minor offences and the magistrates’ court

All criminal offences start with an appearance in the Magistrates Court. There are three classifications of offences:

  • Classification
  • Court
  • Example offences
Summary onlyMagistrates Court onlyCommon assault, drunk and disorderly, low level shoplifting, minor road traffic offences such as speeding and driving without due care and attention.
Either wayEither Magistrates Court or Crown CourtTheft, burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply.
Indictable only*Crown Court OnlyMurder, rape, robbery, wounding or inflicting GBH with intent.


* For those aged 17 years or under, certain offences which are indictable only for adults can be dealt with in the Youth Court.

Once charged or summonsed, your case will firstly appear in the Magistrates Court, if the offence is indictable only the Magistrates will immediately send your case to the Crown Court. For either way offences it is for the magistrates to determine whether the case should be tried in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court, depending upon the seriousness of the offence. If they determine that the case should be tried in the lower court, they still retain the power to commit the case for sentence to the Crown Court if convicted.

At Burton Copeland, we understand that facing an investigation or prosecution for any offence can be difficult, which is why it is imperative you seek advice and representation from a trusted defence solicitor.

Our team has over 35 years’ experience in defending clients in relation to all manner of offences. If you have been arrested or are facing court proceedings for a criminal offence, speak to a solicitor today by calling 0161 827 9500 . Alternatively, fill in our online contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

what crimes are dealt with in a magistrates’ court?

We have handled numerous cases that are specifically dealt with by a Magistrate, covering a range o flow level crimes and motoring offences, including:

  • Drunk and disorderly behaviour
  • Low level criminal damage
  • Minor assaults and domestic violence
  • Most motoring offences
  • Possession of controlled drugs
  • Public order offences
  • Shoplifting and low level theft
  • Weapons possession

how burton copeland can help

Our team has the expertise to deliver a high level of service to those facing allegations of a minor crime. We can provide assistance at any stage of proceedings, whether you have just been arrested and need a solicitor or require a defence case built for trial, and we will be with you until the very end to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

The services we offer include, but are not restricted to:

  • Advice on your rights
  • Help with preparing for police interviews
  • Bail applications both in the Magsitrates Court and to Judge in Chambers at the Crown Court
  • Guidance on bail conditions and applications to vary bail conditions
  • Representation in a Magistrates’ Court

We understand that criminal law can be a complex subject, adding to any upset and distress that you and your family may be feeling, which is why we explain all legal processes in terms that are easily understood. If funding is going to be an issue, our solicitors can inform you of the options available.

contact us today

If you have been accused of committing a minor offence and need assistance from an experienced defence solicitor, get in touch with our Manchester office today. You can call us on 0161 827 9500 we are available 24 hours.Our team can also be reached by filling in our online form and letting us know a suitable time to call you back.