To be accused of any crime is a stressful experience, but for a fraud allegation, this can include a raid of your home during the early hours of the morning, or you may find yourself being taken into police custody for questioning, when you least expect it. This can be distressing for both you and for your family, so sourcing the legal expertise of a fraud solicitor to support you at the earliest possible stage is a sensible move to make.
How can a solicitor help me?
When you first meet your solicitor, they will be able to establish the facts of what has happened and explain where you stand legally, so you understand the position you are in. The fact is, there are many different types of fraud, ranging from application fraud, benefit fraud, debit card fraud to other issues such as false accounting fraud, hedge fund scams, and property fraud. There are numerous different types and it costs the UK billions of pounds each year. If you have been accused of fraud, therefore, it will be taken very seriously and a fully qualified and experienced solicitor will be able to advise on the appropriate steps that need to be taken. They can advise you on how to respond during questioning and will liaise with the police on your behalf. Sometimes, their early intervention can determine whether or not charges are actually brought against you, so it is really important that you seek their support from the earliest possible stage.
What happens if I am charged?
If you are charged with a type of fraud, you will go to court and a solicitor will represent you and be with you throughout the whole of this time. In criminal cases, you will first go to a magistrates’ court and if it is serious enough, as it probably will be, you will then be sent to the Crown Court, where you will stand trial and be sentenced if you are found guilty. During the Crown Court trial, you will also be represented by a barrister and solicitors will continue to support their work, providing them with the necessary information they need during the trial. This is why it is essential to have a solicitor whom you can trust and has ideally known you from the earliest stage possible to be able to provide the most detailed case on your behalf.
What type of sentence may I expect to receive if I am found guilty?
This will depend very much on the type of fraud you have been charged with, the plea you made at court and whether or not there were any mitigating circumstances. A solicitor dealing with your case will be best placed to advise you on what sort of sentence you may expect if you are found guilty, based on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Fraud is a very serious crime and it can carry a custodial sentence. You may also be required to pay back any money earned from an act of fraud. If you are innocent, however, having a knowledgeable solicitor to represent you is essential to ensure that the fair and just outcome is achieved for you.
How do I find a solicitor?
There are some solicitor firms who are available 24/7 to assist with questioning at the police station; they also support clients throughout the UK. Finding a solicitor who has these flexible hours may be essential, if you have been arrested during the night, for example. When you call them, they should also be willing to give you immediate advice on the telephone to prevent you from worrying and explain how they will be able to help. This is arguably the sort of solicitor you want to keep you calm and to help you carry on.