The complexity of legal issues requires that those facing prosecution employ the assistance and acumen of a trained solicitor and qualified barrister when required to appear in court. In many situations, it can be nearly impossible to navigate the proper procedure and court system without specific training and education. The rules regarding timing and filing are reason enough to seek guidance.
Seek Legal Counsel Early
The threat or commencement of criminal prosecution is not something to be disregarded or belittled. When things go awry or wrong in life, there is an inclination to ignore the problem and hope it goes away, but criminal charges will not disappear. To do nothing in the face of criminal prosecution is to risk your very freedom. Eventually, a court date will be set and a sentence handed down. Do not wait until this unavoidable moment to consider legal counsel, as it will be far too late.
The earlier a solicitor is involved in your defence, the better. It is possible that a solicitor or barrister can take action early on in the case to prevent an unfortunate outcome, or alternatively, raise defences based on technicalities and proper procedure. Overall, the earlier a lawyer or solicitor knows the facts of a case, the more time he or she will have to prepare arguments and brief for court. The earlier a solicitor is contacted, the better defence and representation you will receive.
Look for Legal Counsel Locally
When looking for legal counsel, it is important to select a solicitor or lawyer familiar with the local law and court system. For instance, if the action is before a Magistrate Court of Victoria, it is best to contact criminal lawyers in Melbourne or nearby areas. A solicitor familiar with a given court and its judges can provide better advice and guidance. It will also benefit the barrister appearing on your behalf on the court date.
Be Open and Honest with Counsel
A frank and honest conversation with a lawyer is helpful for your defence. A lawyer should know all the facts of a case in order to understand the likely outcome. There is no benefit in keeping pertinent information or unflattering facts from your solicitor. The information is likely to be brought before the court by the opposition, and it is impossible to know what information will help a solicitor prepare the best defence. A criminal lawyer will be nonjudgmental and rational regarding the information you provide.
In most instances, the conversations between you and your lawyer are protected under legal professional privilege. However, this is not an absolute privilege, and a solicitor should clarify the limits and applications of this privilege.
Gain Some Peace of Mind
Whether you were in the right or wrong in the events leading to a criminal charge, there is a great deal of stress that comes from the process. Instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf and engaging a barrister to represent you in court can eliminate some of the anxiety.