Australians rarely think about criminal defence attorneys when accused of a crime. They know for example, that Legal Aid is often there to help sort out criminal matters. And while they can be quite good, they are often overtaxed with caseloads, and so if you are accused of a crime, it’s generally better to get a private defence team on your side, like criminal defence lawyers Sydney.
One of the first matters that often comes up is bail. Once apprehended by the police, the police can book you and then let you go on the promise that you will show up in court, or allow you out on bail, in which case you always have to show up in court, but other restrictions may apply.
If the police do not want to grant you bail, they will take you to court the next working day of the court. So you could spend 24-hours or more in jail, depending upon the hours of the court.
When you go to court, you can officially apply for bail, however, if you already had a defence lawyer already represent you at the police station, you generally cannot request bail again unless the circumstances significantly change, so an attorney will generally recommend that you be cautious about when you apply for bail, and under what circumstances you can present to prove you deserve it.
Another thing defence lawyers can do for you if circumstances warrant is filing a section 32 application. Under section 32, people who are mentally incapacitated, or cognitively impaired, a magistrate may release a person accused of certain crimes without a conviction, and generally out of the courts.
In order to get this done, a magistrate must see a definite treatment plan which you must follow to the letter, otherwise, the matter will be returned to the courts.
Another function of defence attorneys besides representing defendants in a guilty or not guilty defence, is in making an application for section 10 releases.
Under section 10, a magistrate may find a defendant sufficiently guilt to have done the crime, but the magistrate may decide under section 10 not to officially charge you guilty with the defence.
Generally, these must be minor crimes, and there should be mitigating circumstances, such as you did the crime out of fear that a loved one may be hurt, but defence attorneys are always on the lookout for section 10 circumstances.
Finally, defence attorneys are good at mitigating guilty pleas and obtaining less than fully prescribed sentences such as prison.
There may be a question for example, of whether you believed that you were the lawful owner of a property in a burglary case, or you may be charged with breaking, entry and stealing when all you did was break and enter.
Alternatives to prison can include a suspended sentence, a good behavior bond, or a home detention order. There are frequently alternatives, and defence attorneys are aware of all of them.