Alcohol, young people and the law

Alcohol, young people and the law

The law governing alcohol consumption is very strict in the UK, and this is especially true with regard to young people. Below you will find information both on the law on the consumption of alcohol by those younger than eighteen years old as well as information on the consequences of breaking those laws. Finally, you will find some medical guidelines on alcohol consumption for young people. What does the law say in connection to alcohol…

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Am I eligible to apply for criminal legal aid and how do I do it?

Am I eligible to apply for criminal legal aid and how do I do it?

If you are taken to a police station and interviewed under caution or arrested, you are entitled to free legal advice regardless of your financial situation. Legal aid at court To apply for legal aid at court, you will automatically qualify if you: are under 18 receive specific state benefits, which are: income support income-based job seeker’s allowance guaranteed state pension credit income-related employment and support allowance Universal Credit If these do not apply to…

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Anti social behaviour: Can parents be held responsible?

Anti social behaviour: Can parents be held responsible?

If a child falls foul of the law, their parents can occasionally be held legally responsible if: a) their child continually gets into trouble b) they do not take reasonable steps to control their child’s behaviour. What measures can be taken against parents for their child’s illegal conduct? A number of supportive measures can be applied to parents in an effort to prevent their child repeating the offending behaviour. Normally, these are voluntary in nature…

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Anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour

What is anti-social behaviour? Anti-social behaviour (ASB) covers a wide range of different activities that may have a negative effect on other people. The government defines ASB as: “Behaviour by a person which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress top one or more persons not of the same household as the person.” (Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 & Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011) ASB comes in three categories: Personal –…

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Anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour includes abusive or noisy neighbours, littering and graffiti. It can leave you feeling intimidated, angry and frightened. Your council and the police can help. Find out what can be done and what you can do to stop it. What is anti-social behaviour? Got an anti-social behaviour problem? Find out what you can do, and how to get help Anti-social behaviour helper Opens new window Anti-social behaviour includes things such as: rowdy, noisy behaviour…

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Can children receive criminal convictions?

Can children receive criminal convictions?

If a child commits a crime and is apprehended by the police, they may receive a criminal conviction depending on the circumstances. How do police deal with children? If the police think that a young person has been involved in a crime, they can stop them anywhere in public; however, if they go to their home, they should speak to the parents or carer first. If the police arrest someone under 18 and take them…

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Can I appeal a criminal conviction?

Can I appeal a criminal conviction?

If you disagree with the verdict reached in a Magistrates’ or Crown Court, you may be able to appeal against the conviction in an appellate court. If you would like to appeal a criminal conviction, you should first seek specialist legal advice. If your case is being appealed from a magistrates’ court, the appellate court will be the Crown Court. However, if you were originally convicted in a magistrates’ court, appealed at the Crown Court…

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Can I appeal a drink driving conviction?

Can I appeal a drink driving conviction?

Yes, you an appeal a drink driving conviction. There are several different types of drink driving offences. All, except causing death by drink driving, are tried initially in the Magistrates’ Court, with either a district judge presiding or a panel of three lay magistrates. The trial is a summary trial, without a jury. If you are found guilty of a drink driving sentence, the Court will impose a sentence on you – and will ordinarily…

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Can I be punished for having sex in public?

Can I be punished for having sex in public?

If you are caught having sex in public then it is possible that you will be charged with a criminal offence. The law and the punishment evoked as a result of breaking it will largely depend on the circumstances in which you are caught having sex. Whilst it is understandable that people can get carried away in the moment, it is also reasonable that there must be some kind of law protecting people, and particularly…

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Can I be tried for the same offence twice?

Can I be tried for the same offence twice?

There was a time when a defendant could not be tried for the same offence twice. This ruling, often referred to as “double jeopardy”, was on the basis that as the individual had been found not guilty, it should be left at that. This was to avoid a scenario where an innocent party could be continually retried until the police, or prosecution, got the result they were looking for. It could perhaps also be seen…

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Can I get compensation as a victim of crime?

Can I get compensation as a victim of crime?

If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you could be eligible to receive compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). CICA is a government organisation that can pay money to anyone who has been physically or mentally injured as the innocent victim of a violent crime. How CICA can help you The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority offers a free service, processing applications and making awards that range from 1,000 to 500,000….

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Can I get protection as a victim or witness to a crime?

Can I get protection as a victim or witness to a crime?

If you’re a victim of crime or a witness, you shouldn’t be afraid to go the police or give evidence in court. There are laws and services to protect you. Find out what they are and how they can help you. If you’re afraid to come forward If you’ve been a victim of crime or witnessed one, you may be feeling upset or worried. You may have doubts about coming forward to the police or…

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Can I get rehabilitation and treatment after being charged with drink driving?

Can I get rehabilitation and treatment after being charged with drink driving?

If you are convicted of drink driving in the UK, the sentencing authority (usually the magistrates’ court in England and Wales or the sheriff in Scotland) may give you the opportunity to attend a rehabilitation course. You will have to pay for the course, but ordinarily the court will reduce the duration of your driving ban if you complete the course. Course content The rehabilitation courses usually take place in several sessions over a number…

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Can I sue if I am the victim of a crime?

Can I sue if I am the victim of a crime?

If you suffered an injury, property damage, or theft as a result of a crime, you may be able to sue the perpetrator for compensation — even if he or she is acquitted of all criminal charges. Following the crime, you should keep a record of all the expenses you incur, lost earnings or profits, and any money you received as a result of the offence (e.g., from your insurance company). Do not throw away…

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Can I use force to protect my home from intruders?

Can I use force to protect my home from intruders?

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Chief Constables have produced a summary of what people can do when faced with an intruder and the support offered by the law when householders defend themselves. The following is taken from that statement. What is ‘reasonable force’ and does the law protect you? Anyone can use ‘reasonable force’ to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent a crime. You are not expected…

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Can I use self defence to protect myself from a violent crime?

Can I use self defence to protect myself from a violent crime?

Self defence is often argued as a general defence to a number of crimes, particularly in relation to offences against the person. Strictly speaking, self defence is not actually a defence to a crime but rather a claim that a lawful amount of force was used as opposed to an unlawful amount. An example to demonstrate this point is the fact that acting under duress is a defence: you admit that you caused the illegal…

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Can someone else open my post?

Can someone else open my post?

Unfortunately there are thousands of cases in the UK of individuals not receiving their post. This may be due to a variety of reasons including the post being intercepted by somebody else. It appears that many people are not aware that opening or throwing away somebody else’s post is illegal in the UK, providing certain criteria are met. Postal Services Act 2000 Under the Postal Services Act 2000: “A person commits an offence if he,…

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Charged with drink driving – what should I do?

Charged with drink driving – what should I do?

1. Consult a solicitor Do not underestimate how seriously the criminal justice system views drink driving. Courts impose far stiffer penalties for drink driving convictions than other road traffic offences. If you’ve been charged with a drink driving related offence, you need to know the law and consider your position very carefully. In every case, you are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. A solicitor will explain the elements of the offence you’ve been charged…

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Community sentences for young people

Community sentences for young people

If the court gives you a community sentence, you will have to do unpaid community service or attend education or treatment programmes. You wont be locked up. Find out about the types of community sentences you can get. Why is a community sentence given to a young person? If you are under 18 and found guilty of a first or minor crime, the court will usually give you a community sentence. Community sentences: mean you…

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Community sentencing

Community sentencing

What is a ‘community sentence’? A ‘community sentence’ is a punishment handed down by the courts, which has three main objectives: 1. to punish the offender 2. to change the offender’s behaviour to prevent repeat offending (‘recidivism’), which may involve the use of rehabilitation programmes, such as for drug addiction or alcoholism 3. to enable the offender to make amends to the victim of their crime (or local community). What types of community sentences are…

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Crime victims FAQs

Crime victims FAQs

I am a victim of crime. Do I have to report it? You have no legal obligation to report the crime to the police. If you fail to report the crime, however, the police cannot bring the perpetrator to justice. Reporting the crime should deter the wrongdoer from committing the offence again and may protect others from becoming victims. Even if you feel okay and that the crime was relatively minor, you should give careful…

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Drink driving defence: do I need a solicitor?

Drink driving defence: do I need a solicitor?

If you’ve been charged with a drink driving offence, you need to consider your position very carefully as the penalties can be severe. In every case, you are strongly advised to seek legal advice. Mounting a defence If you don’t think you’re guilty of committing a drink driving offence, you’ll probably need to challenge the scientific evidence advanced by the police and Crown Prosecution Service. Proving the prosecution evidence is unreliable is usually very hard….

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Drink driving FAQs

Drink driving FAQs

Frequently asked questions about drink driving What is the drink driving limit? It illegal to drive or be in charge of a vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in the blood, breath, or urine exceeds the ‘prescribed limit’, which is currently set at: 35 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol in 100 millilitres (ml) of breath; 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood; or 107 mg of alcohol in 100…

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Drugs

Drugs

Research shows that children who feel they can talk to their parents about drugs will put off or avoid taking them more than those who do not. What are the risks? There are risks. And your child may not have thought of all of them. When you calmly talk through the situation with your child, you could outline the following possible dangers: the user can never be sure of exactly what they are taking what…

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Drugs and your child

Drugs and your child

If you think your child is using drugs, your natural reaction may be to panic (and shout). Wait until you feel calmer and then talk to your child. Is your child using drugs? Possible signs of drug use can include changes in appearance, friends, interests, eating and sleeping habits, moods and openness. But these signs are often a natural part of growing up. A young person who is not using drugs could show the same…

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Gangs and gang crime: advice for parents

Gangs and gang crime: advice for parents

Children and young people face all sorts of pressures and it may be that your child is feeling pressure to follow friends who are in a gang. You can help your child make the right choice. By recognising the signs and seeking help, you could make a positive step towards changing the course of your child’s life. Know the facts Before you talk to your child about gangs, you’ll need to make sure you know…

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Get offenders to improve your neighbourhood

Get offenders to improve your neighbourhood

If there’s something you think may improve your neighbourhood, like removing graffiti, litter or clearing an overgrown public area, let your local Probation Service know. They can get the work done by offenders as part of their punishment. It’s a scheme called Community Payback. Suggest a project for Community Payback If you live in England or Wales, you can suggest projects that will improve your neighbourhood by contacting your local Probation Service. You can suggest…

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Homophobic crime

Homophobic crime

Hate crime is any crime perceived by the victim to be motivated by hatred for a personal characteristic such as race, gender, sexuality or religion. Homophobic crime is any crime perceived by the victim to be motivated by hatred for someone’s sexuality or their perceived sexuality. This means that the important factor in defining a homophobic crime is not the intention of the individual but how their intention was perceived by their victim. Often homophobic…

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How can a court order protect me?

How can a court order protect me?

A court order is a ruling by a court, usually made by a judge or panel of judges, that often declares that something must be done or that something should not be done. As it is an order from a court, the order carries the force of law, and a failure to comply with a court order can often result in a contempt of court charge, or a variety of punishments. Court orders are used…

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How can I contact Victim Support?

How can I contact Victim Support?

Victim Support is a national charity for victims of crime. Local schemes offer information and support to victims of crime, witnesses, their families and friends, whether or not it has been reported and regardless of when it happened. It also operates Crown Court Witness Services in all crown courts in England and Wales. Victim Support Contact point Victim Support Address National Office Hallam House 56-60 Hallam Street London W1W 6JL Phone number National Office 020…

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How can I protect my belongings from criminals?

How can I protect my belongings from criminals?

If you’ve saved up or worked hard to be able to buy a computer or an MP3 player, make sure that no-one else can get their hands on it. By taking a few simple security steps, you can keep your belongings extra safe. Property at home Whether you’re still living at home or you’re at university, the chances are that you have a lot of expensive stuff in your bedroom. If you do get burgled,…

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How can I protect my children who are leaving home?

How can I protect my children who are leaving home?

An important landmark in your child’s life is when they prepare to leave home for the first time, perhaps it’s to go to university or to set up their first home. Talk to your child about precautions they can take in their new home so as to avoid potential crime risks. Reducing the risk of crime Householders aged 16 to 24 are three times more likely than average to be burgled. Here are some things…

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How can I protect myself from crime?

How can I protect myself from crime?

The risk of being robbed or attacked on your way home is thankfully pretty small, but to keep yourself safe you should be aware of what to do if you find yourself in a threatening situation. General advice Whenever its possible, try and walk home with someone else or a group of friends. You’re less likely to be attacked or mugged if you’re with more than one person. You should always keep alert and aware…

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How can I protect yourself from online harassment?

How can I protect yourself from online harassment?

Social media has exploded over the past decade with the internet enabling people to contact each other from all over the world instantly and often. Whilst the thriving nature of social media has brought numerous advantages, inevitably there have been some negative effects. Indeed, there have been an increasing number of harassment allegations made following the surge in social networking. As a result of the pace with which social media has expanded throughout the world,…

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How can I report extremism and terrorism online?

How can I report extremism and terrorism online?

The internet is used by some people to promote terrorism and extremism. You can challenge and report extremist or terrorist content you find online which you feel is offensive, or illegal. Find out what makes online content illegal and how to report it. What makes offensive content illegal Seen something online that’s worried you? Not all offensive content is illegal. The Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006 made it illegal to: have or share information that…

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How can I stop my mobile phone being stolen?

How can I stop my mobile phone being stolen?

Having your phone stolen is a hassle. It’s not just the handset you lose, it’s the numbers, messages and photos too. Knowing how to protect your mobile and keep it safe will save you a lot of inconvenience and stress. Carrying your phone If you’re not making a call, make sure that your phone is hidden away. Keep it in one of your front pockets or inside a bag. Don’t attach it to your belt…

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How do I apply to become a magistrate?

How do I apply to become a magistrate?

What is a magistrate? Derived from the Latin ‘magistratus,’ which translates as ‘administrator,’ a magistrate is a civil officer who administers the law. A magistrate sits in a court that handles minor offences. They also hold preliminary hearings for more serious matters. Who can become a magistrate? A magistrate is a volunteer drawn from the local community served by the court in which they sit – the magistrates’ court. Ideally, the magistrates’ candidate pool should…

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How do I find a court?

How do I find a court?

You can search for your nearest court to find out about how you can attend court cases. Overview The vast majority of court cases are open to the public. Being able to contact and attend your local court is an important part of your democratic rights. How to use this service This online service allows you to search for your local court information like contact details, opening times, facilities available and maps. Court finder

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How do I report a crime?

How do I report a crime?

This page explains what you should do if you are the victim of a crime or see a crime being committed. If you are the victim of a crime, or see one being committed, it is important that you report it to the police. You can: go to your nearest police station; phone 999 (only if it is an emergency). If you need an interpreter, tell the person who answers the call which language you…

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How do I reporting non-emergency crime?

How do I reporting non-emergency crime?

What can I do if I am a victim or a witness to a non-emergency crime If you are aware a crime has been committed but it is unnecessary for police to rush to the scene then you can use a non-emergency telephone number to report the crime. The number, which is available in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is – 101 When should I use the 101 number? The 101 number can be…

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How do I stay safe online?

How do I stay safe online?

It’s important to know how to stay safe when you’re using the internet. You should never give out any personal information when you’re online to people you do not know face to face – no matter who you think you’re talking to. Using the internet There are lots of sites around that allow you to talk to other people on the web. Chat rooms give you the chance to have a conversation with other people…

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How do I volunteer as a magistrate?

How do I volunteer as a magistrate?

Magistrates, also known as Justices of the Peace or JPs, are volunteers who hear cases in courts. They deal with around 95 per cent of criminal cases in England and Wales. Find out more about what magistrates do and how to become one. What magistrates do Who can be a magistrate? Watch a video on the different types of people who become magistrates Video: becoming a magistrate – who can be a magistrate? Magistrates sit…

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How do the courts work?

How do the courts work?

The way a court works depends on the kinds of cases it hears. Some courts have a judge and jury, while others have a panel of magistrates. Some courts are more formal than others. Knowing how a court works can help you prepare for your case. Magistrates Court Dealing with less serious criminal cases and civil matters, the role of the Magistrates Court includes: determining whether a defendant is guilty or not, and passing the…

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How does the prison service deal with a mentally ill offender?

How does the prison service deal with a mentally ill offender?

The National Offender Management service must strike a delicate balance when someone convicted of a crime has mental health problems. If you have a friend or family member in prison or on probation who has mental health issues, there is help available. Mental health care for prisoners Each prison is prepared to deal with and help prisoners with mental problems. Most work with their local NHS trust to provide the help and medication prisoners need….

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How sentencing is worked out

How sentencing is worked out

Sentencing is the act of determining a suitable punishment after someone has admitted guilt, or been found guilty, of a crime. In the UK sentencing is usually carried out by a member of the judiciary, often a magistrate or judge. Sentences for crimes vary enormously. They vary between crimes, with the seriousness of the offence usually calling for a harsher punishment, but they also vary for the same offence, reflecting differing circumstances that may have…

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How will a drink driving conviction affect my career?

How will a drink driving conviction affect my career?

Depending on the field you work in, a drink driving conviction may have a significant impact on your employment and job prospects. Indeed, as discussed below, a conviction may mean the end of your career in certain professions. Do I have to notify my employer? Some employment contracts stipulate that you tell your employer immediately about a drink driving conviction, while others are silent on the issue. Most employers do not require notification, but you…

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I don’t think I was over the limit – what should I do?

I don’t think I was over the limit – what should I do?

So you don’t think you were over the limit. But the police say you were, and they probably have test results to prove it. In this situation, you may wish to challenge the results. However, it is usually very difficult to try to argue in court that the evidence against you is unreliable. Most defendants who succeed manage to either convince the court that the breath test machine calibrations were outside acceptable boundaries or demonstrate…

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If your child is arrested and charged

If your child is arrested and charged

Various rights apply to children who are arrested and charged. As a parent, you should be aware of these rights (as well as your own), which are effective the moment your child is arrested. Police and Criminal Evidence Act The procedures relating to the treatment of children by the police are laid down in the Codes of Practice drafted as a result of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). If the police do not…

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Is it illegal to be a vigilante?

Is it illegal to be a vigilante?

Vigilante comes from the Spanish word ‘vigilare’, meaning ‘to keep watch’. A vigilante is someone who gets together with a group of like-minded people to protect their property or local community. This type of action is generally taken when it is felt that the police are not providing sufficient protection and people need to make a stand to protect themselves and their property. Taking direct action to prevent criminals from attacking your own and your…

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Is there any defence to drink driving?

Is there any defence to drink driving?

For the most part, in the modern era it is very hard to establish a defence to a drink driving charge. There are, however, a number of potential defences available, which do succeed from time to time if they are valid and there is appropriate proof. This article takes a look at them. (1) Driver consumed alcohol after driving but before police administered test Essentially, the defence is that since the driver consumed alcohol between…

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Ive been charged with a crime, what should I do?

Ive been charged with a crime, what should I do?

If you have been arrested for a crime you have a right to speak to a solicitor who will make you fully aware of your rights and the charges of which you are being accused. Therefore, by the time you are charged you should already have a firm idea of what you are being accused of and the potential punishment you could receive. However, once charged, a criminal solicitor should advise you further on the…

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Keeping young children and teens safe while out and about

Keeping young children and teens safe while out and about

All children can be vulnerable sometimes, and as a parent it is only natural to worry about their safety. If you are worried, you can help to protect your young children and teens with these common-sense tips. Protecting young children Statistics show that crime against young children by strangers is rare. Even so, these seven tips can help protect your child: tell your child to avoid talking to people they don’t know when you’re not…

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Keeping your child safe from knife crime

Keeping your child safe from knife crime

You can play an important role in stopping knife crime becoming a part of your child’s life. Knowing the law, talking to your child about the dangers and looking out for changes in their behaviour can help keep them safe. Know the law Before talking to your child about knives, you need to know the facts: it is illegal for anyone to carry a knife if they intend to use it as a weapon even…

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Parenting Orders, ASBOS and other behaviour orders

Parenting Orders, ASBOS and other behaviour orders

In recent years measures have been introduced to make sure parents and children can be held responsible for the childs bad behaviour. Parenting Orders A Parenting Order is a court order which usually means a parent or carer must attend parenting classes (sometimes called parenting programmes/interventions).Parents may also be ordered to meet other conditions, like making sure their child stays at home at certain times, or attend meetings with their childs teachers. These can last…

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Perverting the course of justice

Perverting the course of justice

Perverting the course of justice is a type of criminal offence created in common law in England and Wales. This means that whilst there is no law passed by Parliament defining the offence of perverting the course of justice, it has been defined by case law created by judges in courts. Perverting the course of justice is a serious offence, and is only triable on indictment, meaning it would only be tried in a Crown…

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Preventing your child from getting involved in crime

Preventing your child from getting involved in crime

In order to prevent your child getting into trouble with the law, its important to understand the reasons why most young people offend in the first place. What makes a child offend? A young person’s parents are their most important role model There are many reasons why a child may turn to crime, but the most common ones are: lack of education and playing truant poor family relationships peer pressure (having friends who commit crime)…

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Prisoners and medical negligence claims

Prisoners and medical negligence claims

Arguably as a result of an increasing prison population, coupled with budgetary restraints in the prison service and the NHS, medical negligence claims from prisoners have been on the rise. Indeed, over £10 million in compensation has been awarded to prisoners over the last five years, and a significant proportion of this has been as a result of medical negligence claims. What level of healthcare are prisoners entitled to? Under the European Convention on Human…

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Probation

Probation

If youve been convicted of a crime, you are likely to be placed on probation for a period of time. This is a trial period when your ability to live within the law is tested. What you do, and how you behave, during this period will decide whether or not you are fully released from your sentence. Who is put on probation Convicted criminals are likely to be put on probation (which is legally known…

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Racial hate crime

Racial hate crime

Racial hate crimes are a particular type of crime defined by the law and prosecuted specifically in the UK. Racial hate crimes can include threats, assault, robbery, damage to property and harassment. It is also a crime to incite others to commit racial hate crimes. It is estimated that in 2011/12 there were just fewer than 50,000 racially motivated incidents reported to the authorities in the UK, which averages at around 130 incidents of reported…

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Stop and search

Stop and search

To help prevent crime and protect the safety of the public, the police can stop people and ask them to account for themselves in some circumstances. However, they’re not allowed to stop someone because of the way they look. What is stop and search? One of the powers that the police sometimes use to prevent crime in the local community is the power of stop and search. This means that police officers and community support…

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Stopped by the police FAQs

Stopped by the police FAQs

If you require further help on a matter of criminal law you can use our solicitor directory to the right of this article to look for legal advice near you. What if I am asked by the police to stop and account? A “stop and account” is when a police officer stops you to ask about what you are doing, why you are in a particular area, and/or what you are carrying with you. If you are…

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Support for parents of children involved in crime

Support for parents of children involved in crime

If you are a parent and you believe that your child has become involved with crime, there are people who can help. If you think your child is at risk from criminals or gangs, you can get free support and advice. Dedicated youth offending teams Youth offending teams play an important role in dealing with youth crime. Made up of representatives from the police, social services, health and education departments and housing, these teams look…

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Support for prisoners and their families

Support for prisoners and their families

If you or a family member have been convicted of a crime or are on probation, you might find that you need some help dealing with the prison and probation systems. A number of organisations provide support and assistance for people in your situation. Prisoners’ Families Helpline Prisoners’ Families Helpline (0808 808 2003) is overseen by the group Action for Prisoners’ Families a national charity that promotes fair treatment of prisoners’ families by the prison…

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Teenagers and abusive relationships

Teenagers and abusive relationships

What is “relationship abuse”? Relationship abuse concerns negative behaviour by one person on another within a relationship.  Relationship abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. Physical abuse consists of hitting, punching, pulling hair and kicking. Emotional abuse consists of bullying, threatening, putting down and humiliating a partner. Sexual abuse consists of any kind of sexual activity where one person is forced into said activity against their wishes.  In many instances, victims of such abuse may…

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The dangers of illegally downloading MP3s and films

The dangers of illegally downloading MP3s and films

If you download a song, film, game or software from a file-sharing website or another website (such as a page on a social-networking site) where it’s made available, and you do not pay for the item or otherwise obtain it under licence from the copyright holder, then you are infringing someone’s copyright. The main dangers of infringing copyright in this way are (i) the potential for civil liability to the copyright holder, and (ii) the…

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The Prisoners Earning Act

The Prisoners Earning Act

The Prisoners Earning Act was originally introduced by the Conservative Party in 1996. However, the Labour party were uncertain how to introduce the act in practice and how it should be operated. It is therefore only recently, due to the Conservatives return to Government that the act has received renewed attention. What is the act? Unbeknown to many, some prisoners (categorised as low risk) are able to receive paid work whilst in prison in order…

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Unduly lenient sentences

Unduly lenient sentences

When somebody is found guilty of a crime, a judge gives them a sentence. If you feel a sentence is not strict enough, in some cases you can ask the Attorney Generals Office to change it. Find out how you can ask for a sentence to be changed. When is a sentence unfairly low? To be looked at again, a sentence must be ‘unduly lenient’. That legal term means more than just a low sentence;…

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Visiting people in prison

Visiting people in prison

If you know somebody who is serving time in prison, visits can help you stay in touch. Each prison can have slightly different rules on when and how often prisoners can be visited. Find out what to expect. How to plan your visit Each prison has its own rules about how many visits each prisoner is allowed, and how and when those visits can happen. Before you can visit any prison, you need a document…

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Waht do I need to know about elder abuse?

Waht do I need to know about elder abuse?

Elder abuse includes many different kinds of harm to older people. It includes intending to harm, harming without intent and the neglect that leads to harm. If you’re concerned that you might be at risk, or are worried about a friend, relative or client, there are ways to help. Who is most vulnerable? you can call the free and confidential Action on Elder Abuse helpline on 0808 808 8141 People who are physically, emotionally or…

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What a solicitor can do for me?

What a solicitor can do for me?

  Your solicitor should advise you about what you can do, and the best choices for your situation. You may not need to get an injunction to be safe from a violent or abusive partner. Sometimes a strongly worded letter from a solicitor can stop your partner abusing you again. Your solicitor should check whether you can get public funding (legal aid) to pay for any court proceedings. Whether you can receive public funding depends…

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What age can I do that?

What age can I do that?

There are a number of activities that are restricted to children and teenagers. Here are a few of them, and their respective legal age-limits. If you require further help on a matter of law you can use our solicitor directory to the right of this article to look for legal advice near you. Drinking In the UK it is illegal to sell alcohol to anybody under the age of 18.  If you are guilty of selling…

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What are my rights as a victim of crime?

What are my rights as a victim of crime?

Being a victim of crime is a difficult and sometimes frightening matter. Crime can take many forms, and the effect that being a victim of crime will have will always vary not only on the offence committed but also from person to person. Regardless of how you feel about being a victim of crime, the law and the justice system sets out to ensure that victims of crime are supported and are given rights. What…

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What are my rights as a witness to a crime?

What are my rights as a witness to a crime?

As a witness, youre entitled to support from the police, courts and others involved in the criminal justice system. For example, if youre afraid to give evidence in court, you can ask if you can sit behind a screen. Find out what help youre entitled to. What the Witness Charter promises There are no special laws to say what help you should get as a witness. But there is a Witness Charter, which describes the…

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What are my rights if I am arrested?

What are my rights if I am arrested?

If the police suspect you of being involved in a crime they can arrest you and you will temporarily lose your right to freedom, but while you are under arrest and in police custody, you still have a number of other rights available to you and laws which protect you. Your rights on arrest When making an arrest, the police have a legal obligation to: use reasonable force to effect the arrest advise the person…

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What are non-molestation orders and how do I apply for them?

What are non-molestation orders and how do I apply for them?

Domestic abuse is a serious matter, and the law has been amended to afford specific protections for victims of domestic abuse. The law in question is the Family Law Act 1996, which provides for two types of court order that can be granted to protect someone from domestic abuse: occupation orders and non-molestation orders. What is a non-molestation order? Non-molestation orders are a civil court order designed to protect people from domestic violence. They are…

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What are the benefits of being a magistrate?

What are the benefits of being a magistrate?

Serving as a magistrate can provide invaluable benefits to you and your community. You’ll make an important contribution to upholding the law, and develop a deeper and broader understanding of your local community. Individual and community benefits There are a number of personal benefits you can gain as a magistrate, including: developing personal skills, such as decision-making, communicating and team-working, which can benefit your career and your employer developing an understanding of your local community…

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What are the limits and penalties for drink driving?

What are the limits and penalties for drink driving?

Limits The UK has clear limits on how much alcohol can be in your body if you are driving a vehicle. The legal limits are: 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine Penalties If you are found with more alcohol in your body than what is stated you may be charged with a number of…

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What are the penalties for drink driving?

What are the penalties for drink driving?

This article provides an overview of drink driving penalties. As you’ll notice there are a number of nuances, and many aggravating and mitigating factors for each offence. (1) Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs This is the most serious drink driving offence. As the level of alcohol consumption increases, so does the severity of the penalty. The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and/or 14 years imprisonment; an…

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What can I do about bullying at school?

What can I do about bullying at school?

What is bullying? Bullying is any harmful behaviour, which is normally repeated (and escalated) over an extended period of time. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), bullying includes: verbal abuse, such as name calling and gossiping non-verbal abuse, such as hand signs and text messages emotional abuse, such as threatening or intimidating someone exclusion, such as ignoring or isolating someone undermining by constantly criticising or spreading rumours racial…

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What can I do about bullying through mobile phones?

What can I do about bullying through mobile phones?

Receiving a rude text message or a threatening call on your mobile phone from a bully isn’t just upsetting. It can be a criminal offence. If you are being bullied on your mobile phone, don’t reply and let someone know as soon as possible. How can you get bullied on a mobile phone? Cyberbullying isn’t just something that takes place on the internet. You can also be cyberbullied if youget abusive calls and text messages…

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What can I do about bullying through social networks?

What can I do about bullying through social networks?

Bullying isn’t something that just happens in the real world. More and more teenagers are being bullied online through social networking sites. If you are getting threatening messages online, there are a number of ways to get them stopped. What are online social networks? There are lots of online social networks that let you chat with other internet users. You create your own profile and user name and fill in a few details about your…

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What can I do about bullying?

What can I do about bullying?

Whether you or someone you know is being bullied, make sure you tell someone who you trust what’s going on. There’s also a number of things you can do if you’re bullying others and you want to stop it. If you’re being bullied The first thing that you should do if you’re being bullied is to tell someone about it. You shouldn’t suffer in silence. You can tell a friend, a parent or a teacher…

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What can I do if I am a witness to a crime?

What can I do if I am a witness to a crime?

Witnessing a crime can be a very difficult and potentially harrowing experience. In some cases the victim may even have little idea a crime against them has occurred, whilst those who stand as eye-witnesses are left to experience the whole thing. If you see a crime being committed or see something that you think may be linked to the commission of a crime, then you can play an important role in reporting that crime to…

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What can I do if I am the victim of an abusive relationship?

What can I do if I am the victim of an abusive relationship?

What is relationship abuse? ‘Relationship abuse’ is abusive or coercive behaviour perpetrated to maintain control over a current or former intimate partner. The abuse, which tends to form a pattern and escalates over time, may be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation and intimidation. Relationship abuse is commonly known as domestic abuse or domestic violence. What is the Family Law Act and how does it relate to relationship abuse? The Family…

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What can I do if I have been bullied online?

What can I do if I have been bullied online?

Social networking sites, messaging and online discussions can all be used to bully and make fun of someone. Even if the bullying seems to be coming from someone you don’t know, that doesn’t mean that you can’t stop it happening. Being bullied online Internet bullying doesn’t only happen on social networks like Facebook and YouTube. Cyberbullies can use other ways to upset someone, like sending rude emails or instant messages. Here are some examples of…

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What can I do if my child has been abducted and taken out of the UK?

What can I do if my child has been abducted and taken out of the UK?

If your child is abducted and taken overseas, you are advised to inform the police, as a criminal offence may have been committed. Getting your child back Your chance of recovering your child will depend on the customs and laws of the country to which the child has been taken, as well as the attitude of, and your relationship with, the person who has taken the child. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides advice…

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What can I do to avoid drink driving?

What can I do to avoid drink driving?

Seven common sense tips to avoid a drink driving conviction 1. If there’s a chance you may drink alcohol, always leave your vehicle at home If you are going out for a drink, always leave your vehicle at home. Remember it only takes one or two drinks to push you over the limit. While this tip may seem obvious, many people tend to ignore it for the temporary convenience of making a quicker outward journey….

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What can I do to make sure I can access a court if I am disabled?

What can I do to make sure I can access a court if I am disabled?

If you need to go to court as a defendant, respondent, applicant victim, witness or juror and you have a disability, you made need extra support or facilities. Preparation Before you visit a court in any of the above capacities, you will be sent the following information: the date and time of the hearing the court’s opening hours and location current arrangements, facilities and support for people with disabilities a telephone or text phone number…

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What could happen if I get involved with drugs abroad?

What could happen if I get involved with drugs abroad?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released figures showing that 850 Britons are currently imprisoned overseas for drug-related offences. ‘Zero tolerance’ approach to drug offences abroad What might be a cautionary offence in the UK will not necessarily be treated the same way internationally. The ‘zero tolerance’ approach to drugs in some countries means that penalties for drug offences abroad can be considerable – ranging from lengthy prison terms of up to 39 years…

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What do I need to know about mugging and assault?

What do I need to know about mugging and assault?

Most muggings take place in the street or on public transport and usually happen in the evening. If youve been mugged or assaulted, get yourself checked over by a doctor and report it to the police. Being mugged Young people are often victims of a mugging because they tend to carry around expensive things like mobile phones, jewellery and MP3 players. Its also more likely that teens will be carrying cash instead of credit and…

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What do I bully people?

What do I bully people?

You may think teasing people at school is a bit of harmless fun, but for the victim, it can be no fun at all. There are lots of organisations and useful websites that can help if you want to stop bullying someone. Why bully someone? If you are bullying someone, think about why you’re doing it. Are you trying to look good or portray a certain image to your group of friends? There are a…

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What do I need to know abou changing my plea?

What do I need to know abou changing my plea?

If you are charged for a criminal offence you will be asked whether you wish to plead guilty or not guilty to the offence. Naturally, if you plead guilty and then wish to change to a not-guilty plea a jury is likely to draw significant inferences from your decision to plead guilty and then subsequently change to not guilty. A more common situation is when an individual is charged with a criminal offence and pleads…

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What do I need to know about ‘revenge porn’?

What do I need to know about ‘revenge porn’?

What do I need to know about ‘revenge porn’?

What is “revenge porn”? Revenge porn is a term used when a sexual act is recorded and uploaded to the internet or distributed without a participant or participants’ consent. It has been labelled “revenge porn” as in many cases the images or videos have been released to shame and embarrass a previous partner once a relationship has broken down. What can I do if someone has published images or a video of me without my…

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What do I need to know about Actual Bodily Harm?

What do I need to know about Actual Bodily Harm?

What is Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)? Actual bodily harm is a more severe form of assault. If the victim has needed significant medical assistance and/or the injuries are permanent then actual bodily harm may have occurred. If the injuries are less serious an offender may find themselves charged with assault. What sentence can I expect if I am convicted of actual bodily harm? The sentence you are likely to receive if you are found guilty…

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What do I need to know about alcohol-related crime?

What do I need to know about alcohol-related crime?

What is ‘alcohol-related crime’? ‘Alcohol-related crime’ is a term used to refer to two types of offences: Alcohol-defined offences include offences involving drunkenness, such as driving under the influence Offences in which alcohol consumption may be a contributing cause of the offence. Examples include assault, breach of the peace, criminal damage and other public order offences.   In which serious crimes does alcohol play a factor? According to the National Probation Service, “alcohol is a…

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What do I need to know about assisted suicide?

What do I need to know about assisted suicide?

The subject of assisted suicide is one of the most debated and controversial legal and moral issues of our time. Whilst there can really be no ‘right’ answer morally as to whether an individual should be able to choose the right to die, or whether somebody who assists a person who wants to die should be punished, in legal terms an answer must be provided so people are aware if the act is punishable. Is…

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What do I need to know about being arrested and imprisoned abroad?

What do I need to know about being arrested and imprisoned abroad?

If a British national is arrested or detained overseas, the local British Consul will try to help. The Consul cannot get you out of jail, but will take action if your rights have been denied or abused. If you are arrested If you are arrested abroad, the first thing you should do is contact the British Consul. Give them as much information as possible about your situation. For example, you should try to provide: the…

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What do I need to know about bigamy and the law?

What do I need to know about bigamy and the law?

If a person gets married in the UK and is already legally married, then they are committing bigamy and the marriage will be considered void. Is bigamy a criminal offence? Bigamy is a crime under section 57 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. If someone is caught entering into another marriage whilst still being legally married and is convicted on indictment, they are liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years….

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What do I need to know about burglary?

What do I need to know about burglary?

Burglary can be very distressing. Fortunately, there are a number of tried-and-tested practical tips to keep burglars at bay. Property marking Marked property can be readily identified by its owner and the police. Moreover, burglars have a harder time cashing in on traceable property as other criminals will be less likely to purchase it. Although marking, etching or punching a postcode, house number or the first three letters of the house name can be a…

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What do I need to know about car vandalism and the law?

What do I need to know about car vandalism and the law?

Vandalism is a criminal offence and anybody found guilty will face criminal punishment, which could be a large fine or imprisonment depending on the severity of the action. The act of vandalism is defined as a deliberate act with the intention to cause damage to somebody else’s property. You therefore do not commit vandalism if you cause damage accidentally, though you may still be liable in civil law, or even face criminal punishment if you…

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What do I need to know about causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs

What do I need to know about causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs

The most serious drink driving offence is ‘causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs’. The charge can only be heard in the Crown Court. Elements of the offence To prove this offence, the prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that a driver: caused the death of another person; fell below the standard expected of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver in the circumstances; and the driver was unfit through…

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What do I need to know about computer hacking?

What do I need to know about computer hacking?

Computer hacking is illegal and carries a possible sanction of imprisonment. Computer hacking has been thrown into the public eye recently with increasing allegations that certain newspapers hired private investigators to hack into people’s phones and computers in order to obtain stories that would sell. Computer Misuse Act Under the Computer Misuse Act it is an offence to hack into somebody else’s computer or send them a form of virus that allows them to obtain…

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What do I need to know about crime statistics?

What do I need to know about crime statistics?

Crime rates are published each year in an annual report that looks at both reported and unreported crimes. National and local statistics and crime maps are available online so that you can see how your own community measures up. How crime is measured Crime is measured in two ways: the police keep a record of all crimes reported to them the government conducts an annual survey of crime victims, called the British Crime survey  …

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What do I need to know about criminal justice in UK?

What do I need to know about criminal justice in UK?

The most serious crimes fall under criminal law, such as murder, assault, robbery and rape. These laws are enforced by the police and the courts, and if you break them you can face very serious consequences, including time in prison. The prosecution process If the police charge you with a criminal offence, theyll pass information about the case on to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will prosecute you in court if it believes…

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What do I need to know about criminal legal aid?

What do I need to know about criminal legal aid?

Legal aid helps people pay for the cost of getting legal advice. You must meet certain conditions to be eligible for legal aid. Find out how legal aid works and what costs legal aid can help with. What is legal aid? Legal aid is a scheme that helps people pay for legal advice. You might get legal aid if you meet certain conditions. These include: the type of problem you have your financial circumstances how…

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What do I need to know about cruelty to animals?

What do I need to know about cruelty to animals?

In 2007, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into force in England and Wales, bringing together more than 20 pieces of legislation and leading to a complete overhaul of pet abuse laws. Under the Act, it is not only against the law to be cruel to an animal, but it places a duty on animal owners to ensure that their welfare needs are met. Animal Welfare Act 2006 The Act places a responsibility on owners…

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What do I need to know about domestic violence?

What do I need to know about domestic violence?

What is domestic violence? Domestic violence tends to form a pattern and escalates over time, may be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation and intimidation. What is the Family Law Act and how does it relate to domestic violence? The Family Law Act 1996 (FLA), as amended by the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004, enables a man or woman to obtain an injunction (court order) to protect them from…

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What do I need to know about drink driving?

What do I need to know about drink driving?

This article provides an overview of drink driving law in the UK. It starts with a brief history of legislation in the area, then turns to the current offences and penalties for drink driving, and ends by looking at the way the police test drink driving suspects. (1) History of Drink Driving Law The UK passed its first drink driving law in 1872. No automobiles existed then, so it only applied to driving a carriage,…

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What do I need to know about drugs and crime?

What do I need to know about drugs and crime?

You may think that the police will only arrest someone who’s caught dealing drugs, but even using drugs could land you a large fine or worse. Find out more about the laws on drugs and drug use. How drugs are classified All drugs are put into one of three categories based on how dangerous they are. Class A drugs are drugs that have the most harmful effects. These drugs include heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD….

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What do I need to know about fraud?

What do I need to know about fraud?

Fraud is a criminal act involving the use of a lie, a false position or the prejudice of another person’s rights, in order to derive a personal benefit. Fraud is perhaps wrongly viewed as a crime involving large sums of money, committed in the financial sector. Whilst this view encompasses part of the definition of fraud, other frauds can be as simple as lying to obtain a state benefit, or wrongly using a blue disabled-parking…

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What do I need to know about grievous bodily harm (GBH)?

What do I need to know about grievous bodily harm (GBH)?

Grievous bodily harm, more commonly known simply as GBH, refers to any “really serious harm” which is inflicted on an individual. GBH is often associated with ABH (actual bodily harm) which, as its name suggests, is harm to an individual which is not as great as that caused by GBH in that it is not deemed “really serious” harm. A solicitor should be able to give advice as to which category any harm falls into,…

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What do I need to know about gun crime?

What do I need to know about gun crime?

Gun crime or firearms offences, are incidents in UK criminal law involving guns. It is a criminal offence to possess some types of firearms, but the term ‘gun crime’ also includes other types of offences such as robbery or murder, when they involve firearms. According to the Firearms Act 1968 a firearm is a lethal, barrelled weapon, from which a bullet or missile can be discharged (fired). The Act includes not just weapons but also…

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What do I need to know about hoax 999 calls?

What do I need to know about hoax 999 calls?

A hoax 999 call is when a person deliberately calls the emergency services, including the fire, police and ambulance services, to falsely inform them that there is an emergency when in fact there is not. Sometimes, people make hoax 999 calls not even to report that there has been a (false) emergency, but simply to abuse the emergency services or as a part of a ‘joke’. The law It is a criminal offence to make…

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What do I need to know about human trafficking?

What do I need to know about human trafficking?

Human trafficking describes when people are taken against their will in order to be exploited. It is essentially forcing somebody to be a slave and is, therefore, illegal in the UK and almost anywhere in the world. If you become aware of somebody who is part of a trafficking gang or fear you may be at risk of being taken against your will you should contact the police at the earliest possible opportunity. Types of…

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What do I need to know about hunting?

What do I need to know about hunting?

Under UK law, ‘hunting’ means using one or more dogs to chase a wild animal with the intention of catching and killing it. Hunting is illegal in the UK, subject to a few exceptions. The Hunting Act 2004 came into force in early 2005 under the Tony Blair Government. It was seen as a compromise between anti-hunting demonstrators and pro-hunting lobbyists. The Act, however, has come under increasing pressure with the Government due to decide…

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What do I need to know about identity theft?

What do I need to know about identity theft?

Identity fraud (also called identity theft) is when somebody pretends to be you. They may do this in order to buy things in your name that they never intend to pay for. You and your bank can end up with the bill. It’s becoming more common, so it is more important than ever for you to take action to protect your personal details. Signs your identity has been stolen Signs that you have become a…

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What do I need to know about incitement?

What do I need to know about incitement?

Incitement is an inchoate offence, which means that the offence occurs as a result of actions or agreements entered into in preparation for a substantive offence. The creation of inchoate offences allows the police to intervene before a substantive crime is carried out and harm has been caused. Other inchoate offences include ‘conspiracy’ and ‘attempt’. On 1 October 2008, the offence of incitement was abolished; however, before then it was a common-law offence committed by…

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What do I need to know about knife crime?

What do I need to know about knife crime?

What do I need to know about knife crime?

Knife crime is a term used to describe any crime committed using a knife, whether or not the knife is actually used to inflict harm on the victim. The definition of a knife includes any sharpened weapon with a blade. Knife crime in the UK is serious, and there is evidence that in some parts of the UK knife crime remains very prevalent, with statistics released in 2013 showing that in London alone there were…

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What do I need to know about money laundering?

What do I need to know about money laundering?

Money laundering is the process of channelling ‘bad’ money into ‘good ‘money in order to hide the fact the money originated from criminal activity. For example, if an individual had stolen £200 and he was later stopped by a policeman and asked where he had got his £200 from, he would not be able to show where it came from as he would have no receipt, bank statement or wage slip showing where the money…

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What do I need to know about phone hacking?

What do I need to know about phone hacking?

The act of intercepting someone’s telephone calls is a criminal, rather than a civil, offence and it is punishable by a either fine or up to two years’ imprisonment or both. Phone hacking also involves civil causes of action, which allows its victims to sue for damages. However, greater clarity surrounding the law governing phone hacking has been called for recently in light of an unprecedented phone-hacking scandal. News International, owner of the Sunday newspaper…

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What do I need to know about prison procedures and prisoner rights?

What do I need to know about prison procedures and prisoner rights?

When a person is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, they must participate in a minimum of one interview and an assessment on arrival at prison. These sessions are conducted with several purposes in mind: to educate the prisoner about prison rules, practices and procedures to advise the prisoner about the nature of their rights to inform the prisoner of courses available to them to alert the prisoner to appropriate healthcare channels. The prisoner is…

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What do I need to know about religious hate crime?

What do I need to know about religious hate crime?

Crimes that are motivated by religious hatred will be treated seriously. Anyone found guilty of a religiously motivated crime may be given a more severe punishment than someone who commits the same crime without prejudice. What is religious hate crime? Religious hate crimes happen when someone is attacked or threatened because of their religion or their beliefs. Although racial and religious hatred may seem very similar, the police and the courts may treat racial crimes…

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What do I need to know about robbery?

What do I need to know about robbery?

Robberies (including muggings, and snatch thefts) are crimes that often involve violence or threats. The chance that this will ever happen to you is quite small, but you should be aware of what you can do to keep yourself and your property safe. Top tips: staying safe from robbery If you have to walk alone at night take extra care.Stay on roads that are well lit and relatively busy. To stay safe, you can also:…

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What do I need to know about rogue trading?

What do I need to know about rogue trading?

A rogue trader is somebody who works in a large financial institution and makes independent decisions on buying and selling financial assets, despite not being legally allowed to. Essentially a rogue trader abuses their position by making large speculative bets on the future of financial instruments which could potentially lead to the company which employees the rogue trader losing millions of pounds. Nick Leeson, Rogue Trader The phrase ‘rogue trader’ was placed firmly in the…

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What do I need to know about stalking?

What do I need to know about stalking?

Stalking is a term used to describe a type of harassment. If you believe you are a victim of stalking, it is important to become familiar with the laws that are in place to protect you and the precautions you can take to protect yourself. Harassment includes actions that cause alarm and distress. Stalking in particular is behaviour that is repeated and unwanted by the victim. It can include actions that, although when isolated may…

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What do I need to know about terrorism and the law?

What do I need to know about terrorism and the law?

The laws explaining what terrorism is are known as the Terrorism Acts. Anybody who is involved with terrorism in any way can be prosecuted under these laws. Find out what these laws are and what they mean to you. The counter-terrorism laws The work done by the police and the government to prevent terrorism attacks and identify would-be terrorists is known as counter-terrorism. The laws on counter-terrorism are mainly contained within five Acts. These Acts…

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What do I need to know about the Code of Practice for victims of crime?

What do I need to know about the Code of Practice for victims of crime?

What is the purpose of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime? The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime sets out the rights of victims of crime and governs the services provided to them by various criminal justice organisations. What is the legal basis of the Code of Practice? The Code of Practice is given force of law by section 32 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and is issued…

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What do I need to know about the Magistracy and the role of a magistrate?

What do I need to know about the Magistracy and the role of a magistrate?

If you care about justice and would like to gain valuable skills while serving your community, becoming a magistrate could be the role for you. What are magistrates and what do they do? Magistrates – also known as ‘Justices of the Peace’ – are volunteers who run a lower court that handles minor (‘summary’) offences and conducts preliminary hearings for more serious matters (‘offences triable either way’ and ‘indictable offences’). What are the requirements for…

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What do I need to know about weapons and the law?

What do I need to know about weapons and the law?

The threat of violent crime with the use of weapons is becoming ever more prominent in modern society. Therefore, it is important that there are sufficient laws in place to deter and punish offenders. If you require further help on a matter of criminal law you can use our solicitor directory to the right of this article to look for legal advice near you. Possession of an offensive weapon Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act…

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What do I need to know about women’s safety?

What do I need to know about women’s safety?

Women and girls are often the targets of violence, including domestic violence, sexual assault, forced marriage, and trafficking. If you are a victim, you don’t have to put up with it. Find out where to get support and advice. Violence against women: the numbers Studies done by the British Crime Survey and similar surveys show that: nearly one in three women have experienced domestic violence nearly one in four women have experienced some form of…

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What happens during a police station interview and what are my rights?

What happens during a police station interview and what are my rights?

Once a suspect’s detention at the police station has been authorised, the officer investigating the offence may wish to carry out an audibly recorded interview about the suspect’s alleged involvement in the offence(s). If you are interviewed at a police station, such interviews must comply with the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by Police Officers (Code C) and the Code of Practice on Audio Recording Interviews…

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What happens if a young person goes to court as witness?

What happens if a young person goes to court as witness?

If you are under 18 and have been a victim or witness of a crime you may be asked to give evidence. Appearing in court can feel intimidating, so you can give evidence in other ways like using a video link or on videotape. Find out what these are. Appearing in court as a witness or a victim You might be allowed to give evidence in private, in writing or by video Extra care is…

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What happens if I fail to provide a roadside breath test sample?

What happens if I fail to provide a roadside breath test sample?

1. Power to request a roadside breath test A uniformed police constable may legally request a breath specimen for analysis if he or she has reasonable cause to suspect that: you are currently committing, or recently committed, a moving traffic offence; you have driven or attempted to drive or been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with alcohol in your body; or you were driving, attempting to drive,…

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What happens if I fail to provide a test sample when stopped on suspicion of drink driving?

What happens if I fail to provide a test sample when stopped on suspicion of drink driving?

When someone is stopped or arrested on suspicion of drink driving they may genuinely think they don’t have to provide a test sample until they’ve spoken to their solicitor. Others may simply refuse to cooperate carte blanche as a way to evade prosecution. And in rare cases someone may have a genuinely reasonable excuse why they can’t provide a specimen, for example on medical grounds. This article explains your rights and potential repercussions in each…

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What happens if I go to court as a witness?

What happens if I go to court as a witness?

Why have I been called to give evidence as a witness in court? There are a number of reasons why a court might ask a person to attend court as a witness: a) the person may have seen a crime being committed or observed a dispute in progress b) the person may have specialist (‘expert’) knowledge of a subject that may assist the court in its understanding of the facts of the case; or c)…

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What happens if I’m a repeat drink driving offender?

What happens if I’m a repeat drink driving offender?

If you are a repeat offender you can expect to receive a penalty for drink driving 2-3 times more severe than someone caught for the first time. Indeed, if you are convicted of drink driving offences twice inside 10 years, you will be subject to the High Risk Offender Scheme and a mandatory long-term driving disqualification. Minimum 3 year driving ban If you have a conviction for a similar offence within a ten year period…

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What happens when a child goes to court as a witness or victim?

What happens when a child goes to court as a witness or victim?

If you are under 18 and have been a victim or witness of a crime you may be asked to give evidence during a trial. However, as a child “special measures” are available to help you give evidence without feeling scared or intimidated. These special measures are used to reduce stress and allow you to give a more clear account of your evidence. Video evidence Rather than appearing in court, as a child you will…

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What happens when I go to court as a defendant?

What happens when I go to court as a defendant?

A person who is subjected to criminal proceedings in a court of law is known as a ‘criminal defendant’. If you require further help on a matter of criminal law you can use our solicitor directory to the right of this article to look for legal advice near you. Initial hearing at court On their first appearance in a criminal court, the defendant is asked to ‘enter’ their plea. In other words, they must declare in open…

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What if the person abusing me is not my partner?

What if the person abusing me is not my partner?

You can get an injunction in the civil court under the Family Law Act 1996 if the person abusing you is: your current or former husband, wife or civil partner; someone you are or were in a relationship with, whether or not you were living together; someone you are or have been engaged to marry, or agreed to form a civil partnership with; someone you live with or have lived with (but not your tenant…

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What is ‘Crime Reduction Initiatives’?

What is ‘Crime Reduction Initiatives’?

Who are they? Crime Reduction Initiatives is a charity registered in the UK which has the goal of promoting safer and healthier communities. The charity operates a number of different initiatives, usually within areas of the country that have been subject to high levels of crime or drug abuse. Many of the charity’s initiatives focus on the rehabilitation of an individual who has perhaps undertaken criminal activity and appears to have few options to change…

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What is ‘cyberbullying’?

What is ‘cyberbullying’?

Cyberbullying is when one person or a group of people try to threaten or embarrass someone else using a mobile phone or the internet. Cyberbullying is just as harmful as bullying in the real world. If you see it happening, report it. Don’t ignore it. Are you a part of it? Those who take part in online bullying often use a group of friends to target their victims. They can askothers to add a comment…

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What is ‘Witness Protection’?

What is ‘Witness Protection’?

Witness protection is often required when witnesses are fearful of giving evidence because they believe that they or their family may be at risk of harm if their identity is revealed to the defendant or their associates during or following criminal proceedings. This is often particularly the case in prosecutions for homicides, gun crime and organised crime. If prosecutors or police are informed that a witness in proceedings is fearful of giving evidence, they must…

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What is an ASBO?

What is an ASBO?

If someone over ten years old is shown to have engaged in anti-social behaviour, the courts can issue an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) against them, which tells them how they must not behave. ASBOs were introduced by the British Government under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (CDA) as a means of clamping down on community based problems often associated with youths that would not ordinarily warrant criminal prosecution. Anti-social behaviour can include: noise pollution,…

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What is an occupation order and how do I apply for one?

What is an occupation order and how do I apply for one?

Domestic abuse and violence is a crime, and is now a matter that is being taken increasingly seriously by law makers, the police and support groups. The law has been set up to help protect those who are victims of domestic violence, by providing a range of court orders to help protect victims from their abusers. The Family Law Act 1996 provides for two types of court order that can be granted to protect someone…

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What is bail and how does it work?

What is bail and how does it work?

Bail is the term used when a person charged with a criminal offence is released from police custody until he next appears in court or at the police station. Generally, in order to grant bail the police will require certain security to be given or certain conditions met. Essentially, the principles of putting a defendant on bail are to try to ensure the defendant returns for the court hearing or to the police station whilst…

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What is contempt of court?

What is contempt of court?

If you are guilty of contempt of court you may be sent to prison. It is therefore important to know what this means and how somebody may indeed be in risk of contempt of court. Contempt of court is occurs when somebody is deemed to have interfered with the administration of justice. This may take several forms but each of them will result in justice itself not being properly carried out. It is for this…

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What is extradition?

What is extradition?

Extradition is the legal process whereby someone is removed from one country and transferred to another against their will. It is covered by the Extradition Act 2003. The procedure may be used for the purpose of criminal prosecution; if someone has been convicted of a crime and needs to be sentenced; or if a sentence has already been imposed (and evaded) and needs to be carried out. Without extradition, people would be able to escape…

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What is hate crime?

What is hate crime?

Hate crime is a term used to describe any criminal activity that is caused by an extremely discriminatory or prejudicial view. Generally, those targeted during acts of hate crime will be targeted as a result of their race, skin colour, sexual orientation or religious belief. Hate crime is essentially when a criminal act takes place and the motivation behind the crime is to attack or harm a particular group or person because they are of…

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What is homophobic and transphobic hate crime?

What is homophobic and transphobic hate crime?

What is homophobic hate crime? Homophobic hate crime is any criminal action that is motivated by a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. This can include: physcial abuse, verbal abuse and damage to property. What is transphobic hate crime? Transphobic hate crime is any criminal action that is motivated by the victim’s transgender identity or perceived to be transgender. This can include: physcial abuse, verbal abuse and damage to property. How do I report…

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What is sanctuary?

What is sanctuary?

Sanctuary in churches Between the fourth and the seventeenth century, English law recognised churches as sacred places where fugitives could flee in order to achieve immunity from arrest. Although they may then be required to pay a fine, forfeit goods, go into exile or perform penance, their life and body would be preserved. During the Reformation (whereby the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in…

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What is the Bribery Act?

What is the Bribery Act?

The Bribery Act is an act of Parliament that has been implemented into UK law in order to not only prevent various forms and elements of bribery, but also to open up how firms conduct their business, and make sure appropriate safeguards are in place to avoid any dishonest activities. What is bribery? Bribery itself is defined as both the giving and receiving of bribes in terms of someone who facilitates, gives or receives an…

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What is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)?

What is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)?

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was created in 1985 under the Prosecution of Offences Act and began operating in 1986. It is responsible for prosecuting people in England and Wales who have been charged with a criminal offence following investigations by the police. It is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and is divided into 13 geographical areas across England and Wales, with each area being led by a Chief Crown Prosecutor. The CPS…

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What is the difference between probation and a suspended sentence?

What is the difference between probation and a suspended sentence?

Probation is sometimes used as an alternative to sending a defendant to prison. It will often be used when an individual is guilty of a crime but that crime is either deemed not sufficiently serious, or the defendant’s previous record indicates that a prison sentence is perhaps not suitable. A criminal solicitor should be able to indicate whether probation is appropriate in your circumstances. If you require further help on a matter of criminal law you…

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What is the drink driving limit?

What is the drink driving limit?

When speaking of the ‘drink driving limit’ one should actually use the plural since there is more than one: one limit for alcohol in the breath, another for blood, and one for urine. The current drink driving limits for England Wales and Northern Ireland have been in place since 1967 and are as follows: 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres (ml) of breath; 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood; or 107…

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What is the International Criminal Court?

What is the International Criminal Court?

The International Criminal Court is the international court which attempts to bring to justice any individual who has committed or instructed anybody to carry out acts of one of the four international crimes. These are: Genocide War crimes Crimes against humanity Crimes of aggression   The Court was formally opened and began commencing proceedings against people guilty of war crimes in 2002; this means that is has no jurisdiction to bring claims against any crimes…

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What is the Malicious Communications Act?

What is the Malicious Communications Act?

Most people use the internet and mobile phones safely, sensibly and without incident. However, when this technology is abused or used to intimidate, threaten or harass other people, serious legal consequences may follow. London 2012 Olympic Games and the Malicious Communications Act Until the Twitter outrage involving Olympic diver, Tom Daley, the general public had heard very little about the Malicious Communication Act, let alone how wide-ranging its provisions are. After failing to secure a…

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What items should I not take on a plane?

What items should I not take on a plane?

What items should I not take on a plane?

In order to prevent dangerous items from being taken on board planes, the UK has in place strict security measures, particularly in relation to hand luggage. What are dangerous items? Some items that may appear to be harmless may pose a significant risk if taken on board a flight. ‘Dangerous’ goods are those that pose the same danger irrespective of whether they are carried in checked baggage or hand luggage and passengers are therefore prohibited…

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What legal steps can I take over domestic violence, abuse and harassment?

What legal steps can I take over domestic violence, abuse and harassment?

Once you have thought about the practical things you need to do to ensure your short-term safety, you can take some legal steps to make sure the law can protect you. You can get help from the criminal law and the civil law together or separately. You have a number of choices, depending on: what has happened; what you want to do; and what you can afford. There are several reasons why you may need…

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What should I do if I am the victim of rape and sexual assault?

What should I do if I am the victim of rape and sexual assault?

What to do if you have been raped or sexually assaulted Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes in the UK. If you think you, or someone you know, has been raped or sexually assaulted then the guidance below may be of use. Have I been raped or sexually assaulted? Rape and sexual assault involves any unwanted sexual behaviour towards one person by another. If you have been in a sexual situation that you did…

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What should I do if I have been abused?

What should I do if I have been abused?

The first thing is to make sure that you and any children are safe. If you need protection during a violent incident, call the police on 999. If you are using a mobile phone, tell the operator where you are immediately, because they cannot find out by tracing your call. The police have a duty to protect you and any children and make sure you are safe. They may arrest your partner. They may go…

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What should I expect if I’m tested for drink driving?

What should I expect if I’m tested for drink driving?

Breath testing (1) Preliminary test As a preliminary step in most drink driving investigations, the police administer a breath test and/or a sobriety/impairment test at the roadside. The law only permits a uniformed constable to perform these tests, not a plain clothes officer. Moreover, the constable may only initiate testing if they have ‘reasonable cause’ to suspect that a person has either consumed alcohol or committed a traffic offence. If the suspect fails to submit…

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What the police can do if I suffered domestic violence, abuse and harassment?

What the police can do if I suffered domestic violence, abuse and harassment?

The police can take action to protect you and your children. They may do this by arresting your partner, if they have the power to do so, and holding him or her for a short time (for example, overnight). The police will then normally investigate what happened, to see whether a crime has been committed. The police will need your help with their investigation. However, it is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – not you…

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What the prison service does

What the prison service does

If someone you know is sent to prison, they must be treated fairly. The prison service must ensure that they are held in a safe environment, and that they cannot escape. Find out more about what prisoners can expect to find. Keeping prisons secure Making sure that prisons are protected and solidly fenced, so that nobody can get in or out without permission is one of the prison services most basic jobs. Each prison must…

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When do the police need a warrant?

When do the police need a warrant?

The police have the right to search your property and seize any items that are linked with a crime, but they must do so lawfully. Any search which is not done lawfully will be in breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act which protects a suspect’s right to respect for his private and family life. The police must therefore ensure any attempts to search property and seize goods are reasonably necessary and proportionate…

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Where can I find local crime information?

Where can I find local crime information?

Find local crime information Find information on crime and anti-social behaviour on your streets, wherever you live in England and Wales. Find the crime information for your street Click here to use the search tool to see street-level crime maps and information http://www.police.uk/ You can also find details of your Neighbourhood Policing Team and get involved in local events and meetings.   Other local crime information Community Payback Community Payback can be given to offenders…

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Where can I get crime figures for my area?

Where can I get further support as a victim of domestic violence, abuse and harassment?

Where can I get further support as a victim of domestic violence, abuse and harassment?

Community Legal Advice Provides free information direct to the public on a range of common legal problems. Call 0845 345 4 345 If you qualify for legal aid, get free advice from a specialist legal adviser about benefits and tax credits, debt, education, employment or housing. Also find a high quality local legal adviser or solicitor. Find a high quality local legal adviser or solicitor, link to other online information and see if you qualify…

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Where can I get help and advice as a victim of drink driving?

Where can I get help and advice as a victim of drink driving?

Victims of drink driving have a number of places to go for help and advice. If you’re a victim, this article explains your options and outlines the support that is available. 1. Legal Help and Advice If you’re a victim of drink driving and suffer an injury or property damage, or one of your loved ones is injured or passes away following the accident, you may be able to claim compensation. There are many things…

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Where can I get help and support as a victim of crime?

Where can I get help and support as a victim of crime?

If you have been a victim of crime there are a number of services and organisations that could help you. Victims’ Information Service (victimsinformationservice.org.uk) The Victims’ Information Service offers advice and support for victims of crime. The Victims’ Information Service lets you use your postcode to find support services such: Counselling Finding a safe place to stay Finding practical help Finding emotional support The Victims’ Information Service also has advice online concerning specific types of…

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Why do I need a solicitor?

Why do I need a solicitor?

If you’ve been a victim of a crime, there are several reasons why you might need a solicitor. For example, if you intend to make a claim for compensation, and your claim is likely to be complex or for a large sum of money, then it may be prudent and cost-effective for you to get advice from a solicitor. Here is a brief summary of the types of claims a crime victim might consider making,…

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Will I go to jail for drink driving?

Will I go to jail for drink driving?

While drink driving does not carry a mandatory jail sentence, it can result in imprisonment when the offender has a very high breath test result or if they cause death by careless driving. Drink driving has vast consequences, not least for the families of those that are killed as a result. Therefore the courts, understandably, are not lenient with offenders and handing out prison sentences. The punishments It is important that if you have been…

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Young offenders

Young offenders

The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old; however, not all offenders are treated in the same way when they have committed a criminal offence. Youth offenders are typically those aged between 10 and 17 years old. For the purposes of the criminal law, offenders aged 18 and above are treated as adults, although if given a prison sentence they would normally be sent to a place designed to hold…

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Young people and custody

Young people and custody

If you are under 18 and sent to custody you will be treated very differently from adults. You will be given help with education, training, and improving your behaviour. Find out where you can be sent to custody and what it will be like. Why young people are sent to custody You will be given a custodial sentence if you commit a very serious crime If you are found guilty of a crime, you could…

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Young people and knife crime

Young people and knife crime

There have been a number of high-profile incidents where teenagers have been killed or injured by someone using a knife as a weapon. Its important to know all about the laws that control who can carry and buy a knife. What counts as knife crime Knife crime is simply any crime that involves a knife. This includes: carrying a knife or trying to buy one if youre under 18 threateningsomeone with a knife carrying a…

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Young people, drugs and crime

Young people, drugs and crime

If you are caught carrying drugs which you intend to use yourself, rather than dealing to other people, you could still face serious punishments including fines and even prison time. The severity of the punishment depends on the type of drug you are carrying and the amount. This article explains the different classifications of drugs and the punishments for possession for personal use, and intent to supply. Drug classifications Illegal drugs are divided into three…

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Young people: going to court after being charged with a crime

Young people: going to court after being charged with a crime

The criminal justice system sets out to ensure fairness for all when considering criminal matters and the effects of crime on victims. Always the balance is in ensuring justice is served, and that prosecutions are in the public interest. The system must ensure that criminals are punished, victims heard, and the innocent acquitted. Balancing these matters is difficult, and the criminal justice system does not always get the balance right. One important area where the…

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