Having the right information is fundamental in defending a criminal charge. When you are charged, it may seem daunting and uncertain about what to do next. The Police may make the Court process seem routine, however it is important that you obtain legal advice and are represented at every Court event.
When you have been charged with a criminal offence, you have the option of pleading guilty or not guilty. The option you choose is very much yours and depending on the circumstances of your case, may have a significant impact on the course of the proceedings.
Once we have perused the charge sheet and preliminary brief, we will discuss with you your options going forward. Criminal charges have serious consequences and ultimately, everything that happens in Court affects you. The decision to then plead guilty or not guilty will determine how your matter proceeds.
A guilty plea means that you have admitted to the charge and the Court will hear submissions about what sentence to impose. Pleading guilty will provide you with a discount in sentencing, meaning that your sentence will be less than if you pleaded not guilty. Further, a guilty plea to one charge can be used to have a lesser charge or charges withdrawn by the Police. This could reduce the total sentence available to the judge.
Alternatively, pleading not guilty will mean that your matter is contested. This will require the Police to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the offence you were charged with.
When you are charged with an offence, the Police may issue a summons for you to appear at Court, hold you on remand or release you on bail.
If you are held on remand, you have the right to apply for bail. Applying for bail is a formal process designed to give you your freedom back while a matter is brought before the Court. It is important that when you apply for bail you are able to show the Court that you will not commit further offences whilst on bail and that most importantly, you will appear at the next Court hearing. A way of establishing this is, for example, if you have been charged with drug related offences and can show that you also have a drug dependence, evidence that you have taken steps to address the dependence, such as enrolling in a rehabilitation centre for treatment, is strong evidence in support of your case. Our criminal lawyers know what is required to help you to get bail and will make sure that every option is canvassed to assist you.
We are also dedicated to you and making sure that you know what is happening with your matter at every stage. Our criminal lawyers have visited client’s in prison and also attended police interviews to make sure that the correct processes are followed and that we get all the information relevant to your case.