Why you need to know a good criminal lawyer

Before explaining why someone experienced on your side can be invaluable when you are charged with any criminal offence, I’d like to ask you something. When watching the news, and you see a horrible story, a murder or a rape, are you or someone you know quick to judge the accused individual? Could you listen to their story absent judgment and prejudice?

At Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers, we understand that sometimes a person’s compassion towards any alleged victim can instantly turn into an almost unreasonable prejudice against their alleged attacker. After all trial by media or social media is the new norm. Constantly our friends ask us as criminal lawyers how can you defend someone you know is guilty? Or someone accused of something horrible?

Our answer is a simple one. If you believe in any true concept of justice, you would logically believe that everyone has the right to a fair trial. The High Court of Australia stated this in Dietrich v The Queen (1992) 177 CLR 292. How can a person accused of a horrible crime, receive a fair trial, if no lawyer represents them? The ordinary person isn’t a lawyer, they have spent years studying statues and cases. How much of the Evidence Act do they know?

The accused is almost always the underdog, fighting in a courtroom against the Police or Crown, that are publicly funded bodies which are extremely experienced in putting people behind bars. If you doubt this, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research states that 86.2% of defendants were convicted in the more senior Criminal Courts in recent years. Now imagine you are a person accused of a criminal offence and you suffer from an intellectual disability or mental illness and you cannot afford a lawyer. Short of assistance from Legal Aid or a lawyer working pro bono, how likely is it you will have a fair trial?

If our system of justice is to be just, then everyone deserves a fair trial. Not only those accused of horrible offences but those that are guilty of such as well. If you find this notion offensive, ask yourself, what if you were accused of something terrible you didn’t commit? Wouldn’t you want a lawyer to defend your interests to the best of their ability? Then, if you would want a lawyer to help you, how can you fairly deny that to someone else? Regarding the guilty, having a fair trial does not mean you will get off free. It means you will have a chance to say why you did what you did. Yes you may be guilty of theft, but what if you were stealing medicine to save someone’s life?

Consider this single issue that alone significantly compounds the complicity of the issues discussed above. There is a doctrine of law called the honest but mistaken witness. This is where a victim or witness truly believes what they are saying is the truth, but they are in fact mistaken.  There are notorious cases in which evidence of identification have been demonstrated to be wrong after innocent people have been convicted and spent years, and sometimes decades in goal.

This is why Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers strongly advises you to consult an experienced senior criminal lawyer to handle your matter as soon as possible. The consequences of a criminal charge can be life changing and permanent. This can affect your employability or capacity to travel, let alone the possible loss of your liberty.

Pre-arrest legal advice

Speak with your lawyer.

The number of individuals that consent to a police interview is astounding. When the police interview a suspected person, that is called an ERISP. An Electronically Recorded Interview of a Suspected Person. We have seen a staggering number of matters were an accused person has made crushing admissions that significantly harm their own situation. These admissions can and are used in Court as evidence of the commission of the alleged offence(s). We strongly urge readers to remember they are in most cases not required to undertake the police interview and can refuse to participate in one. Furthermore, there is nothing stopping you from contacting the police at a later date and doing the interview, after you’ve enjoyed the benefit of speaking with your lawyer.

Advice after arrest

Speak with your lawyer.

Be completely honest with your lawyer. It will affect the nature of the advice we give you in order to maximize your chances of getting the best outcome. In addition to bail considerations, there are many considerations to take into account. Some of these considerations are:

  • Do you have a criminal history?
  • Is any defence possible?
  • Are there any mitigating factors?
  • On the evidence, can the Police or Crown satisfy each element of the alleged offence(s) beyond reasonable doubt?
  • Is there the existence of any intellectual disability or mental illness?

Advice on interview

Be completely honest with your lawyer.

We will go through the brief of evidence with you page by page, asking for any comment you have on every piece of evidence the prosecution has in your matter to hear your instructions. We know that no two clients are the same, and we strive to tailor our services in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your goals.

Options at law

In order to maximise the likelihood of obtaining a successful outcome, regardless whether you wish to plead guilty or not guilty, we strongly advise you contact a senior criminal lawyer as soon as possible regarding your matter. Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers generally offer the following options:

  • We will negotiate with prosecutors to request that the charge(s) is/are withdrawn, downgraded or that the fact sheets amended to aid your case;
  • RCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  • Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (potentially having a disputed facts hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; or
  • Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court either not record a criminal conviction or otherwise provide you with the least restrictive possible penalty.


View our webpage that goes into your choices at length.

Indictable law processes

Certain criminal offences are to be dealt with as indictable offences. These are generally your more severe criminal offences. An indictable offence can be dealt with summarily, or an election can be made by yourself or the DPP for it to be dealt with on indictment.

The commencement of an indictable offence procedure is done by the issue and filing of a Court Attendance Notice, under Section 47 of the Criminal Procedure Act. An arrest warrant may be applied for by the person issuing the Court Attendance Notice (either by the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Police) under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Committal Proceeding steps (in relation to indictable offences)

Section 55 of the Criminal Procedure Act states:

“the steps for committal proceedings are generally as follows—

(a)  committal proceedings are commenced by the issuing and filing of a court attendance notice,

(b)  a brief of evidence is served on the accused person by the prosecutor,

(c)  a charge certificate setting out the offences that are to be proceeded with is filed in the Local Court and served by the prosecutor on the accused person,

(d)  if the accused person is represented, 1 or more case conferences are held by the prosecutor and the legal representative for the accused person,

(e)  if the accused person is represented, a case conference certificate is filed in the Local Court,

(f)  the accused person pleads guilty or not guilty to each offence being proceeded with and the Magistrate commits the accused person for trial (if the accused person pleads not guilty) or for sentence (if the accused person pleads guilty).”

At each step in the process there is opportunity and scope for your lawyer to assist your matter in a significant way.


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