Charged with a First-Time Offence? Why You May Have More Options Than You Might Think

27 October 2020
 Categories: Law, Blog


If you've been charged with an offence by the prosecution service and a court date is looming, thoughts may be racing through your mind. If this is the first time that you've been through such an experience, you will imagine the worst. You will envision an outcome that may involve a substantial fine that you can't afford or even jail time. Yet before you get too carried away and endure any more sleepless nights, you should talk things through carefully with a solicitor. There may be ways to reduce the severity of the outcome or even make it go away altogether. What do you need to know about your options?

Assessing the Situation

As always, much will depend on the details of the case. If you've been charged with a very serious offence, then your options will undoubtedly be more limited, but in most cases, you may be able to affect the outcome.


It's not unusual for the prosecution and the defence to negotiate in a case like this. After all, the court system is extremely busy and, if at all possible, officials would like to reduce the caseload. Also, the cost of a court case can very quickly rise and, one way or the other, somebody has to pay for this.

For a negotiation to be successful, both sides will have to be happy with a potential result. You or your solicitor may be able to negotiate a lesser charge, especially if this is your first time.


Your solicitor may also persuade the prosecution to introduce mediation. In this case, you would meet with the defendant or victim in a supervised environment and discuss the details of the incident. You may be able to repair some of the harm done, and the complainant may accept your position in whole or in part. Either way, the court can take this into account and may reduce your sentence accordingly.

Mitigating Factors

Many different factors will be taken into account here. As you do not have any prior criminal history, the system will look favourably at you. If you have good standing in the community and can provide evidence to support that, this will undoubtedly be taken into account as well.

Working with a Solicitor

There is almost always room for manoeuvre before a case actually goes in front of the court. You will, however, need to work with a solicitor from the outset so that they can represent you correctly and do their best to modify the outcome.

Reach out to solicitors near you to learn more.