Keeping the right side of the law is not as easy as one would think, and for some people, a silly mistake or lack of judgement results in criminal charges, which could seriously affect a person’s life. While we all try our best to be law abiding citizens, things can happen, and in the unlikely event you are ever charged with a criminal offence, here is some very useful advice on how to handle the situation.
- Don’t Panic – Reacting emotionally to anything is unwise, especially when you are being charged with a criminal offence. Fortunately, in Australia, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty, and with the help of experienced criminal lawyers in Melbourne, you can begin to put together a solid defence. You may have been arrested at home, the police station, or at another location, and regardless of how you feel at the time, it pays to have a clear head and act in a calm manner.
- Know your Rights– Every person has the right to legal representation when charged with a criminal offence, and the arresting officer is supposed to read a suspect his or her rights, which include the right to say nothing at the time of the arrest, and your silence cannot be inferred as a sign of guilt. In the event you are charged with a criminal offence, aside from acknowledging your identity and the charge itself, you should say nothing at all, and what’s more you should make contact immediately with an experienced criminal lawyer. People have seriously incriminated themselves by speaking out in the heat of the moment, and you need to remember that anything you do say can be used as evidence against you in a court of law, and by remaining silent, you are improving your chances of a favourable outcome.
- Choose your Own Lawyer– The arresting officer will likely inform you that they can provide a lawyer for you, but in all honesty, it pays to find your own legal representation. You might never need this, but if you source a competent criminal lawyer in advance and store their emergency contact number in your smartphone, should the worst happen, all it takes is a single call and the legal expert will be on his way.
- The Prosecution– Once an arrest has been made, the police will forward the details of the case to the public prosecutor, and he or she will decide if there is sufficient evidence to stand a chance of a conviction. In some cases, due a technicality or insufficient evidence, the prosecution decide not to pursue a conviction, and the suspect is duly informed and there will be no record of the arrest.
- Enter your Plea– Whether to plead guilty or not guilty is something that should be given a great deal of thought, and you should not enter a plea until you have consulted your lawyer, who will give you practical advice on what steps to take next. In some cases, the evidence is substantial and the lawyer might advise their client to plead guilty, rather than denying it and wasting the court’s valuable time, while in other cases, the evidence is very much circumstantial, and in that case, the legal expert might recommend a plea of not guilty. There’s an awful lot at stake with a criminal court proceedings and if there was ever a time when you need expert legal advice, this would be it.