Being accused of a crime can be terrifying and upsetting, whether you’re guilty or not. The legal proceedings can also be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time going through them. Typically, the criminal case involves a great deal of documentation to submit, queries to answer from police officers and evidence to collect. Making the slightest mistake may result in losing the case or being sentenced.
Fortunately, criminal defence lawyers come in handy to make the process less stressful and increase your probability of winning. Here are four primary roles of a criminal defence counsel:
1. Study your case
The criminal defence counsel has a responsibility to investigate your case. They assemble their proof while preparing for the trial. This enables them to determine any possible reasons for releasing you and whether you have any reasonable probability of winning at trial. This may include speaking with witnesses who may have any details about the matter. Additionally, it may involve interrogating the police regarding their methods concerning the case.
Furthermore, they may interview the prosecutor’s witnesses. This enables them to:
- Evaluate their behaviour and credibility
- Charge witnesses who give contradicting information to what they told the defence
- Identify leads for fresh proof and people to examine
- Set up a foundation for disputing witnesses who declined to speak to the defence
- Find out witnesses’ information and develop a strategy on how to deal with their attestation on trial
When looking for Sydney lawyers, choose a financially stable firm with the right resources to carry out such investigations.
2. Help you with bail applications
Bail is the money ordered by a court to ensure you perform your duties while in a trial. You can request to be temporarily released as you await your trial. You must file a bail application with the appropriate court to apply for bail. Bail application can sometimes be challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it. Fortunately, criminal defence lawyers are well-versed with this process and ensure it becomes successful no matter how serious your criminal charges are.
Usually, the application is made during a mention. That is a hearing where your issue is presented before the court. During this process, the defence counsel mentions that you’re applying for bail. The prosecutor also provides their remarks about your issues. The judge asks the complainant whether they approve your bail application. If they do, the judge can award you the bail. However, this isn’t always guaranteed as the judges may look into some factors such as:
- The type of your offence
- The intensity of the matter of the accusations
- Whether you have a record of violence
- Your history, criminal background and societal ties
- If you have any illegal connection
3. Defend you in trial
The trial is an ordered process where the truths of a case are presented to a jury, and they decide whether you’re guilty or not of the matter submitted. During the trial, the accuser uses witnesses and evidence to convince the judges that you indeed committed the crime.
On the other hand, you have to give your side of the story using witnesses and proof. This is where the defence counsel steps in. Ideally, they represent you in the courtroom by proving your innocence to the jury, questioning the complainant’s witnesses and protesting false evidence and testimony.
The ideal trial proceedings include:
- Opening statements by both the prosecutor and defence. You have to summarise the matter and what you’re trying to prove.
- Presentation by the prosecution of their case and all their proof
- Questioning of the prosecutor’s witnesses by the defendant
- Presentation of the defence and all their shreds of evidence
- Questioning the defendant’s witnesses by the prosecutor
- Presentation of closing statements by both the accused and complainant
- Decision-making by a judge or jury. If you’re found guilty, you’re immediately jailed; if not guilty, you’re set free.
4. Keep you updated about the progress of the case
The best criminal lawyers keep you regularly updated during the legal process. They ensure that they constantly communicate with you and highlight any changes with the case. For instance, if they find new evidence, they notify you as quickly as possible.
Criminal defence counsel plays a significant role during a criminal case. They investigate your case, help you with bail applications, defend you in trials, and keep you updated about the progress of the matter. All these accelerate your chances of you winning the case. Thus, don’t hesitate to hire reputable criminal lawyers in Sydney if you’re in the city. This ensures that your case is handled correctly.
- “Investigating a Criminal Case: Interviewing Prosecution Witness,” Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/investigating-criminal-case-interviewing-prosecution-witnesses.html?pathUI=button
- “Bail Proceedings: Background,” Source: https://www.findlaw.com/criminal/criminal-procedure/bail-proceedings-background.html#:~:text=Bail%20is%20an%20amount%20of,used%20in%20civil%20court%20cases.
- “OFFICES of THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS,” Source: https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/trial
- “Crime,” Source: https://www.ghmc.org/crime/trial/what-happens-during-trial