No Picture
General Article

Better Sentences With a Top Criminal Defence Lawyer

Better Sentences With a Top Criminal Defence Lawyer

A defendant who pleads guilty or is handed a guilty verdict after trial will be sentenced or punished according to the penalties fixed by applicable criminal law. If both sides had previously entered into a plea bargain agreement, the judge may impose punishment based on its terms or take into account other factors before fixing the defendant’s sentence.

Negotiating a plea bargain and presenting favourable circumstances in evidence are effective sentencing strategies by a criminal defence lawyer. Melbourne judges may choose from several sentencing options to promote rehabilitation of the offender while reducing the strain of overcrowded jails.

Purpose of sentencing

The objectives of sentencing are the following:

to ensure that the offender is adequately punished for the offence

to prevent crime by deterring would-be offenders from committing the same act

to protect the community from the offender

to promote rehabilitation of the offender

Sentencing options

Courts may impose any of the following sentences on guilty offenders:

dismissal and conditional discharge


deferred sentence

payment of a fine

community service

periodic detention

suspended sentence

full-time custodial imprisonment

Sentencing options for young offenders are different and are likely to be less severe because its primary aim is to rehabilitate the offender before reintegrating the young offender into society.

Sentencing factors

The following factors may help persuade a judge to grant a more favourable sentence:

the demeanor, statements and cooperation of defendant during trial

presence of mitigating circumstances which reduce responsibility of the defendant as perpetrator of the crime

past criminal history

mindset and intention of the offender while committing the crime

extent of damage as a result of the crime such as personal injuries, property damages, expenses and personal costs

absence of treachery, cruelty or premeditation in the commission of the crime

Sentencing may take place immediately after a guilty verdict in misdemeanor cases or after a few days or weeks in felony cases and those that may carry long incarceration periods.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge may allow allocution statements to be made by persons for the defendant.

These and other factors like detention time already served, good behaviour between the time of conviction and sentencing, and statements made by the offender in pre-sentencing reports are some of the matters that may be used to obtain a favourable sentence with the assistance of your criminal lawyer Melbourne. Courts are limited in their sentencing options to ensure that not only is a crime adequately punished but more importantly, that an offender is not punished excessively.…

No Picture
General Article

A Comparison of England’s Criminal Court System With the United States

A Comparison of England’s Criminal Court System With the United States

Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to London, England to observe their criminal court system for a week. This trip was put together by the California State Bar Association. As a criminal defense attorney practicing in America, it was a wonderful experience to observe three or four different English criminal courts. After several hours of observation, our group had an opportunity to visit with the judge and lawyers from that session. Below find a comparison between the two systems.

1. What standard of proof is required before a formal charge is issued to a citizen?

Very similar to the United States, the English standard for the issuance of a formal charge is “reasonable suspicion” that a crime or criminal offense has occurred.

2. Generally speaking, how is a formal charging document issued?

Again, in a procedure very similar to the United States, the police and/or the Crown’s Prosecution Service are the ones who draw up and issue a formal charging document.

3. Does a defendant have the right to an attorney?

In both countries, yes.

4. When is a defendant advised of their right to an attorney, and at what stage of the proceedings is an attorney available to them?

An English citizen is advised upon their arrest and prior to being questioned by police that they have the right to an attorney. Basically, this procedure is virtually identical to the procedure in the United States as to a “Miranda” warning.

5. Does a defendant in England have the right to examine the prosecution’s case file (reports, witness statements, forensic examination results, etcetera)?

Yes, and well in advance of trial.

6. Does a defendant in England have the right to a jury trial?

Yes, but not as liberally as in the United States. For a first offense, the maximum penalty that an English citizen needs to be facing must be at least six (6) months in prison before they are entitled to a jury trial. For a second offense, at least twelve (12) months in prison. Generally speaking, all misdemeanor and 30-day type offenses (such as misdemeanor DUI, etcetera), does not afford or offer the defendant the right to a jury trial. All of these type offenses are handled as bench trials before the judge.

7. Is a defendant in England presumed innocent during the course of the proceedings?


8. What is the general makeup and conduct of a jury trial in England?

Generally, the jury is made up of twelve (12) members; however, during the course of the trial the number of active jurors can actually go down to nine (9) and the case will continue until a verdict is rendered. English law allows a 10-2 or otherwise “super majority” verdict, a unanimous verdict is not required. By contrast, most criminal courts in the United States require a unanimous verdict.

9. Does the defendant have the right to an appeal?

Yes, but only upon an alleged error of law.

Some interesting information about appellate courts in England: Previously, all criminal appeals were referred to a specific subcommittee of the “House of Lords” for a decision. Only recently have specific appellate courts been created to handle criminal appeals. An appellate court does not have the ability to strike down or nullify a law, they can only interpret a law or make a recommendation to the Parliament that a law be rewritten. The highest appellate court in England hears appeals for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in both civil and criminal matters. Scotland has retained their own appellate court for criminal appeals. The “Privy Council” is the final appellate court available to all British republics (example: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, etcetera). The “privy council” is made up of the same judges that comprise the appellate courts. The English appellate courts very rarely sit “en banc.” Depending upon the perceived importance of the matter to the general public, panels of either five (5), seven (7) or nine (9) judges will hear oral arguments and decide the case. For the most part it is a panel of three judges who hear and decide the cases. Average oral argument is around eight (8) hours per party.

10. What is the standard of proof required for a conviction in criminal court?

“Sure” is the current standard in England. Formerly it was “beyond a reasonable doubt” (as is the standard in America); but it was recently changed to “sure.”

Some generally interesting points of the English criminal judicial system are:

“Prior bad acts/prior convictions are admissible as proof to the current offense charged (example: an English defendant on trial for shoplifting second offense would have the first shoplifting conviction announced or published to the jury)

The English judiciary embraces the concept of …

No Picture
General Article

Reasons to Hire a Criminal Attorney

Reasons to Hire a Criminal Attorney

Being arrested for a crime in Florida can be intimidating and disheartening. When the accused person is innocent, the idea of facing criminal charges is especially frightening. Under Florida law, a lawyer will be appointed for a person if they cannot afford one. Another option is to represent oneself. Common sense, however, usually suggests that the defendant should hire a criminal defense attorney in Florida. There are several reasons for this. Here are just a few.


The State’s laws are very particular. Self-representation should not be attempted by anyone who does not have a full understanding of the Florida Statutes. They explain the process and requirements. Some defendants to attempt self-representation do not realize that a judge cannot and will not give them any legal advice. This includes potential moments when the defendant is missing important information from the prosecution because they simply did not ask for it. No one advises them when they may be able to have their case dismissed entirely due to mishandled evidence or improper procedure. Arguments and evidence must be presented a certain way in the Florida court system. This is why attorneys must pass the Florida Bar exam before they are given the privilege and right to practice law in the Sunshine State.


The private lawyer will take the time to explain what happens when the defendant takes a plea bargain or is convicted of a crime. Some of the events that take place simply upon conviction may not be obvious to a defendant representing themselves. A public defender may not have the time or inclination to go through all scenarios and stipulations involved.


Some lawyers are more experienced in certain types of matters than others. For example, a bankruptcy attorney may be able to handle a murder case, but a criminal defense lawyer would probably do a better job. When choosing an attorney, one should seek out a lawyer with experience and expertise with the types of charges involved in the case. A DUI attorney, for example, is better suited to handling a driving under the influence case than someone who has never approached one before. DUI attorneys understand the importance of requesting and attending the administrative hearing. Most inexperienced counsel may not understand that it is an important step to reduced sentencing or having driving privileges restored. As a result, retaining a Florida criminal lawyer with appropriate experience is crucial.


Lawyers in the Florida Public Defender’s Offices are well-known to have higher caseloads than private attorneys. This gives the public defender less time to investigate the accusations, conduct interviews, prepare witnesses, file paperwork and organize a defense. A private Florida criminal defense lawyer is able to spend more time on each individual case. They can meet all potential witnesses, learn about important details and discover any pertinent evidence that might otherwise slip through the cracks.…

No Picture
General Article

Are the Police Wanting to Search You or Your Property?

Are the Police Wanting to Search You or Your Property?

People often under estimate the investigative powers of the Queensland Police Force or in fact, police forces generally state or commonwealth.

But remember this,Police don’t have the right to search you or your property unless you consent to the search, they have a search warrant, or a law specifically gives them that right. For example, the Corrective Services Act in Queensland provides such a right to officers and their interaction with certain people.

However, police do have the power to search you without a warrant should they believe you are carrying a weapon, stolen property, drugs, tools to commission an offence or something that may harm yourself or another.

They are very broad powers.

But when responding to a request by the Police to conduct a search, you have the right to ask them why they want to search you. It’s important you remember their response, because it may prove to be useful information for your lawyer in the future. If it helps, write their response down.

The other thing you need to remember in all your dealings with Police, is that the Police record everything, be it through audio or video. These recordings may well form a part of their evidence against you. So, you’re always best to be polite and say nothing. While you may be frustrated that the Police wish to conduct a search, the lawfulness of that search is best left to your lawyer to consider, rather than you becoming upset and acting in a way that you may later regret.

This is legal information relating to Queensland, Australia only. It is not legal advice. Such advice can only come from a lawyer who understands the specific circumstances of your matter. This information is current at October 2010.…

No Picture
General Article

A Criminal Law Attorney Is a Defendant’s Best Friend

A Criminal Law Attorney Is a Defendant’s Best Friend

Although everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, some people just refuse to think this way. In their eyes, anyone who is charged with a crime is guilty until proven innocent. This is especially true if someone is being accused of a crime such as murder or rape. Many times, when someone has been charged with these types of crimes, people automatically call for them to either be executed or spend the rest of their lives in prison. Although this may be the correct way to handle the situation in some cases, there have also been a number of times that people have been falsely accused, falsely convicted, falsely sentenced and falsely punished. The sad thing is, many times these mistakes can be attributed to people with the aforementioned mindset. The good news is, people who are being charged with criminal activity, no matter how big or small, don’t have to defend themselves alone. They can solicit the help of a criminal law attorney.

These professionals are skilled in defending and advocating for those who have been accused. Their role is extremely vital to a defendant, especially one who is being charged wrongly. There have been many reported cases of people being wrongly convicted or even wrongly executed. Being accused of something you didn’t do on a day to day basis seems bad enough. Just imagine sitting in jail or being on death row for something you honestly did not do. The sad thing is it happens all of the time. There are even people going through this type of situation right now.

Although having a criminal law attorney isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that a falsely accused person will walk away free, they will definitely have a better chance of getting a fair trial. When someone who is being accused of a harsh crime is sitting in front of a jury they are already at a disadvantage. Everyone wants to believe that the jury is 100 percent objective. However, this is difficult for anyone to truly do. Everyone has had experiences that have shaped their way of thinking. Therefore, at least one person in the jury may have a bias against the defendant, even if it’s just a slight one. So, in some cases they would have to work extra hard to convince the court that they are innocent.

Having a highly-skilled criminal law attorney by their side, will give them the best opportunity to prove their innocence and walk away free. Without them, the defendant would be putting themselves at a great disadvantage. It’s not enough to truly be innocent. However, you must also be able to prove this innocence to others.…

No Picture
General Article

The Benefits Of Having A Criminal Lawyer

The Benefits Of Having A Criminal Lawyer

Being involved in a criminal case can be really scary but when you have a great criminal lawyer with you, you become more confident and at ease. That is why it’s important that you hire one that possesses all the following attributes.

One of the best indications of a good criminal lawyer is experience. It’s a big no-no for you to hire someone who’s just starting out in criminal law. Lawyers only become truly good at their craft when they are able to handle quite a number of cases. The experience would greatly teach them how to act in court and how to handle a criminal case the best way possible.

Next, you need to check if the criminal lawyer has been able to establish himself or herself well. This means that he or she should be highly recommended by his or her past client because they were satisfied with his or her service and work.

Another important quality is tenacity. A lawyer with tenacity is someone who would not lose hope in finding ways to win a case. He or she would exhaust every single possible way to win the case for you. He or she would not settle until there is no longer a way for him or her to win your case.

Courage is also a quality that the lawyer must possess. Your lawyer would be the one who’ll represent you in court so you need him or her to be able to fight for you. That way, you will be represented well in the trial and you have a better chance of winning.

Location is also important when choosing the lawyer. Criminal lawyers charge a bigger fee especially when they are located in another place. To be able to save money, it is therefore best to just get the lawyer around your place.

Finally, you would need to get a criminal lawyer that you can pay for. That’s why you need to ask a lawyer how much his or her fee is before you hire him or her. There are lawyers who charge for their services per hour and there are those who would not ask for any payments up until the case is won. You have to be knowledgeable about this so you can prepare your finances for it.

To help you out, lawyers that possess all these attributes mentioned above are the criminal lawyer Florida and the foreclosure lawyer Florida.…

No Picture
General Article

Personal Injury Lawyer May Offer Initial, Free Consultation

Personal Injury Lawyer May Offer Initial, Free Consultation

An accident, or personal injury lawyer, is a specialized practitioner in the area of tort law. This field of civil law specifies that when a person is injured or harmed through the wrongdoing or negligence of another person, then they are eligible to be compensated for their injury. The compensation can include an element for the injury itself, and elements for any costs incurred, such as medical bills and money lost due to time off work. Accident attorneys would normally recommend that the victim of any accident should contact them as soon as possible after the accident, after of course obtaining any medical treatment which may be necessary.

Tort law allows compensation to be paid to the victim of an accident which is the fault of another person, whether that is due to wrongdoing or carelessness. Note that in some cases the wrongdoing may be a breach of criminal law as well (for example driving under the influence of alcohol). In this case the police and criminal courts may also be involved, but that does not reduce the victim’s right to pursue compensation in civil court.

The compensation which may be awarded for an injury can vary from country to country, or from state to state within a country. However, in general though may be an amount awarded for the injury itself, and additional elements for any financial loss suffered due to the injury. Financial loss could include costs such as medical expenses, and loss of wages due to being unable to work. Both previous and future financial losses would be considered.

Accident attorneys would normally recommend that the victim of an accident should contact their lawyer as soon as practically possible after the accident. They should of course obtain any necessary medical treatment first.

Other useful advice from accident attorneys includes collecting as much evidence as possible. It can be a good idea to take some photos of the scene of the accident, and to take details, such as the names and addresses of any witnesses.

Also keep a log of everything that has happened since the accident, such as the dates of medical appointments and any time taken off work due to the injury. Keep receipts and details of any costs incurred, such as medical bills, rental cars etc.

Personal injury lawyers would normally advise their clients not to make any statements, or admissions, to the other parties involved or to their insurance company or lawyers, without first discussing it with their own attorney.

Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency, or no win no fee basis. Quite a few will offer an initial consultation free of charge. This will assess the accident victims case, and will give the attorney a chance to explain his fees. In some countries the lawyer operating on contingency will take a percentage cut from any damages which are awarded. This may often be between 30 and 40% of the total award. In other countries the lawyers fees may be awarded against the defendant in the case, in which case the claimant will get to keep 100% of the damages awarded.…