The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a significant impact on the Scottish criminal justice system. Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for those due to attend court page for further information.
COPFS treats those accused of an offence fairly and respects their rights. COPFS is an independent body and cannot give legal advice.
Information about legal aid is available from the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I get back my property taken during an investigation?
A. The police return property after the case has finished. If you have not received your property six to eight weeks after the end of the case or if you have any other questions regarding your property, then please contact the relevant Police Office for assistance.
Q. I have submitted my driving licence in relation to a guilty plea, when will I get it back?
A. If you have submitted your driving licence with the paperwork for a guilty plea then your driving licence will be kept until the case calls in court, even if this is later than your original court date.
Q. When should I submit my driving licence in relation to a guilty plea?
A. If you intend to plead guilty and need to submit your driving licence to COPFS you should do so close to the date the case is calling in court and not later than 2 days before that date.
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?
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 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.