9am – 10pm 7 Days a week. Call now for a FREE Consultation

Either Way Offences: Everything You Need to Know

An either way offence is a criminal offence that can be heard in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. This type of offence was created to make the criminal justice system more efficient, and to save taxpayers money. The decision as to which court will hear the case is made by the prosecutor and depends on a number of factors including the seriousness of the offence and whether it is triable summarily (in front of a magistrate) or on indictment (before a jury).

This article will explain what either way offences are, why they can be heard at different courts, and what you can do if you’re charged with one.


Facing an either way offence charge? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


What is an Either Way Offence?

An either way offence is a criminal offence that can be heard in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. This type of offence was created to make the criminal justice system more efficient, and to save taxpayers money. The decision as to which court will hear the case is made by the prosecutor and depends on a number of factors including:

  • The seriousness of the offence – an either way offence is more serious if it carries a higher sentence, for example up to five years in prison.
  • The way the offence is committed – an either way offence can be committed in different ways, for example by using violence or threats of violence.
  • Whether it’s triable summarily (in front of a magistrate) or on indictment (before a jury). 
  • The mode of trial – this is the way in which the case will be heard, for example, with or without a jury.

All of this will be considered as well as the facts of the case and the evidence that is available.

court hearing

Why Can Either Way Offences be Heard at Magistrates or Crown Court?

Either way offences can be heard at Magistrates or Crown Court because they are more serious than summary offences but not as serious as indictable offences. This means that they can be tried in either court, depending on the circumstances. However, it is important to note that even if your hearing is at Magistrates Court, it could still be a very serious offence with some potentially life-changing consequences.

What are the Differences Between a Magistrates/Crown Court Hearing?

The main difference between a Magistrates and Crown Court hearing is that Magistrates Courts can only deal with offences that have a maximum sentence of six months in prison, whereas Crown Courts can deal with any offence. This means that if you are charged with an either way offence, your case will be heard in the Magistrates Court unless the prosecutor decides that it is too serious to be dealt with there.

If your case is heard in the Crown Court, it will be before a judge and jury. This means that you will have to answer to 12 members of the public who will decide whether you are guilty or not. Magistrates Hearings, on the other hand, are usually before a single magistrate who will decide your fate.

Examples of Either Way Offences

There are many different types of either way offences, but some of the most common include:

  • Theft – this can be anything from shoplifting to burglary.
  • Violent crimes – this can include assault and actual bodily harm (ABH)
  • Drug offences – this can include possession of drugs with intent to supply, as well as drug trafficking.

Depending on the exact circumstances of the crime, these can be less or more serious which is why the prosecutor will consider all of the factors before deciding which court to hear the case in.


Facing an either way offence charge? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


The Other Two Types of Offences: Summary Offences, Indictable Offences

There are two other types of criminal offences – summary offences and indictable offences. Summary offences are less serious than either way or indictable offences and can only be tried in the Magistrates Court. This means that if you’re charged with a summary offence, your case will be heard in front of a single magistrate who will decide whether you’re guilty or not. Examples of summary offences include:

  • Drunk and disorderly behaviour 
  • Possession of a small amount of cannabis 

Indictable offences are the most serious type of criminal offence and can only be tried in the Crown Court. This means that if you’re charged with an indictable offence, you’ll have to answer to a judge and jury. The jury will decide whether you’re guilty or not, and the judge will sentence you if you are found guilty. Examples of indictable offences include:

  • Murder 
  • Rape 
  • Armed Robbery 

motoring either way offence

Motoring Either Way Offences

There are also a number of motoring offences that can be heard in either court, depending on the severity. The most common examples are:

These offences can be more or less serious depending on the circumstances, so it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible if you’re charged with one of these. At Caddick Davies, our lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with either way motoring offences and can give you the best possible chance of a successful outcome.

What to Do If You’re Charged With an Only Way Offence

If you’re charged with an either way offence, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible so that you can understand your options and start preparing for your hearing. At Caddick Davies, we have a team of experienced criminal lawyers who can help you every step of the way. We’ll guide you through the process, advise you on what to do and how to prepare, and represent you in court if necessary. Our team of criminal defence lawyers have a wealth of experience in this area and can help you understand your options and what to expect from the court process. We’ll work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you, whether that’s a dismissal of the charges, a reduction in the sentence or an acquittal.

How to Choose the Right Lawyer

When it comes to choosing the right lawyer for your case, it’s important to do your research and find someone who has experience in dealing with the type of offence you’ve been charged with. It’s also important to find someone who you feel comfortable with and who you can trust to give you the best possible advice. At Caddick Davies, we have a team of experienced criminal defence lawyers who are ready to help you with your case. We offer a free initial consultation so that you can get to know us and our team, and we’ll work with you every step of the way to help you get a favourable outcome.

How to Prepare for Your Hearing

If you’re facing an either way offence charge, it’s important to be prepared for your hearing. This means knowing what to expect from the court process, understanding your options, and having all the necessary evidence and witnesses ready. Our team of criminal defence lawyers can help you with all of this, and we’ll guide you through the process every step of the way. We’ll also advise you on what to say in court and how to behave so that you put your best foot forward.

The Magistrates Courts Process

If your case is heard in the Magistrates Court, the process will be as follows:

  • The prosecution will present its evidence to the court 
  • You (or your lawyer) will have a chance to question the witnesses and present your own evidence 
  • The magistrate will decide whether you’re guilty or not 
  • If you’re found guilty, the magistrate will sentence you

If you disagree with the sentence or your lawyers believe you have a good chance of having it reduced or overturned, you can then file an appeal. This usually involves going to the Crown Court for a re-trial.


Facing an either way offence charge? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


The Crown Court Process

If your case is heard in the Crown Court, the process is similar to a Magistrates Court with a few key differences:

  • A jury of 12 people will be selected from the public 
  • The prosecution will present its evidence to the jury 
  • You (or your lawyer) will have a chance to question the witnesses and present your own evidence 
  • The jury will decide whether you’re guilty or not 
  • If you’re found guilty, the judge will sentence you 

Again, you can then file an appeal if you want to have the sentence reduced or overturned. This process will involve going to the Court of Appeal.

Whatever the outcome of your case, it’s important to get legal advice from a qualified and experienced defence lawyer. At Caddick Davies, we have a team of highly-skilled lawyers who have vast experience in both Magistrates and Crown Courts. We’ll work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you, whether that’s a dismissal of the charges, a reduction in the sentence or an acquittal. If you are appealing a sentence, we can also help with that process whether you were our client during the initial hearing or not.

What Defences are Available to You?

There are a number of defences that can be used in an either way offence case, and your lawyer will advise you on which ones are most applicable to your case. Some common defences include:

  • Innocent until proven guilty – this is the most common defence used in criminal cases. It means that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offence.
  • Lack of intent – if you didn’t mean to commit the crime, then you may be able to avoid sentencing. This defence is often used in cases where someone has been accused of a crime they didn’t know they were committing.
  • Duress or coercion – if you were forced or coerced into committing the crime, then you may be able to use this defence.
  • Self-defence – as above, if you were acting in self-defence and your actions were reasonable under the circumstances, then you can’t be found guilty.
  • Mistake of fact – this defence applies if you mistakenly believed that certain facts were true, and those facts would have justified your actions.
  • Consent – in some cases, consent can be used as a defence. This usually applies in cases of assault, but there are other instances where it may be applicable.
  • Necessity – this is a defence that can be used if you committed a crime to prevent a greater harm from occurring. For example, if you stole food to prevent yourself from starving.
  • Intoxication – if you were intoxicated at the time of the crime and as a result, you didn’t have the required mental state to commit the offence, then you can use this defence.

These are just some of the defences that can be used in either way offence cases. If you’re unsure about which defences are available to you, or need help preparing for your hearing, please contact us today and we’ll be happy to assist you.

either way offence lawyer

Final Thoughts

Either way offences are serious crimes that can be heard in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. If you’re facing charges for an either way offence, it’s important to get legal advice from a qualified defence lawyer as soon as possible.

At Caddick Davies, we have a team of experienced lawyers who can advise you on the best course of action and represent you in court. Get in touch with us today for advice and representation.


Facing an either way offence charge? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

Make an Enquiry

Call Us on 03334 432 366 or enter your details below:

    Your data is secure

    Why Choose Us

    • Ranked in the top 20 law firms by Trustpilot
    • Nationwide Legal Coverage
    • Free Consultation
    • Fixed Fee Terms
    • Competitive Rates
    • Flexible Payment Plans
    • Trusted Legal Care
    • UK’s Leading Motoring Solicitors

    We have been successfully representing clients in motoring courts nationwide

    Contact us for a free consultation, our expert solicitors will be able to discuss your case and advise on legal options.

    Birmingham
    Bradford
    Bristol
    Carlisle
    Cardiff
    Chelmsford
    Huddersfield
    Hull
    Manchester
    Liverpool
    Leeds
    London
    Newcastle
    Norwich
    Nottingham
    Sheffield

    Request free consultation
    UK Map