Basic Definitions

Arrest - Read more about what happens when you are arrested here

Caution - You might be offered a caution anytime after arrest, generally it is recommended not to accept a caution (nor Community Resolution - similar to a caution but less serious). Read more about them here:

Charge - This is when the decision is made by the police and/or CPS to prosecute you for an offence (not necessarily the one you were arrested for). You will be given a court date to appear in court and it’s up to you to make sure your solicitor knows that date if you want them to attend the hearing.

Conviction - If you either plead guilty or are found guilty at court, then you will have a conviction for the offence with which you were charged.

Venue - Depending on what you are charged with, your case could be tried in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. You may not be given a choice about this. 

If your case is to be tried in the Magistrates Court (these are called “summary only” offences), the case will be heard by a lay bench (generally retired volunteers) or a District Judge sitting alone. If you are charged with an either-way (which can be tried in either the Magistrates court) offence, we recommend electing a Crown Court trial by jury where possible. If you are charged with an indictable offence, your case can only be heard in the Crown Court with a jury.