Courts Covered –
We are free legal aid solicitors and represent clients in the following Courts:
- Criminal Courts of Justice (“CCJ”)
- Dublin District Childrens’ Court (“Court 55”)
- Dun Laoghaire
We frequently advise clients who have been charged with the following offences:
- All Road traffic offences including dangerous driving, no insurance, hit and run, etc.
- Drink driving and Failing to provide a sample
- Public order offences
- Criminal damage
- Theft and Fraud offences
- Drugs offences
- Firearms offences
- Sexual offences
- Revenue offences
- Murder and Manslaughter
- White collar offences
Charge Sheet or Summons –
You may be detained and charged at Garda Station. In this scenario, Gardai will furnish you with your charge sheet or sheets in the Garda Station. They will also furnish you with a second document known as a “station bail bond”. This document will advise you of the date and location of your Court appearance.
Alternatively, you may be served with a summons. A summons will often be served by registered post however they are sometimes personally served by Gardai. The summons is a single page document setting out the alleged offence and advising you of the date and location of your Court appearance.
Whether Gardai proceed by way of charge sheet or summons, you must be present in Court on the first day of your matter. If you receive a charge sheet or a summons, please contact our offices in advance of your first Court date on 042 932 8053.
Court Procedure –
The first day of your matter is procedural in nature however you must be present. On the first day, we will apply to the Court for an order for “Disclosure”. The Court will then usually adjourn your matter for a period of two to three months in order to enable Gardai to furnish us with Disclosure.
“Disclosure” refers to the evidence that Gardai intend to rely on. Gardai are obliged to furnish an accused person with Disclosure in order for the accused to ascertain the case being made against them. Depending on the nature of the alleged offence, Disclosure would typically include a statement from the complainant, a statement from the investigating Garda, statements from witnesses (if applicable), CCTV (if applicable).
Gardai will usually furnish us with Disclosure in advance of your second Court appearance. We will review the Disclosure and arrange a consultation with you at our offices in order to advise you and take your instructions.
On your second Court date, if you have instructed that you wish to enter a guilty plea, your matter will be finalised on that date. If you have instructed that you wish to enter a not guilty plea and contest the charge, we will apply to the Court for a date for hearing. This means that your matter will be adjourned to a third date in order to enable Gardai to arrange for the prosecution witnesses to be in attendance.
Free Legal Aid –
We are on the criminal legal aid panel for every County in Ireland and can apply to the Court for legal aid on your behalf. When applying for legal aid, you must complete a “Statement of Means” which is a one page document setting out your financial circumstances. We then hand the completed Statement to the Judge and apply for legal aid on your behalf. Please note that applications for legal aid must be made to the Judge presiding over your matter when it is before the Court.
If you are unemployed or if you are working but your earnings are minimal, provided that your charges are not minor in nature, you will be entitled to apply for legal aid. When considering a legal aid application, the Court may take into account particular circumstances such as high mortgage repayments or supporting children.
If you have been charged with any alleged criminal offences and are due before the Courts, call us today on 042 932 8053.