How to Find the Best Criminal Lawyer in Sydney
Have you been charged with a traffic offence, summary offence or worse a serious crime such as a drug supply or possession, or sexual assault? Is it the first offence you have been charged with in a Sydney or NSW court or in Australia?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a criminal defence lawyer. Considering these factors before making a final decision may increase your chances of getting a plea bargain with the prosecution or better yet the charges dismissed entirely.
If you are accused of committing a crime, it is imperative that you find the right legal representative, whether you are guilty or not. This article will show you how to find the best criminal lawyer in three easy steps.
Step 1: Determine if You Need a Criminal Lawyer
The first step to finding the right criminal defence lawyer is determining whether you need one in the first place. On first glance, being charged with a lessor crime in Australia such as a summary offence or minor traffic offence may not seem worth hiring a criminal lawyer. Even if a minor traffic violation could result in only a fine and loss of driver’s licence you may need to hire a criminal lawyer to help you avoid the loss of demerit points to save your driver’s licence. It may be worth the time and money.
Even if you know you will be found guilty of committing a crime, a criminal lawyer can represent you during plea negotiations and help to get your charges or sentencing reduced. For example, in NSW, if you are found guilty of possession of a prohibited drug under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, you could get a $2200 fine, imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both. However, for manufacturing or supplying a prohibited drug, the maximum penalty can be (depending on the amount of drug manufactured or supplied) a $550,000 fine, life imprisonment, or both. It is important that you hire a good criminal lawyer to avoid the harsher penalty that may apply to that particular charge.
This is why it is so important to have someone who is knowledgeable about the law to argue on your behalf.
Step 2: Know What a Criminal Lawyer Does
The criminal justice process in Australia is very complex. Although the average person has the right to represent him or herself during a criminal trial proceeding, he or she does not usually have the knowledge or experience to effectively defend him or herself in court.
Criminal lawyers are highly trained legal representatives who know the criminal justice system and can tell you what your legal rights are. An experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer also knows the Judges and Magistrates well, and understands how different courts prefer things to be done. They are also able to clearly explain the criminal charges against you and the possible consequences you may face. It is their job to do the best they can to help defend your rights.
People often think that the lawyer’s main job is defending them in court. However, a good criminal lawyer can also help you during the pre-trial process or even in some circumstances before charges have even been laid. In many circumstances, a skilled criminal lawyer can communicate with police and help you avoid criminal charges during the Police investigation process.
Step 3: How to Find a Good Criminal Defence Lawyer
There’s nothing worse than feeling obliged to use your brother-in-law’s friend Bob who is a lawyer for a serious drug offence.
Without experience with the legal system, it is hard to know what to look for or how to find a good criminal lawyer in Australia. One of the best ways to source out any type of professional service is through personal/professional referrals from past clients. Criminal lawyers with good reputations are often sought out and referred to by others.
Having a good reputation also means that they will be recommended by other people in the legal community. So if you had a divorce or real estate lawyer, they may be a good person to go to when you need to find a criminal defence lawyer.
What type of degree does the potential criminal lawyer have and from what college or law school? Has this lawyer taught any courses or CLE programs? Do they regularly publish legal articles? Teaching and publishing shows that your lawyer has good standing in the legal community. It also shows his or her commitment to good law practices.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a criminal defence lawyer is his or her prior experience in cases similar to yours.
Criminal defence lawyers usually specialise in specific areas such as assault charges, drug offences, robbery or manslaughter. Each area requires its own specific knowledge and expertise, therefore it may be worthwhile to ask how many related cases the prospective criminal defence lawyer has handled in the last few years of his or her practice.
Along with experience, don’t forget to find out what the lawyer’s track record is like. A criminal lawyer may have gone to court for the past 20 years, but if they haven’t won many cases that could mean the difference between getting off on a technicality or getting more time in jail.
It will take some time and research to find a good criminal defence lawyer but it may result in a better outcome for you in the long run, especially when facing a criminal charge in Sydney courts.
Call LY Lawyers on 1300 595 299 for an obligation free consultation regarding your criminal charges. All of our Criminal Defence Lawyers are highly experienced all all areas criminal law and all types of criminal charges.