Explains what may happen if you are charged with committing a crime, what happens when you to go court, and how your mental health is taken into account.
Pleading not guilty means that you say you didn't do the crime, or that you had a reasonable excuse for doing so. The court will then have a trial to decide whether you did. If the court decides that you did, this means you will be convicted, and the court will decide what sentence to give you.
You may get a longer sentence after conviction at a trial than if you pleaded guilty. This is why it's important to get legal advice from a solicitor before making your plea.
If it decides you did do the crime, the court can:
Here is a flowchart outlining this process:
This means you are free from your criminal charge.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This information was published in July 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.