Being charged with a crime

If you are charged with a crime you will be given a charge sheet. This sets out the details of the crime you are being charged with. 

The police will decide if you: 

  • can go home until the court hearing - but may have to follow certain rules, known as bail 
  • are kept in police custody until you are taken to court for your hearing 

Your first court hearing after you are charged with a crime will be at a magistrates’ court (external link), even if your trial will be at a Crown Court (external link) later on. 

If you are charged with a minor offence your case could be decided without going to court (single justice procedure). If you get a single justice procedure notice (external link) you must respond within 21 days. 

Young people 

If you are under 18, your first hearing will usually be at a youth court (external link)

If you are under 17, the police must arrange for you to be held in local authority accommodation, if possible, before you go to court. 

If you are aged 12 to 16, the police can decide to keep you at the police station if they think it will protect the public.