In the field of criminal investigations, Postal Requisitions have become an increasingly utilised method of requiring someone to attend court. A Postal Requisition is effectively a summons; a letter received in the post that requires a person to attend court on a given date and time to answer a charge or series of charges. If the person who receives the Postal Requisition subsequently fails to attend court on the date and time contained in the Requisition, then it is likely that a warrant will be issue for their arrest.
A Postal Requisition often comes about when a person has been interviewed on a voluntary basis at a Police Station, but can happen after a person is formally arrested, detained, interviewed and then released under investigation. In these circumstances, if the decision is taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute, then notification of that decision to any suspect can be sent by way of Postal Requisition. That will be sent to the suspects last known address. It is not uncommon for prior notice to be given of the decision to prosecute by telephone, but often the Postal Requisition will be received by a suspect completely without notice, and often many months after the formal interview under caution.
Many road traffic offences that are prosecuted are dealt with by way of a Postal Requisition and in such cases it is most likely that a person will not have been interviewed previously. Such requisitions can arise when, for example, a person already has nine penalty points on their driving licence and has committed a further offence to which they have pleaded guilty by post. Since this additional offence may well attract penalty points as well, the purpose of the requisition is to require the person to attend court so the court may consider whether or not to disqualify them from driving.
In the event that you receive a Postal Requisition, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. You are not in any way bound to contact any earlier solicitor who may have assisted you. Indeed, you may very well want to research and consult your own new lawyers who you feel have the necessary level expertise to advise you.
Contacting a solicitor should be done immediately. A solicitor can often access the case material before the court hearing and give you the early advice you need on the important evidential, plea and procedural matters. Consulting a solicitor early will help with any anxiety you may experience in the weeks leading up to the hearing. An appointment can be arranged at the solicitor’s office to go through the case so that you know exactly what is going to happen throughout the case.
Importantly, consulting a solicitor can advise you on the viable defences that may be available to the offence(s) you face, possibly even a defence or legal argument that you never knew was open to you to explore. This is particularly key in road traffic cases. There are many arguments available to suspects which can avoid a disqualification or the imposition of penalty points.
The is no doubt that it is becoming more and more common for prosecutions to start with a Postal Requisition. Such cases can be relatively minor, but some cases which are considered serious can also commence this way. The best advice for anyone receiving a Postal Requisition or formal summons is to contact a solicitor at the earliest opportunity. We will be more than happy to discuss your options over the telephone initially in order for you to make an informed decision about the many matters you will have to consider leading up to the first court date and beyond.
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