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Being in a position to be accused of having, distributing, or manufacturing indecent images in the UK is a very, very poor position to be in. Given the highly sensitive and sometimes graphic nature of these charges, it can be almost frightening to think about what your future could hold. Even with a fair trial, even simple accusations of possessing indecent imagery can lead your future irreparably damaged. However, bleak this may sound, there is help. In this brief guide, we will help you understand the nature of indecent images charges in the UK and help provide you with advice on finding the best lawyer for the job. Let’s dig in.
In England and Wales, there are crimes both of ‘possessing’ an indecent image as well as ‘making’ one. The definitions can be complex and confusing, but generally a common sense understanding is applied to these crimes in understanding what ‘possessing’, ‘making’, and ‘indecent’ mean.
There are two major pieces of legislation that govern these kinds of charges. First, there is the Criminal Justice Act 1988, specifically section 160. This section lays out the charge of possessing an indecent image as well as some possible defences, such as:
The second piece of legislation that these crimes fall under is section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978. Overall, it states that if one is in possession of, distributes, publishes, or takes/produces an indecent image of a child, they are committing crime. Furthermore, an indecent image is a sexual image of a child (someone under 18) that has them nude or partially clothed and in some sort of sexual pose. Here are some examples of such a crime:
In terms of sentencing, the length of time one will spend in custody depends upon the category the crime falls into. If you are charged with possessing an image, you will face anywhere from simple community service to 3 years’ custody. If you are distributing images, you will face community service time or up to 5 years in prison. Finally, if you are taking the images themselves, you will face anywhere from 1 – 9 years in custody.
Because the sentencing terms for this crime hinges upon the nature of the act committed, it is vital to select a lawyer that is highly analytical and detail-oriented. A lawyer with this kind of disposition will be able to catch small details that will be able to separate you from the more severe categories of indecent imagery charges, and hopefully have your sentence reduced accordingly. As a tangential point, hiring an indecent images lawyer that has a deep attention to detail will also benefit you by having someone on your side that can comb through the highly complex – and long winded – legislation that governs this crime.
There are many different levels of severity for each type of indecent imagery charges (if the images contain penetrative sexual activity, for example) so it is crucial to have an indecent images lawyer that has a wide variety of experience in the field so they can properly argue in your favor for being involved in a less severe form of the crime, if the trial even comes to that.
Finally, arguably more importantly than these other virtues we have mentioned, it is crucial to hire a lawyer that has a deep sense of compassion. As these sorts of charges invoke very negative biases against you, it is prudent to have a lawyer on your side that is more than willing to see things from your point of view, and more importantly, defend you to the best of their ability without their emotions getting in the way.
Given the highly sensitive nature of these kinds of charges, it is important that you take precautions to not embarrass or shame yourself when searching for lawyers. To help remedy that, we have collected some of the most efficient and discreet ways to find an indecent images lawyer in your area.
Review industry rankings of barristers/solicitors and firms
Using the internet, legal publications, and news articles to check rankings of legal firms and barristers/solicitors in your region is one of the best methods to discover the most knowledgeable and trustworthy lawyers to handle your indecent images allegations. An excellent illustration of an industry rating directory is the website Legal 500, one of the most well-known legal directories in the world. To make sure you get the knowledgeable legal guidance you need, you can utilise that platform to look for specific legal offices, sole practitioners, and other forms of legal help.
Review the Law Society website/directory
Possibly the finest online source for finding an indecent images lawyer is the Law Society website. You can use this website to conduct a search for a specific barrister or solicitor who fulfils the criteria you specify, including their practice area, location, current accreditations, and other crucial characteristics. This will help narrow your search considerably and ensure you are getting someone who has been industry verified.
Search the internet
Although this is arguably the easiest and simplest method to finding the best indecent images lawyer in your area, there are ways you can boost your search. Making sure that you are using the best keywords in your search, such as, “best indecent images lawyers in the UK,” “experienced indecent images lawyer in my area,” and other important terms is a great starting point. Be specific and list the type of crime you need help with. Remember not to make these kinds of searches on public computers for the sake of your own privacy. Even if you are browsing on your personal device, enabling private browsing is never a bad idea.
Review magazines and news articles
Reading up on the most recent legal news and other publications for situations similar to your own is another approach to identifying an experienced indecent images attorney in your area. You may learn more about how your case would be handled by them, since frequently the barristers or solicitors who are writing these pieces will have the expertise and education to support their arguments and findings. Reading these articles will also help you learn more about your charges and your case in general, which may bring some peace of mind.
While there are general guidelines for barrister and solicitor fees in the UK, it is important to remember that every lawyer – and every case – will vary greatly. Make sure to ask the lawyer you are interested in for their specific fee schedule. Note that firms in the London area will likely charge a bit more than their out of country competitors.
In terms of general guidelines, criminal defence lawyers usually charge anywhere between £120-400+ per hour. These fees are based on the lawyer’s ability and expertise in their given area. But, there are also other fee structures to be considered.
Fixed fee structure
Under this fee schedule your attorney will charge you a fixed rate after calculating the expenses related to processing your case to completion. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these rates typically exclude VAT and other supplemental costs like disbursements. Other assumptions to be aware of include maintaining a certain amount of complexity in the case. If the case ends up becoming more complex than initially contemplated, then the fee agreed upon may increase.
This final fee type involves paying a sum up front for the lawyer’s fees that is calculated based on the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience with such cases, and other important factors. While it may be daunting to pay upfront, these kinds of agreements can allow for substantial change in the nature of the initial case without unexpected bills, which is a bonus for you as a client.
At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we have an experienced team of lawyers that specialise in indecent images cases. Our staff and lawyers are detail-oriented, compassionate, non-judgmental, and client-focused, so you can be at peace knowing that your case is in good hands. 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.