News and Events

Identity Documents Act offender avoids jail

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MPR solicitors were instructed to represent a British national who had been charged with possession of a forged identity document with intent contrary to section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010.

He had made admissions in the police station interview to having a fake Irish drivers licence for over a decade. He had been unrepresented at the police station stage and  had instructed a barrister directly under Direct Access to represent him at his first appearance in the magistrates court following charge.

He also initially sought advice from other solicitors all of whom advised him that he could expect a prison sentence of between 9-12 months at the very least. He was not satisfied with this advice and found MPR solicitors.

We advised him that based on his particular personal background and the facts of his case we felt that he could avoid a custodial sentence and that the advice given by previous legal advisors that only a custodial sentence was available, was not accurate.

Once instructed we went about compiling a full mitigating bundle which took time and expertise to determine what was required.

We also instructed a specialist barrister from a leading set of chambers who also agreed with our assessment of the case. Once a unified defence team had been put in place, we were able to offer our client a bespoke service to meet his requirements on budget and timeframe.

At the sentencing hearing despite various aggravating features in the case, our client received a suspended sentence and a small financial penalty.

What can be learnt from this case:

  1.  Always have a solicitor to represent you at the police station even if you think it is a minor matter or you have nothing to hide. Even the most innocuous allegations could cause problems in a case as your defence starts at the police station. At MPR solicitors we offer a full 24 hour emergency police station advice and representation in the whole of LONDON and the South East. We can also cover the West Midlands, the South West, Manchester and Sheffield. MPR’s specialist criminal defence lawyers and solicitors cover the whole range of criminal offences from drink drive to large scale drugs conspiracies and serious fraud work.Remember if HMRC or the Serious Fraud Office are going to conduct a dawn raid, they won’t be putting you on notice! We can advise over the phone and in person in these situations across London and the South East.
  2. Do not think you will save money by seeking advice direct from a barrister under the Direct Access Scheme. This can be a useful resource sometimes for professional clients but on the whole lay clients will not know which barrister to select or how to go about putting together a unified defence. Barristers are restricted by the type of work they can do under the Direct Access Scheme and invariably they will advise lay clients to instruct a firm of solicitors! In our client’s case he selected the wrong barrister who did not give him the correct advice purely because he was not a specialist in these types of cases and applied the legislation literally and gave incorrect advice to our client.
  3. Decide a budget to suit your aims and means. If the prospect of a custodial sentence or a conviction will cripple your employment position or will ruin your business and future, then it is likely you will want to spend that little extra so that no stone is left unturned and you instruct a specialist criminal lawyer with the appropriate experience and expertise. In our client’s case, he shopped around until he found MPR solicitors and appreciated the specialist advice we were able to give. We didn’t promise him the impossible but were realistic in our analysis of his case and the range of sentence he could expect to receive. We secured that trust which is vitally important when choosing a solicitor. You will know if you have made the right choice as it will feel right.