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Criminal Law

Criminal Charges and Representation

“If a cop follows you for 500 miles, you’re going to get a ticket.” said Warren Buffett, one of the most influential investors of all time. In other words, on a long enough time line, everyone will break the law. Many people have a clean criminal record due to luck, and not because they have behaved perfectly at all times. Who hasn’t had a glass of wine in a public place and risked a charge of street drinking? 

If the police accuse you of committing a criminal act, then you will become enmeshed in the criminal justice system. You will be arrested, interviewed and then charged. You may even need to make an application for bail before a magistrate. More often than not, you need a lawyer. 

The criminal justice system is a complex and often perplexing maze designed to take in the accused at one end, and spit out justice at the other. For example, did you know that if you are found not guilty of an offense in the Magistrates Court you can obtain a costs order against the police. However, if you are found not-guilty of crime in the district court you must bear your own legal costs. This doesn’t seem to make sense at all. How could being found not guilty of a more serious offense not allow for financial restitution from the government? 

An experienced criminal lawyer will help to put your mind at ease. They will take on as much of the burden as possible. However, without a lawyer, you are heading through the system at a disadvantage. At Carter Dickens Lawyers, we have been assisting our clients navigate the criminal justice system since we opened our doors in 2013. We can help in many ways. These include:

  1. Providing advice on the offense you have been charged with.

  2. Assessing whether your actions actually constitute an offense.

  3. Advising you on how the matter will proceed through the Court system.

  4. Negotiating with the police to reduce your charge to a less serious charge, or have the charges dropped.

  5. If you plead guilty, helping you ensure that your penalty is not unfairly harsh.

  6. Doing the “talking” for you in Court.

  7. Preparing and gathering the necessary evidence to fight the allegation.

  8. Determining whether the evidence against you is admissible and legally obtained

  9. Representing you during the trial.

  10. Providing support and reassurance during a stressful time.

 

We can advise you at an early stage as to what the merits and risks in your case are. We can represent you at an earlier hearing for matters such as bail. We can also represent you at the trial hearing of the matter. We can also brief a barrister on your behalf (including QC’s and SC) to appear as your counsel.

The police or DPP may have incorrect information or may be mistaken in their evaluation of the evidence. We can assist in letting you tell ‘your side of the story’ to the Court and identifying issues with the prosecution case. This may include opposing the prosecution evidence or credibility of witnesses.

We will be able to advise you on whether a Defence applies in your case including:

  • Insanity

  • Accident

  • Duress

  • Emergency

  • Self-defence

  • Provocation

  •  Mistake of fact

 

Although any of the above defences may be available you do not need to establish a defence and you may also counter the prosecution's version of the material facts and deny the charge completely.

It is critical to get advice on the strength and weakness of your case. We can advise on whether you should plead guilty or not guilty but the final decision is always yours. Many times, people may realise they have done the wrong thing and need assistance with attending a sentencing hearing. We can assist by identifying mitigating factors for you, provide context to the Court of your personal circumstances, or explain any special aspects of the circumstances of the offending. We can request the Court order pre-sentence report or help you to organise private reports such as doctor or expert reports. We can also help you to obtain character references.

In some cases, we can also apply for a spent conviction or a lower type of penalty to be applied. There may also be options to undertake a course before or after the sentence. We will also appear for you as your Counsel at the sentencing hearing and make submission to the Court on your behalf (called a “plea in mitigation”).

If you have been charged with any type of criminal charge, or offense, the team at Carter Dickens Lawyers have the expertise to make your passage through the criminal justice system as painless as possible.