Indictable Offences | Read Time 2-4 Minutes
In total, 3 categories define how crime is dealt with through the criminal justice system in the UK. These categories are used to determine the seriousness of a criminal offence and the court where the offence will be tried.
These categories include:
Under Section 3 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, an indictable offence is an offence that may be tried on indictment. Furthermore, these types of offences have no limitation period meaning that if evidence emerges that an offence was committed in the past, charges can still be laid.
Indictable offences are considered the most severe criminal offence in the UK.
For the purposes of this article, we will be explaining indictable offences, how they are committed and how the courts deal with them. Furthermore, we will explain why it’s essential to seek legal representation when facing prosecution for an indictable offence.
What is an indictable offence?
In simple terms, indictable only offences are those that can only be tried in the Crown Court in front of a judge and jury. Typically, evidence is usually heard in front of a jury of 12 people. However, a trial may be tried in front of a judge alone, if the defence and prosecution agree.
Indictable offences often involve a substantial prison sentence. Therefore, if you have been accused of this type of offence, you must seek legal advice.
There are two types of courts in the criminal justice system where criminals are sentenced for crimes. These courts are called the Crown Court and Magistrates Court. Firstly, in every criminal case, the defendant must first appear in the Magistrate’s court. Whilst at the magistrate’s court, it will be decided if the court has sufficient sentencing powers to deal with the criminal. Furthermore, if it’s decided that the magistrate’s has insufficient sentencing powers to deal with the matter, it will be immediately forwarded to the Crown court.
What is the indictable offence process?
When a defendant has been sent to the Crown Court for an indictable offence, whether by the Magistrates’ decision or the defendant requesting to be tried in the Crown Court, they will enter a preliminary hearing. In the hearing, the defendant will be allowed to enter a plea, which will produce one of two outcomes:
The defendant pleads guilty
Pleading guilty essentially means that the defendant admits that they have committed the crime. If this is the case, they will be immediately sentenced by the court. However, in some cases, it may be postponed until the Pre-Sentence Report is completed.
The defendant pleads not guilty
When a defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will provide a timetable schedule for disclosing evidence before the trial. Furthermore, they will provide a date for the Case Management Hearing.
If the jury and judge decide that the defendant is not guilty, they will be released unconditionally. However, if it’s found that they are guilty, they will be sentenced to either a custodial sentence or non-custodial sentence.
We can connect you to a expert criminal defence lawyer who can provide you representation in your indictable offence matter. Just give us a quick call on 020 3795 9020.
What offences are indictable only?
Indictable offences cover a wide range of serious criminal offences. Some of the most common cases include:
Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
ABH is where an individual assaults and harms another person. In the eyes of the law, the harm does not need to be serious to be classed as ABH. However, it does need to be more significant than just a push or shove.
Grievous bodily harm (GBH) is one of the most serious types of criminal offences. More often than not, it will include broken limbs and psychiatric injuries. Furthermore, GBH charges are indictable offences and cannot be heard by the magistrates’ court due to the severity of the offence.
Rape / Sexual Assault
Rape and sexual assaults crimes are always tried as indictable offences due to the severe nature of the offence. The term rape is when an individual intentionally penetrates another’s vagina, anus or mouth with a penis without the individual’s consent. Furthermore, to be charged of this offence it has to be proved that the act was committed either through force, threat or intimidation.
For more information on violent crimes, please see our Violent Crimes and Their Punishments blog.
How can a criminal defence lawyer help?
It can be very daunting when facing an indictable offence. The law surrounding these types of offences is very complex and requires an expert legal assistant. Furthermore, these types of offences carry heavier sentencing guidelines than any other offence, meaning there is a chance you will be given a custodial sentence.
Seeking the help of a lawyer will give you the best chance of success when facing this type of offence. A criminal defence lawyer can provide:
- Representation for police interviews – this can prevent you from potentially providing incriminating information.
- Analyse the evidence at hand to assess if it has been obtained lawfully.
- Deliver your defence coherently and efficiently without emotion.
If you are under investigation for a criminal offence, you may be asked to attend a police interview. Therefore, it is essential you seek the advice of a legal professional early on to ensure as they can advise on which questions you should answer.
LGBT Lawyers can connect you to a criminal defence lawyer today. Just give us a quick call on 020 3795 9020. Furthermore, if you would prefer to message us, you can email LGBT lawyers at email@example.com.