5 things to understand when you speak with your criminal lawyer
When faced with criminal charges, you might find yourself feeling confused, nervous or dreading what comes next. Often, these feelings can cloud your mind when discussing your matter with your lawyer. This is why it is really important to go into each meeting with your lawyer knowing exactly what you want to get out of it.
Here is a list of things to understand when you speak with your criminal lawyer – particularly during your first meeting. It is up to your lawyer to make sure you understand these things so that you can make the best decision for you.
1. What are the charges you are facing?
Criminal matters in NSW usually start with a document called a Court Attendance Notice. This will set out the nature of the charges you are facing. It is important that your criminal lawyer can explain in detail:
· The charge
· The maximum penalty for that charge
· The type of conduct that is involved in that type of charge.
2. What does the prosecution have to prove?
Your criminal defence lawyer should be able to explain exactly what the prosecution has to prove against you. The prosecution has to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, the defence does not have to prove anything.
The prosecution has to prove each of the elements of the offence. The elements of an offence are sometimes also called the ingredients of the charge. In a recipe, all of the ingredients have to be used. In a criminal matter, the prosecution has to prove each of the “ingredients”. If they prove some and not others, they do not prove the case against you.
3. What are the options available to you?
Before you can make a decision about what you want to do about the charge against you, you need to have all of the options on the table. Your criminal lawyer needs to give you clear guidance about what options you can take. Sometimes it is more than just either pleading guilty or not guilty, it just depends on your matter. In some cases it might be possible to negotiate with the prosecution about the charges and the statement of facts. Your lawyer should be in a position to give you frank advice about your options. Your lawyer should also be able to give you an outline of the court process and which court your matter will be finalised in.
4. What will it cost?
It is always more reassuring to have certainty about how much it will cost you to have a lawyer represent you in your criminal matter. Often times, if your matter is one that will be dealt with in the Local Court, your lawyer might offer you a fixed fee. This means you know from the start how much it will cost you and there won’t be any surprises down the road. If your matter will be finalised in the District Court, your lawyer should be able to give you a reasonable estimate of how long your matter will take and how much it will cost. In all matters, your lawyer has to give you an estimate and if the estimate changes at any time during your matter, your lawyer has to update as soon as possible.
5. What will the outcome be?
No criminal lawyer should make you promises about what the outcome will be for you when your criminal matter is finalised. An experienced criminal lawyer, without making guarantees, should be able to give you a range of outcomes that might be expected in the circumstances.
We pride ourselves on providing clear advice to our clients and making sure that our clients have all of the information they need and most importantly that they understand the process. Kingston Fox Lawyers are a boutique criminal law firm. This means that we have the time and dedication to devote to our individual clients to arrive at the best possible outcome for them.
How can we help you with your criminal matter? Please contact us for a chat on 0455 039 660 or 0455 039 606.