Young People & The Law

We know it is every parent’s fear to receive a phone call from the police about their son or daughter. We understand that mistakes are made, especially when you are young. At Hodge Jones & Allen we believe that such misjudgements should not result in a permanent mark against a young person’s character.

  • We understand that there is more to your child than the issue that brings them into contact with the criminal justice system.
  • We know children do not think like adults and often cannot predict the results of their actions.
  • We make sure of the law does not wrongly define this immaturity as to a youth crime.
  • There may also just be an innocent explanation for what has happened which they can’t always explain.
  • We make sure of the law does not wrongly define this immaturity as to a youth crime.
  • We work with you and your child to identify the ways in which we can avoid prosecution, then educate and support them to avoid and manage any future contact with the police and criminal justice system.

What to do

We will deal with the immediate crisis and, at the same time, aim to provide your child with information to lessen the possibility of future contact with the criminal justice system.

Hodge Jones and Allen has a highly experienced youth criminal defence team which is dedicated to understanding your child and finding a solution that protects their reputation. Our firm is ranked amongst the top 10 criminal defence law firms in London according to the 2017 Legal 500 publication.

“Hodge Jones & Allen’s ‘strong general crime team’ has ‘maintained its presence as a professional yet accessible practice’, and ‘has particular expertise in fraud, protest work and youth crime’.”

At the Police Station

If your child is arrested for a criminal offence and they are under 18, call us straight away on 0808 231 6369 and ask to speak to Caroline Liggins. We can then contact the police station on your behalf, confirm the position with your child and engage with the police.

The police must tell you as soon as possible following the arrest of your child.
The police should not interview your child until you are present, unless a delay would mean an immediate risk of harm to someone or serious loss of, or damage to property. In such cases, the police must make sure that a suitable independent adult (also known as an appropriate adult) is present to ensure your child is treated fairly.

Your child has the same right to legal advice as an adult.

We want to achieve an outcome that is best for your child, looking at alternatives to prosecution and avoiding a criminal record.

First time offence

If it is the first time your child has got into trouble, behaved anti-socially or committed a minor offence, we can argue for the matter to be dealt with outside the court system either through the Police Youth Diversion Scheme or through a Diversionary Conference.

If the police charge your child, they will either be released on bail and allowed to go home or remanded and made to stay in custody before appearing in a youth court the next working day. We will be there to support both you and your child throughout this process.

Going to court

If your child is under 17 it is compulsory for either yourself or other parent/ guardian to be in attendance. If over 17 years of age, this is not compulsory but is still advisable. If no one attends, the case may be put off (adjourned) to another day.

At court your child will either plead guilty or not guilty. If your child pleads guilty they may be sentenced there and then or the case may be adjourned in order for your child to talk with Youth Offending Services (if they have been in trouble before). If your child pleads not guilty the matter will be set down for trial in the youth court, or if the offence is very serious the youth court may refer the case to the Crown Court. We will then help prepare the case and consider whether your child needs any special assistance at their trial.

Appealing the decision

If convicted in the youth court it is not the end and if you and your child are unhappy about the result from the youth court you should discuss an appeal immediately with us. Appeal papers have to be filed at court within 21 days of your child’s sentence.

If your child has received a custodial sentence, we would also apply for your child to be released on bail until the appeal hearing.

We support you step by step through this process making sure the right outcome is achieved.

We also advise and assist on appealing serious cases that are sent to the Crown Court to be heard.

Disclosure of offences

It is a common belief amongst children that offences committed whilst under 18 years old are wiped from their record when they become adults.

This is not true. A record will always be kept and can be disclosed at the discretion of the police in the future.

UCAS and college applications routinely ask for information about convictions and cautions which can be determinative in securing and retaining your child’s place in higher education.

We aim to avoid arrest and conviction and thereby try to limit the impact on your child’s future prospects.

If you or your child have been arrested, or are at any stage of criminal prosecution, please contact our specialist youth team of solicitors led by Caroline Liggins on 0808 231 6369. Alternatively fill out an online enquiry form and we can arrange for a confidential, no obligation discussion of your particular circumstances. If the situation is urgent and outside office hours, please call our free phone 24 hour telephone number 0844 8480 222.

Our Criminal Defence Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 231 6369 today.

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Our offices are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

Phone:0808 231 6369
Fax:020 7388 2106
Address:Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
180 North Gower Street