I’ve been charged with committing a criminal offence, what happens next?
Being charged with a criminal offence is a serious matter and no matter how small the charge against you, it should always be taken seriously. There are many facets involved in criminal law proceedings. The general process of what happens next and what you should do is discussed below.
Please note: The information provided in this article is based on the presumption that a charge sheet has been issued and a police interview has occurred. If you have not been issued with a charge sheet or attended a police interview, please read our articles “What is a charge sheet” and “Attending a police interview”.
So, you have been charged with committing a criminal offence and have received your charge sheet, now what?
Make an appointment with a lawyer
Once you have received your charge sheet, the next thing to do is contact us to book an appointment to discuss the charges against you.
What do I bring to the appointment?
You should bring the charge sheet and any other information relevant to your case. Information that may be relevant includes the names and numbers of witnesses, video recordings, police interview DVD and medical reports etc. This information will used to provide you with upfront information about your case.
What happens at the appointment?
During this appointment, we will ask for information about the circumstances in question, your personal, family and working life and prior involvement with police, among other things. It is important to understand that some questions may be very sensitive in nature, so be prepared for such questions.
It is important to understand that our purpose during the first appointment is to assess all relevant information, and in most instances, we will not provide you with official advice. This is because we must dedicate time and resources in ascertaining the strength and weaknesses of your case. This is done by reviewing the charges, conducting research and by other means. Official advice will only be provided if you move forward with our representation.
In any event, any advice that is provided during a first appointment is tentative and subject to change upon assessing all factors relevant to the case.
Which lawyer do I choose?
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, drink/drug driving offences, IVO matters etc. you will need to speak with our criminal lawyer, Grant Baars.
For the following matters:
- conveyancing, property matters such as easement, covenants and adverse possession claims and leasing you need to obtain the services of a property lawyer;
- wills and estates, you need to obtain the services of a wills and estate lawyer;
- family law matters which includes children, property settlements and divorce etc., you need to obtain the services of a family lawyer;
- business sales and purchasers, purchase and sale of shares, franchise agreements and trust, you need to obtain the services of a commercial lawyer; and
- litigation matters including debt recovery, you need to obtain the services of a litigation lawyer.
As you can see from above, there are many different types of lawyers. It must be noted that it is not uncommon for a matter to involve the services of multiple lawyers from different areas of expertise. For example, a party may be involved in family law dispute (family lawyer) and a breach of a Family Violence Intervention Order may have occurred (criminal lawyer becomes involved because a breach of a FVIO is a criminal breach). The parties are going through separation of property and this requires the transfer of the previous martial home (property law) and one of the parties has elected to change their will (wills and estate lawyers).
To facilitate a competitive market, lawyers’ services and fees vary. An estimate of the fees will be provided to you once the scope of your matter has been determined.
The information on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances.
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