Sometimes people do things that violate other people’s rights – intentionally or otherwise. Whether wrongly accused or guilty as charged, you should never be without an attorney when facing the prospect of jail or prison. No matter the severity of the crime you are charged with, you need a good criminal lawyer to protect your rights and freedom.
What is a Criminal Lawyer?
A criminal lawyer or criminal defence lawyer is a lawyer specialising in the defence of individuals, organisations and corporate entities charged with a criminal offence. Their expertise touches a broad spectrum of criminal cases ranging from violent crimes, drug crimes and sex crimes to child abuse, theft and fraud. Often an attorney will specialise in a particular niche within the realm of criminal defence, such as driving under the influence (DUI) crimes.
Criminal lawyers deal with the issues surrounding an arrest, criminal charges, a criminal investigation, sentencing, appeals, motions and post-trial issues.
How a Criminal Trial Works
A criminal trial takes place within the context of the adversarial or adversary system, under which there are two opposing parties, i.e. the prosecution and the defence. Both will present evidence for determination by an independent third party, which will be a magistrate or a judge and jury depending on the court.
It is important to note that the NSW Court system is set up as a hierarchy and therefore provides opportunities for appeal. Majority of criminal cases (both summary and indictable offences) begin in the Local Court. However, more serious crimes or indictable offences are often dealt with to finality in the District or Supreme Court of New South Wales.
In general, there are four ways an accused may be brought before the court:
- An arrest: The Parliament and the legal system empower the police to arrest people for a criminal offence. In such case, the person may be charged and released on bail on the condition that they attend the Local Court to face the charge.
- Court Attendance Notice (CAN): The police have the prerogative to either arrest the person or issue then with a CAN to attend the Local Court on a specific date. This notice may be issued at the scene so the person need not be taken to the police station
- Summons: A police officer may make a formal complaint to the court, who will then issue a summons setting out the place and time for the person to appear before the Local Court
- The person has filled out the ‘court election’ on an Infringement Notice: If the person has been issued an Infringement Notice, such as a speeding ticket, and has filled and sent off the ‘court election’ on it, he or she will receive a CAN setting out when and where to attend the Local Court.
The accused may appear at court in person or have a lawyer appear on their behalf. If they fail to attend the hearing, they will be charged with another offence, i.e. failure to appear.
Evidence need not be presented on the ‘first appearance’ at court – the accused person will only be read the charges filed against them and asked if they plead guilty or not guilty. The court will then allow the person time to consider their position, prepare evidence and get legal counsel. If they plead ‘guilty’, the case may be dealt with on the same day.
For succeeding appearances, the accused may admit evidence at trial for determination by the magistrate or jury. Based on the evidence and the statement given by witnesses (if any), the court will decide on a ruling as well as penalty for the charges.
Criminal offences are dealt with differently and the legal proceedings can be very complex, hence the need for an experience criminal defence lawyer.
How Can a Criminal Lawyer Help You?
While it is possible to represent yourself in court, an experienced criminal lawyer will have a sound working knowledge of the local criminal justice system and will be familiar with the personality and temperament of the local magistrates and judges.
A criminal lawyer will give you high-level advice and represent you in state, federal and appellate courts. An experienced attorney can articulate reasons why you should be cleared of any charges or why the case should be dismissed. Or if you have been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, a criminal lawyer can argue a better resolution in your behalf.
Even if you have only been accused of a misdemeanour, working with an experienced criminal lawyer gives you the advantage of mounting an adequate defence. While the justice system considers an accused person “innocent until proven guilty”, he is nonetheless up against experienced, government-funded prosecutors. So if you have been accused of a crime, you need the best possible advice and representation to ensure a fair process and ruling.
Here at BTF Lawyers, our scope of practice includes legal representation, bail applications, plea bargains, severity appeals, conviction appeals, all grounds appeals, public hearings, public inquiries, revocation hearings (parole or probation) and post-conviction remedies.
We have in-depth understanding of federal, state and local laws, court procedures and evidentiary rules to navigate the adversarial system competently and ensure the most positive outcome for your case.
As your criminal defence lawyer, it is our job to:
- Review and investigate the case filed against you
- Explain to you what is likely to happen and how criminal laws will likely be applied
- Provide an objective perspective of your situation
- Gather information from witnesses
- Research and analyse laws, statues and crime codes relevant to your case
- Build a defence and develop a case strategy
- Draft, file and argue appeals and motions
- Advocate for you at defended hearings
- Negotiate “plea bargain” with prosecution to reduce charges
Throughout the entire process, we will make sure you as our client are afforded all forms of protection provided through the laws and constitutions of state and federal governments.
At BTF Lawyers, we value open communication and transparency. To ensure our clients understand their situation clearly, we explain complex laws and legal procedures in detail in simple language. We tell them honestly what is expectable outcome for their case, and what steps they may take to ensure the most favourable ruling or settlement.
We pay attention to detail in order to build the best defence and win your case.
If you are facing a criminal charge or you have any queries related to criminal law matters, please give us a call on 9617 0737 (between 8AM and 5PM) or on 0413 320 028 (for out of hours consultation). You may also get in touch via email on our contact us page.