The Importance of Early Advice

Having the advice of an experienced criminal defence lawyer, can give your case the best possible chance of success. Your lawyer can provide you with advice about dealing with the police - even before charges are finalised, so that you do not inadvertently harm your defence. A good criminal solicitor can ensure you understand the charges against you, and work with you to understand what sort of defences may be available to you. Where you need to make an application for bail, a criminal defence lawyer can represent you, provide you with the best chance of being granted bail, and obtaining the most favourable bail conditions. It is important to have a lawyer who specialises in criminal defence, who is familiar with the charges you face, and who can work within the criminal law system to get the best outcome for your particular situation.

Negotiation and Guilty Pleas

For a variety of reasons, sometimes pleading guilty to the charges against you may be the best move – a criminal lawyer, with experience in the court system can advise you regarding your individual circumstances. In some instances, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, with the prosecution regarding the charges against you, and provide you with advice about accepting offers, such as pleading guilty to a charge in return for the dropping of other, or accepting a reduced charge.

If you are choosing to plead guilty to a charge, a good solicitor can assist you during the sentencing process. The court system provides for variations on the circumstances of the offending. An expert lawyer can present your case to the Magistrate or Judge, so that they understand your personal circumstances and matters particular to your case, when making their decision about your sentence. Properly presenting all mitigating circumstances to the court, and providing appropriate material like expert reports or character references, can all influence the severity of a sentence. Submissions made by your representative on relevant points of law can similarly result in a reduction of penalty.

Case Study:

Our client was remanded into custody, after being charged with breaching a family violence order, when he was found by police, in the company of the woman protected by the order. The circumstances of the case were that the woman had invited the accused into her home as they were in fact, in a consensual relationship and wanted to get married. Our client pleaded guilty to the charge and Slades and Parsons Director Anthony Brand, acting for the accused, provided the court with information about these circumstances, and advised the court that the woman had recently applied to have the non-contact provisions of the intervention order removed. He made submissions to the court regarding the accused’s work history, and the steps he had taken towards resolving a longstanding problem with alcohol, including engaging in rehabilitation and counselling.

The Magistrate sentenced the accused to custody for the 15 days he had already served on remand, meaning that our client was able to walk free from the courtroom. The Magistrate advised the accused that had it not been for his guilty plea, a finding of guilt at trial would have resulted in a three-month custodial sentence.

Representation at Trial

Appearing in court can be a confronting experience. A lawyer who specialises in criminal law can guide you through the process, and look after your interests. In most circumstances, when you plead ‘not guilty’ it will be up to the prosecution to prove their case against you, and an experienced criminal defence lawyer is able to identify areas where the prosecution is unable to prove its case to the requisite standard – beyond reasonable doubt. Alternatively, your lawyer may identify that you have a defence available to you under the law. Your lawyer can also assist in obtaining evidence for your defence, such as witness statements in your favour, expert testimony, or forensic testing.