Being charged with a criminal offence, no matter how serious, can be overwhelming.
You might be unsure what will happen, you might not understand the charges you face, or have any idea what your penalty will be if you are found guilty.
The legal process is complicated and full of procedures and terminology that, unless you are a legal expert, you will probably be unfamiliar with.
The first thing you need to do if you have been charged with a criminal offence is contact a lawyer.
Sydney based lawyers are a good idea when you are dealing with the NSW court system, as the laws and procedures vary from state to state.
What can a lawyer do to help me?
There are a number of things a lawyer can do to help you ensure the best possible outcome for your criminal case. These include:
- Helping you understand the charges you are facing and the potential penalties
- Helping you apply to have charges withdrawn if there is enough evidence
- Explaining your options and how to proceed if you want to plead not guilty
- Guiding you through the court procedure
- Defending you in court
If you are looking for a lawyer to represent you, Sydney Criminal Lawyers specialise in criminal law, and we offer a fixed fee option for many of our services.
Do I have to talk to the police?
In most situations, you are under no legal obligation to answer police questions, and it is generally better that you don’t – in case you say something under pressure that is inaccurate or incriminating.
If you have been arrested, you will have to give police your name and address, but it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer before you answer any more questions, or provide any more information, particularly about the alleged offence.
Will I have to go to court?
Most criminal cases are dealt with in the local magistrates court.
If you are not currently in custody, you will receive notification of the time and date of your court appearance.
Alternatively, if you have been arrested and are in police custody they may take you to the magistrates court, or offer you bail and give you a court date.
You must attend your court date, or you will face further criminal charges which might be more serious than the charges you are currently facing.
How many times will I have to go to court?
If you choose to plead guilty, the matter might be finalised during your first court appearance.
If you choose to plead not guilty, and defend yourself against the charges, court will be adjourned to give both sides the opportunity to gather their evidence.
Your case will then be heard at a later date.
What if I don’t agree with my sentence?
You have the right to appeal your sentence within one month of your conviction.
Your lawyer can guide you through this process, but be aware that it is possible in some cases that you can end up with a harsher conviction than the original conviction you received.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, make sure you give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome from your case.
Learning about how the system works and finding the best possible criminal lawyer to represent you can make a big difference to the end result.