Every day in Western Australia, hundreds of sentences are handed down to people who have been convicted of criminal offences.
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Trials take place every single day, some lasting a few hours whilst others spanning over several months. Trials are an essential and important part of our justice system and it is imperative that each accused person is given a fair trial.
We have often found that when speaking to those who have been charged with a criminal offence, or assisting someone else who has, they almost always feel the same way: overwhelmed and anxious. Whether it be the thought of imprisonment, the impact of job security, the worry of friends and family finding out about the allegations, or simply the added stress of dealing with the justice system at what may already be a difficult time, most people are terrified at the thought of being charged with an Offence. At a time when clients often feel vulnerable and confused about what to do next, getting advice about the process and what options are available is crucial to providing certainty moving forward.
Yes. Not always, easily or immediately, but yes.
Client’s will often ask whether their charges can be ‘dropped’ and if so, when and how. In answering these questions, it is helpful to have an understanding of what it means to have charges dropped. Charges are ‘dropped’ when the prosecution make an application to the Court to have the charges discontinued. This will happen before the charges are formally determined at a trial by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury.
Depending on the type of allegation police are investigating, they will usually conduct enquiries with a number of different sources. Sometimes they will rely heavily on witnesses such as police officers, complainants, eye-witnesses and experts; whilst other times they will need to analyse physical materials such as CCTV footage and forensic reports.
When speaking to a client for the first time about their charges, there are often a few questions nearly all clients ask. The most common one is usually ‘what am I looking at?’ Even for clients who intend to plead not guilty to their charges, most clients want to know what the outcome is likely to be if they are found guilty.
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