court. We regularly represent clients before Magistrates’ Courts in South Yorkshire and beyond. Our team are specialists and can help to ensure you secure the best possible outcome.

What is our role in the Magistrates’ Court

Our aim, as always, is to get you the best possible outcome. At your first appearance before the Magistrates’ Court we will:

  • Obtain information about your case from the Prosecutor
  • Consider all the evidence put against you and advise you on its strengths and weaknesses
  • Talk to you about your case and listen to what you want to say in Court
  • Advise you on whether it is in your best interests to plead guilty or not guilty
  • Inform you of how long your case will take to resolve and the likely sentence if you plead or are found guilty

What happens in the Magistrates’ Court

Cases that can only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court

Some cases can only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court. These carry a range of penalties, from a fine, discharge, or up to 6 months imprisonment. Depending on how much information a Court needs to sentence you a guilty plea may mean your case is resolved there and then, or adjourned to a later date.

GWBHarthills will advise you on any likely penalties and explain to the Court why an offence has taken place.

If you plead not guilty then a date will be set for a trial, usually in about 2 months time.

We will help you fill in the required forms and discuss the case with you before advising the Court of your position.

Cases that can be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court

Other offences can be dealt with either in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. In those cases, if you plead guilty, the court will consider how to sentence you. The Magistrates’ Court has the power to impose sentences of up to 6 months imprisonment or 12 months if you face two or more offences. Again, the Court may decide on a sentence there and then or adjourn your case for more information.

If the Court considers that your case may call for a sentence of a longer duration they can send it to the Crown Court. Your case will then be adjourned for approximately 3 weeks, following which you will appear before the Crown Court. If your case is sent to the Crown Court for sentence it does not automatically mean you will receive a longer sentence than the Magistrates could have imposed.

Cases that can only be dealt with at the Crown Court

The most serious offences such as murder, rape and robbery may only be dealt with in the Crown Court. An initial hearing takes place at the Magistrates’ Court where you will not be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.  Your case will be sent to the Crown Court and you will appear there within 8 days.

The Magistrates’ Court will consider an Application for Bail if you are in custody (except where you are charged with murder, in which case only the Crown Court can consider bail).

What if I am brought before the Court in Custody?

Sometimes the Police detain people after charging them with an offence. In those cases you appear before Court in custody and may wish to make an application to be released on bail. The Court can keep a person in custody only if certain grounds are satisfied and we will make that application on your behalf.

What happens if I am not eligible for Legal Aid?

If you do not qualify for Legal Aid, we will be happy to represent you on a privately paid basis. We will assess your case and advise you of our fees. We aim to offer a fixed fee option is most cases so you know from the outset how much your case will cost.