Being charged with a crime should not be taken lightly. The commission of an offence is punishable with penalties that include fines and imprisonment. Criminal laws are complex and, if you are in Sydney, are best left to a criminal lawyer Sydney based, one who possesses the appropriate education and experience to defend you in court.
Defences in criminal law
Anyone charged with an offence is entitled to raise all possible legal defences he may have in his favour to avoid or reduce penalties. Your defence strategy includes hiring a criminal lawyer who has a good grasp of the rules of criminal procedure and the defences available under the criminal code.
Some of the defences against criminal responsibility include self defence, insanity and the exercise of a lawful authority or order. Your lawyer should be able to determine whether any of these defences exist in your favour, when to invoke them, and how to establish these defences in court.
Some principles of criminal law
While criminal laws in Australia are administered by individual jurisdictions across the country, the same basic principles apply regardless of where you have been charged. These principles include:
Presumption of Innocence
Anyone who is charged with the commission of an offence is considered innocent until the prosecution is able to prove that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The slightest doubt that the accused has committed the offence charged will result in his acquittal or finding of “not guilty. ”
Moreover, it is the prosecution’s duty to present enough evidence before the judge or jury to prove the guilt of the accused in what is known as the burden of proof.
In some cases, when the lawyer of the accused feels that the evidence presented by the prosecution is not strong enough to lead to a conviction, he may choose not to present any evidence on behalf of his client and let the judge or jury decide the case on the basis of the prosecution’s lack of evidence. No two cases are exactly alike and your criminal lawyer should be able to devise a defence strategy after making a careful assessment of the facts of your case.
Every person who is charged with a crime has a right not to be prosecuted twice for the same act or offence. This is also known as the rule against double jeopardy. Double jeopardy exists when a person is charged again for an act or offence that he had already been acquitted or convicted of.
Most people are unaware of this basic principle so that a good criminal lawyer should not only be able to represent you in court but more importantly, he should be able to ensure that you are not being tried or are in danger of being punished twice for the same offence.