If you have been accused of committing one of many criminal offences, including assault, criminal damage and threatening behaviour, that offence is made more serious when it is said to have been aggravated by the use of language or actions which demonstrate hostility to the victim because of their racial or religious background. Racially aggravated offences require proof of some words or actions used at the time of the offence which shows hostility towards someone for either their race or religion. If you are found guilty of a racially aggravated offence, it can have a serious negative impact on your life and can lead to a prison sentence.
At Cartwright King, we take a non-judgemental approach to our client’s cases and acknowledge your right to expert legal representation. If you have been accused of committing a racially aggravated offence, it is essential that you seek professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity to put your argument forward. Our acclaimed Criminal Defence Solicitors are available to support you through the legal proceedings and will represent you in court if necessary.
Free Police Station advice
Everyone has the right to free legal advice when at the Police Station. Our experienced lawyers are available at any time of day or night to help you and make sure your position is protected and that your defence is properly presented. If you are arrested remember to tell the Police that you want to be represented by Cartwright King. Our highly skilled Criminal Defence team are here to take the worry off your hands. We can also provide an initial telephone consultation to see how we can assist in your case. Please call us on 0808 168 5550 or email us using the enquiry form below.
Racially aggravated offences and the law
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998, sets out that an assault [and other offences] becomes racially aggravated if:
- At the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, you demonstrate hostility towards another person based on their membership – or presumed membership – of a racial or religious group; or
- The offence is motivated – wholly or partly – by hostility towards members of a racial or religious group based on their membership of that group.
If these elements are established in addition to proof of the assault, then the assault you have been alleged to have committed is racially aggravated. Once racial aggravation is proved, the Courts sentencing powers increase. For example “common assault” which alone can only be heard in the Magistrates Court and carries a maximum of 6 months imprisonment, becomes a case which could go to the Crown Court where the maximum is 2 years imprisonment. Penalties for other assaults increase when they are said to be racially aggravated. Courts must indicate that they have specifically increased sentence to account for the aggravating feature.
In these cases, it is imperative to have expert legal advice from the outset in order to reduce the chances of any difficulties later in the trial. At Cartwright King, our solicitors are available to assist you in a patient and professional manner.
What punishment could you face?
The sentence that you could be given is dependent on whether you are sentenced in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. As previously mentioned, a common assault that is racially aggravated is much more serious. If you are found guilty of the racially aggravated offence in a Magistrate’s court then you will receive a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment, whereas in the Crown Court it would be a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment with an unlimited fine.
If you have been charged with a racially aggravated offence, it is essential that you seek expert legal advice as early as possible. If arrested, you are entitled by law to be legally represented at the Police Station. You should always insist that the Police contact Cartwright King and not speak to the Police until you have had chance to consult with one of our experienced team. Cartwright King’s Defence Solicitors are available to advise you day and night through the legal proceedings and represent you in court if necessary making sure that the strongest defence case is put forward for you. They will also advise about your right to appeal should the need arise.
How can we help you?
If you or somebody you know has been accused of committing a racially aggravated offence, our experienced Criminal Defence Solicitors are available to advise you throughout the entire process and build a strong case for your defence. We promise to:
- Advise you throughout the entire process
- Advise you on whether to seek trial at the Crown Court
- Treat your case in a non-judgemental, sensitive manner
- Seek legal aid for you subject to your finances
- Deal confidentially with any concerns you may have
- Represent you in interview under caution by the police
- Prepare and collate any and all documentary evidence that may be required
- Represent you in both Magistrates and Crown Court as necessary
- Take the worry off your hands
- Prepare an appeal if necessary
Our team are highly ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides. We have extensive experience in successfully defending those who have been accused of causing assault by racial aggravation by our acclaimed Criminal Defence Solicitors.
At Cartwright King our experienced lawyers will always advise you whether or not Legal Aid is available to fund your defence. In order to be eligible you have to be able to pass two tests;
- First you must show that it is in the interests of justice that Legal Aid be granted to you. This might be because to establish your case will involve expert cross examination of witnesses by our lawyers, or because you are at risk of imprisonment, or that you suffer from some disability.
- Secondly you must pass a means test. This is based on the weekly income of yourself and your partner. There are slightly different rules depending on whether your case is to be heard at the Magistrates or Crown Court and the complexity of the provisions. Regardless, we are happy to take your details and advise whether you might qualify.
If unfortunately you do not qualify for Legal Aid we will always provide a competitive quotation to deal with your case on a private basis and can agree a payment plan with you to assist you and your family secure the best possible representation for you.
Why Choose Us?
At Cartwright King, our solicitors understand the long term negative consequences that being accused of committing a racially aggravated offence can have for you, your reputation and your future. We are available to support you throughout the entire process, explaining the likely outcomes and fighting on your behalf.
How to make contact
Always insist on representation by one of our lawyers if you are arrested. Remember that advice at the Police Station is free and will not delay your release.
If you require legal advice or if you would like a no obligation, free initial telephone discussion, then please call us on 0808 168 5550. Alternatively, you can email the Criminal Defence team using the enquiry form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Criminal Defence Solicitors can provide advice and are happy to meet at a time and location that suits you. We also have a network of offices in Birmingham, Bedford, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, London Temple, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham and Sheffield.