If you have received a caution, you may be wondering how to challenge a police caution.
How to go about challenging a police caution will vary according to the facts of your case.
How to challenge a police caution | Pre-caution action
The best time to challenge a police caution is before it has been issued.
If the police are considering whether to issue a police caution, you can at that point challenge the case against you. You may be able to persuade the police that the evidence against you is weak, or that there is no public interest in issuing a caution.
A solicitor should be able to assist you in challenging the imposition of a police caution.
If the police are unwilling to drop your case altogether, they maybe willing to adopt an alternative outcome in your case, such as a community resolution or a penalty notice. A community resolution or penalty notice would not have the same impact on your criminal record as a police caution.
How to challenge a caution once it has been issued
If you have already been issued with a police caution, you have several options to challenge the caution.
If the caution has been issued very recently, namely within the last day or so, you may be able to go back to the investigating officers, and directly challenge the caution.
This option is not very likely to succeed, as often the police will have already moved onto their next case, and will not want to revisit your case. This approach also risks the possibility that the police may remove your caution, but then charge you and prosecute you at court.
Challenging a Police Caution
As an alternative to approaching the police directly, you can challenge your caution by applying for deletion via ACRO.
You can set out the legal arguments why you believe your caution should be removed. ACRO will pass your application onto the police force concerned, who will then take a decision.
There are a number of different grounds that you can set out to challenge a police caution. For example, you may be able to argue that the allegation was false or malicious, that no crime had been committed, or that there is no public interest in keeping your caution on the Police National Computer (PNC).
Alternatively, you could lodge a complaint with the police, but this will depend on the circumstances of your case.
If the police refuse to delete your caution, you can then consider taking your case to Court, to have a judge decide your case.
How to challenge a Police Caution | Court Proceedings
If your case is very urgent, and you must have your caution removed promptly, you may want to consider bypassing ACRO and issuing court proceedings. This approach is high risk, as you will incur steeper costs. Even if you do not instruct a solicitor you will need to pay court fees, and if you lose, you will risk having to pay the police’s legal costs.
If you challenge your caution by applying to ACRO first and they refuse, you may then be able to appeal your case to the Administrative Court. This however will depend on the facts of your case, and the timeframe. You will need to carefully bear in mind the time since your caution was issued, and when the police took their decision to refuse to remove your caution. The Court can be unforgiving if you miss a relevant deadline.
If you do challenge your caution via ACRO, when preparing your deletion application you will need to frame your application bearing in mind the law and criminal procedure. You will need to keep in mind how a High Court judge might perceive your case, even if you have no intention of actually issuing Court proceedings. By bearing in mind previous case law your application will have a greater chance of success, and will come over as credible and reasonable to the police.
How to Challenge a Police Caution
If you are still wondering how to challenge a police caution, and you do not want to apply to the police or court yourself, we can help you.
We have years of experience in successfully applying for the deletion of a wide variety of police cautions, with police forces across England and Wales.
Our director, Matthew Elkins, is the leading police records deletion solicitor, with years of experience in challenging the retention of police records. Over the years we have successfully applied for the deletion of hundreds of police cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC).
We offer reasonable fixed fees, and will give you an honest assessment of your prospects of successfully challenging your police caution. Our aim is always to keep your case out of court, to minimise your costs, stress and risk.
If you would like to discuss how we can challenge your police caution, or would like advice in relation to arrest records, DBS Certificates, or barring proceedings, then please get in touch to arrange a fixed fee consultation.