A criminal defence lawyer plays a crucial role in representing people who have been accused of committing a crime.

Their primary responsibility is to ensure that their clients receive a fair hearing and that their rights are protected throughout the legal process. In particular:

  1. Legal Advice and Guidance: A defence lawyer provides legal advice to their clients and explains their rights, options, and potential outcomes. They guide clients on how to respond to police questioning and assist with bail applications, if necessary. Once charged, lawyers also explain the charges against their clients, they analyse the evidence and help their clients understand possible sentences.
  2. Case Assessment and Investigation: Defence lawyers thoroughly examine the evidence presented by the prosecution. They review police reports, witness statements, forensic evidence, CCTV, Body Worn Camera footage, telephone records and any other relevant documents to identify weaknesses or inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. They may also conduct their own investigation, interview witnesses, gather evidence, and consult with experts if required.
  3. Developing Defence Strategies: Based on their analysis of the case, defence lawyers develop strategies to defend their clients. They may challenge the admissibility of certain evidence, question the credibility of witnesses, or argue that their client’s actions were justified by raising a viable defence or arguing that their client the requisite criminal intent.
  4. Negotiations with Prosecutors: In many cases, a defence lawyer may engage in negotiations with the prosecution to seek a favourable resolution for their client. This could involve negotiating reduced charges, or alternative sentencing options, such as Diversion. They assess the strength of the prosecution’s case and advise their clients on whether it is in their best interest to enter a plea of guilty to challenge the charges and proceed to Contested Hearing or Trial.
  5. Court Representation: Defence lawyers represent their clients in court proceedings. They present arguments, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and challenge the prosecution’s case. They ensure that their clients’ rights are protected during the hearing and make legal submissions to the Magisgtrate, Judge or Jury. They also present any evidence or witnesses on behalf of their clients and make persuasive arguments to support their defence.
  6. Sentencing and Appeals: If their client is found guilty or pleads guilty, defence lawyers advocate for the most favourable sentencing outcome possible. They present mitigating factors, such as their client’s personal circumstances, previous good character, or the potential for rehabilitation, in order to influence the sentencing decision. Additionally, defence lawyers can assist with filing appeals if they believe legal errors were made during the trial or sentence or if they have grounds for an appeal based on new evidence.

Contact Wilkinson Lawyers for a free initial phone consultation.