If you are under investigation or have been arrested in relation to a criminal offence, the best type of lawyer for you is a specialist criminal defence lawyer.
A specialist is a lawyer who is an expert in one particular area of law. It is best to use a specialist criminal defence lawyer because they:
- Have expert legal knowledge and experience in criminal law.
- Possess intricate knowledge of the criminal justice system and court staff (e.g. magistrates and judges).
- Consistently stay up to date with the latest legislation and case law that may benefit your case.
Please note that this article is not legal advice. It only presents general information and personal opinion.
How can a criminal defence lawyer help my case?
A criminal defence lawyer can help you achieve the best possible outcome by providing expert legal advice and representation.
Throughout your proceedings, your criminal lawyer may help you in relation to any number of legal issues, including but not limited to:
- Ensuring that your arrest and detainment is legal and justified;
- Applying for bail;
- Forensically analysing your case and the available evidence;
- Assessing whether any legal defences apply;
- Advising you of your legal options;
- Negotiating charges and facts with the prosecution;
- Entering an appropriate plea of guilty or not guilty;
- Presenting your case to the court; and
- Appealing your matter if necessary.
If you choose to plead guilty, a criminal lawyer may help you to attain the best possible outcome by negotiating with the prosecution to reduce:
- The number of charges against you; and/or
- The seriousness of those charges.
Alternatively, if you plead not guilty, your criminal lawyer may argue that:
- The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove the charges; or
- A legal defence applies given the circumstances.
If either argument is valid, the court must find you not guilty.
What kind of charges can a criminal lawyer help me with?
A specialist criminal lawyer should be an expert in almost all criminal matters. Common matters that criminal lawyers deal with include:
- Drink and drug driving
- Criminal driving and traffic offences
- Sexual offences
- Assault charges
- Murder and manslaughter
- Drug offences
- Burglary, robbery and theft
- Intervention orders.
Can a good lawyer get you out of anything?
Whether or not a good criminal lawyer can get you out of a charge depends on the facts and circumstances of your matter.
A specialist criminal lawyer might be able to improve your chances of attaining the best possible outcome. This is because specialist lawyers take on fewer cases than generalists or public defenders who may have to work on dozens of cases at a time.
The best criminal lawyers also establish working relationships with their peers and colleagues in the criminal justice system. This means that they know how to best present your case for judges and magistrates, and how best to deal with court staff and prosecutors.
Do I have to confess everything to my lawyer?
It is usually best to confess everything to your criminal lawyer with honest and detailed instructions. This way, your defence team will be able to properly prepare for any arguments that the prosecution may raise in court.
Any information you communicate to your lawyer is confidential, unless you agree to it being disclosed in court or conveyed to the prosecution. However, lawyers are also required to abide by ethical standards and codes of conduct. In Victoria, the regulatory body that manages ethical standards is the Law Institute of Victoria.
Under the ethical guidelines in Victoria, a criminal lawyer can still represent you if you admit you are guilty. However, your lawyer cannot lie or knowingly mislead the court on your behalf.
If you confess your guilt to your legal team and choose to plead guilty, your criminal lawyer can help you achieve the best possible outcome by negotiating with the prosecution to:
- Reduce the number of charges; and/or
- Reduce the seriousness of the charges.
Where appropriate, pleading guilty may significantly reduce the sentence you receive. In some circumstances, it may even lead to a non-conviction (also known as a spent conviction), whereby no criminal conviction is disclosed on your public record.
What if a lawyer knows their client is lying?
If a criminal lawyer knows their client is guilty or lying about their guilt, they may advise against pleading not guilty. The advice your criminal lawyer gives you will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of your case.
As mentioned above, a criminal lawyer cannot lie or knowingly mislead the court on behalf of their client. Therefore, if you confess your guilt, your criminal lawyer can only defend you by “putting the prosecution to proof”. This means that they cannot:
- Tell the court you are innocent;
- Allow facts they know are false to be presented as evidence; or
- Make submissions they know are false.
However, in these circumstances, a criminal lawyer can argue that the prosecution has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Successfully doing so would result in the client being found not guilty.
Who is the best criminal lawyer in Melbourne (Victoria)?
Craig Sher of Sher Criminal Lawyers has helped hundreds of people in Melbourne and Regional Victoria to achieve outstanding outcomes in their criminal proceedings. He appears on a weekly basis before the Magistrates’ Court and the County Court of Victoria to advise and represent clients in all sorts of criminal matters.
Please contact Sher Criminal Lawyers immediately if you have been charged or are under investigation for a criminal offence. Our specialist criminal lawyers are available 24/7 and offer free consultations by way of Zoom, Facetime or in person at our Melbourne and Moorabbin offices. Please contact us today.