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Having charges brought against you for any crime is a nerve-wracking experience, to say the least. But, having charges brought against you that relate to crimes against children can be a very harrowing experience. You are likely to wonder about your future, how your family and others may view you going forward, and what will happen to your career. Luckily for you, our experienced and non-judgmental team have collected some great advice to help you find the best child grooming lawyers in the UK so you can get some peace of mind about what is to come next.
Any crime is serious. But when it comes to crimes against children, especially those of a sexual nature, these offences are much more severe. There are two major pieces of legislation that govern child grooming offences in England and Wales.
The first piece is section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which generally states that it is a crime to meet, or arrange/facilitate a meeting with an individual that is under the age of 16, if the intent of the meeting is to sexually abuse the child or have another individual abuse them.
Secondly, section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 lays out other provisions that also make it an offence to meet with a person under the age of 16 after having gone through the process of grooming them.
It is important to note that in both cases, the person that is committing the offence must not reasonably believe the victim in question is over the age of 16. Also, there must have been some form of communication prior to the grooming meeting, with the purpose of building trust for sexual purposes. Note that if you are convicted of child grooming, you will be put on the UK Sexual Offender’s Register, which will have serious consequences for your personal and professional life going forward.
In terms of sentencing, the average sentence is between time in community service, to up to 10 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime. If you are convicted of meeting a child following a grooming incident, you will likely face somewhere between 1 – 7 years’ custody.
Given the very severe nature of child grooming offences, both socially and legally, it is vital that you find a child grooming lawyer that is a true expert in this area. But what does that look like exactly?
Because you can feel as though you are already seen as guilty by those around you simply by the nature of the charges brought against you, it is important to find a lawyer that is discreet with their practice. This will help prevent you from facing any unnecessary social backlash that inevitably comes with child grooming charges.
You will also want a lawyer that is highly objective and not prone to any sort of the biases that can spring up when dealing with sexual offences with children. Making sure that your barrister/solicitor is highly objective and factually focused will ensure that the case they are constructing for you won’t have any blind spots due to bias.
Finally, because there are various factors that can increase your sentence time in these cases, such as sexual content being shown at the meeting, the vulnerability of the child, the perpetrator abusing a position of power or trust, and other factors, it is crucial to have a lawyer on your side that specialises in child grooming cases. Having someone with a wealth of experience and background knowledge related to child grooming incidents will greatly increase your chances of having a reduced sentence, or at best, a dismissed case. Why? Since these types of lawyers know how these cases are tried and the types of evidence that are brought forward, they will be able to structure your case accordingly in order to highlight facts and circumstances that correctly show your lack of raising harm or culpability in the case at hand.
As with all highly sensitive topics, it is important to conduct a search for child grooming lawyers with the utmost care, lest you bring undue embarrassment and criticism upon yourself. With this in mind, we have collected some of the most discreet and easiest ways to find a child grooming lawyer that suits your needs perfectly.
Check the Law Society website/directory
Arguably the best online resource to look for child grooming lawyers online is the Law Society website. Using their easy to navigate platform, you will be able to search for solicitors that meet certain criteria you set out, such as their legal speciality, their location, and their educational merits, so you can be sure you are getting the best criminal legal advice available.
An internet search
If you are looking to use a method that is both reliable and discreet, a simple internet search is exactly what you need. Make sure enable private browsing settings for extra security and start looking for important keywords such as: “best child grooming lawyers UK,” “experienced child grooming lawyers,” or, “solicitors with child grooming success stories.” Using the proper keywords and taking the time to browse multiple sites will ensure that your search finds the results you need.
Magazines and articles
While it may seem counterintuitive, reading magazines about the law in general may be one of the best ways to find a lawyer best suited for your case. Why? In one sense, the lawyers that write pieces for leading magazines (such as the New Law Journal) are going to be highly informed and respected in their area of practice, so you know that you will be getting a lawyer that you can trust. From another angle, you get the added benefit of learning more about the law surrounding your case, which will help you explain your situation to the lawyer and better set your case up for success.
Review industry rankings
If you are looking to find lawyers or law firms that are specialists in a given area, you can never go wrong by reviewing industry ranking sites. A great example of an industry ranking directory is Legal 500, one of the world’s leading legal directories. Using their website, you can search for individual barristers and solicitors, law firms, and sole practitioners that are all at the head of the legal pack. Using industry ranking sites is one of the few research tools that will give you, the client, a massive leg up when it comes to comparing lawyers in the respective fields.
Although there are general fee guidelines for criminal defence lawyers in the UK, these will vary greatly depending on the lawyer that you are dealing with. As a good rule of thumb, most criminal defence lawyers charge around £120-400+ per hour. Keep in mind that if you are searching for lawyers in the London area, they will usually charge a bit more than lawyers located in other parts of the country.
Hourly billing is one of the most common fee structures in law, but there are others to be aware of. Here are some other common billing structures.
With this payment schedule, the lawyer you are dealing with will ask for an upfront payment, which they calculate based on the complexity of the case as well as their experience with similar scenarios.
Fixed fee structures
In accordance with this fee schedule, your lawyer will bill you a certain amount after figuring out the costs involved in seeing your case through to the end. The fact that these rates frequently do not include VAT and other additional expenses like disbursements must always be kept in mind. Maintaining a particular level of case complexity is another assumption to be mindful of. The agreed-upon cost could alter if the matter turns out to be more complicated than first anticipated, or if it is expected to take much longer for other reasons.
At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we pride ourselves on being one of the most non-judgmental and compassionate sets of criminal defence lawyers in all of the UK. Our team of expert child grooming lawyers with decades of combined experience working all across London will make sure that your case is handled with the utmost attention and care in order for you to get the best results possible. Get in touch for a free consultation today.
A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.
We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.
Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.
We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.
You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your family. Our team will support you every step of the way.
We will never give up on your case. We fight tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.