AUTISM AND THE CRIMINAL LAW

Written 5th June 2015 by Olliers Solicitors

People on the autistic spectrum can have a very hard time of it if they are unfortunate enough to get arrested or charged with a criminal offence.

Police officers, judges, magistrates and lawyers are often very ignorant about what autism is and the way in which it may effect people whom they are dealing with. This can lead to wrongful prosecutions and the mistreatment of people who through no fault of their own may have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. All solicitors at Olliers have received training in autism spectrum condition and the needs of clients with autism.

We receive referrals from all over the country to deal with children, young people and adults who are either under investigation or charged with criminal offences.

We are very careful to deal with our clients in a sensitive way, taking into account fully their different needs. We recognise the extra level of anxiety that can be caused to our clients with autism and we will take all the time that is needed to explain the progress of a case fully and comprehensively.

We will deal with the police and the Crown Prosecution robustly on behalf of our clients. We will do all we can to avoid a client being arrested and interviewed in custody, instead pushing for interviews to take place voluntarily and when possible at a client’s home address. If a client has been arrested, we will make forceful representations that they should be bailed. Following interview we will gather together all relevant material to make representations that a client should not be charged. In doing so we may instruct a pool of experts in autism who could assist in our representations. If a client is charged, we will continue to push for the CPS and court to consider the needs of the client fully and we will do all we can to get the best outcome possible.

People with autism are generally less likely to commit criminal offences, but in our experience they can get in to difficulties with certain areas of the law – notably computer related crime, or offences involving the misunderstanding of social relationships.

If this is happening to you, or your son or family member, then please contact Alex Preston at our offices.

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