Facing a criminal charge is a tough time for anyone. From the hostile environment of the police station interview, to the lonely position in the dock at trial, there are many situations where you really need a lawyer’s advice and assistance.
If you are arrested, we will come to the police station to explain your options to you. We will make sure the police conduct their interview lawfully and that they respect your rights. After this, if the police decide to charge you, your case will go to a pre-trial hearing at a Local Court.
For some criminal matters, like traffic offences, you will receive a summons in the mail requesting you to attend court for a pre-trial hearing. Don’t ignore it: the case might be heard without you, or the court may issue the police with a warrant for your arrest. We can explain the charges you are facing, and we can appear at the pre-trial hearing for you.
At this hearing, the charge against you will be announced, with a summary of the case against you. After this, you will be asked to plead, guilty or not guilty. You also have the opportunity to obtain bail, if you are up for a serious offence. At this hearing, we will present outline the evidence in your defence, which we can also use to assist your application for bail.
If you plead not guilty, your trial will be heard at a later date, either in the Local Court for traffic offences and minor drug offences; or if your offence is serious, such as fraud, assault, or drug importation, your prosecution will go to the District Court or the Supreme Court. A criminal trial at one of these courts is governed by complicated rules of procedure about what evidence you are allowed to present, and what witnesses you are permitted to call. For the specific offence that you are being tried for, there are defences that will exonerate you, or make you only liable for a lesser offence.
There are all sorts of pitfalls for the unwary. For example, you might like to say that you are basically a good sort of person. But if you say this, the prosecution will be able to tell the court of any past convictions you may have had. If you had said nothing about your character, they would not have been allowed to admit any evidence at all of prior convictions or past behaviour.
For an ordinary person, these procedures, rules and legal jargon can be baffling. In court, you will be up against a highly trained criminal law specialist in the prosecutor. The consequences of losing your case can be devastating, with the possibility of fines, community service order, or even a prison sentence. Trying to run your case yourself is just not worth the risk.
With our experience, we know which rules to apply and how to argue your case to its best advantage. We will make sure you have evidence to support your case, and we will make sure the prosecution’s evidence is questioned and tested. And you won’t be left in the dark, for we can explain to you what is happening and why.
Even if you think you are guilty, you should still consult us. We know what are extenuating circumstances at law, so that you are really liable for an offence. We can also help to mitigate your sentence.
We can defend you against criminal charges of all kinds, ranging from traffic offences, including drink driving, through to drug offences, stolen goods, and possession of firearms.