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COPFS

Charged with an offence

Q. I have a question about my fine – can you help?

A. If you have any questions about fines, you should contact the Scottish Court Service.

Q. Can you tell me what I have been charged with?

A. Details of charges should be on any correspondence you have received. If not, you should write or email the procurator fiscal office on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Q. What is happening to my case?

A. You should get the police reference number from the police and write a letter to the procurator fiscal with any questions, quoting the police reference number. The fiscal cannot discuss anything without a police report, which can take at least 28 days to arrive.

Q. I want to change my bail conditions/details – can you help?

A. If you have any questions about bail, you should contact the Scottish Court Service.

Q. What happens if I don’t come to court?

A. You can send your plea to the court using the reply form on your complaint, or ask a solicitor to act on your behalf. If you don’t go to court in other circumstances, you may be ordered to appear personally or a warrant could be issued for your arrest. You should speak to a solicitor.

Q. What happens if there is a warrant for my arrest?

A. You must go to your nearest police office.

Q. Can I get a solicitor at the court?

A. Maybe, but there is a risk that no solicitor will be available at the court. If you really want a solicitor, you should contact one in advance.

Q. What is a direct measure? Does it mean I have a criminal conviction?

A. In some less serious cases, the fiscal can take what are called direct measures. These include: a written or verbal warning by the fiscal; a fine, or fixed penalty conditional offer, of between £50 and £300; a fixed penalty for less serious road traffic offences, sometimes also with penalty points; payment of compensation of up to £5,000 to someone who has suffered monetary loss, personal loss, alarm or distress; referral for specialist support or treatment; and, other diversions from prosecution such as reparation and mediation. You do not receive a criminal conviction.

Q. How do I get back property taken during the investigation?

A. Property is returned by the police once the case is finished and the appeal period has passed, which is usually around six to eight weeks.

Q. How do I make a complaint about COPFS?

A. COPFS has a well-established and rigorous complaints procedure. Full information is available on our website

Q. How do I make a complaint about a police officer?

A. You can contact COPFS if it is a complaint about the criminal conduct of a police officer. Otherwise, you should contact the Police Service of Scotland/Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

Q: English isn’t my first language, will there be an interpreter at court to help me?

A: Yes – if you need an interpreter, either for a spoken language or for British Sign Language, arrangements will be made to ensure that an interpreter will be at court to help you. We will need to know your exact language and dialect so that a suitable interpreter can be arranged for you

Q: I can’t read English documents very well because English isn’t my first language, can you send me a written translation of your documents?

A: We will translate all essential COPFS documents for you – this includes details of the charge against you and our Summary of Evidence. If you have any queries about our translation provisions, please contact our Enquiry Point on 01389 739 557.