Choosing a Criminal Defence Lawyer to represent you or your loved one is a significant decision to make. Not only are you trusting your lawyer to give you the best legal advice, you are also trusting them to make the best decisions in your case, to stay on top of developments in the law that might affect you and also to provide you with the support that you need during a very difficult time in your life.

The following are 5 things to consider before choosing a Criminal Defence Lawyer:

 1. What systems do they have in place?  

Effective representation starts with proper and effective systems. From the moment you approach a criminal defence lawyer, you want to ensure that they are accessible and organised. Do they have the best technology available to, for example, share your Brief of Evidence with you, operate virtual meetings and to securely communicate with you in relation to your matter?  At Galbally Parker Lawyers, we have systems in place for onboarding new clients, via our Initial Client Consultation process, and for the management of their file through our advanced file management system. We have a secure application whereby clients can communicate with our office and we operate a secure and encrypted file sharing system. We also have the support staff in place to ensure that your matter is dealt with professionally and effectively.

 2. Are they accessible?

Criminal matters can take months, sometimes years, to conclude. From the moment you engage a criminal defence lawyer, you need to be confident that they are accessible to you. If you call them, do they call you back? If they are unavailable, is there someone else in the firm who can assist you in their absence? Do you feel like you are being kept up to date in relation to your matter? Accessibility creates comfort. If your criminal defence lawyer isn’t accessible to you, you may not feel comfortable that your matter is being looked after with the level of attention that you need and deserve.

 3. Are they experienced in criminal defence?

It seems obvious that you would want an experienced criminal defence lawyer to handle your case. However, it isn’t the number of years that they have been practicing that you should enquire about. Rather, how experienced are they in cases such as yours? For example, a criminal defence lawyer may have only been practising for two years, but in that period of time they have appeared predominantly in matters similar to yours. By comparison, a criminal defence lawyer may have practised for twenty years but very rarely appeared in matters similar to yours, because it hasn’t been a focus of their practice. Accordingly, you may prefer to engage a lawyer with two years’ experience over a lawyer who has twenty years of experience, but not in cases such as yours. Many criminal defence lawyers have niche practices focusing on a particular area of law. When choosing a criminal defence lawyer to represent you or your loved one, you want to ensure that they have the experience relevant to your matter so that you can be assured that they are up to date with the law and have the practical knowledge to effectively represent you.

4. Can your criminal defence lawyer explain the law and evidence in a way that you or your loved one understands?

A criminal defence lawyer can advise you in relation to your case. However, it is the client that ultimately needs to make the important decisions and instruct their lawyer. Accordingly, as a client, you need to ensure that the evidence being used against you by the prosecution is explained to you. You need to understand the case that you are to meet. This includes understanding what the evidence means for you in your case. For example, you may need to understand the significance of forensic or scientific evidence and how it may be used in Court. You will also need to have a proper understanding of the law relevant to your case. There may be issues surrounding admissibility of evidence or laws that prevent you from raising a particular defence. All of this needs to be explained to you in a way that you understand so that you can make the important decisions in relation to your matter.

 5. Do you feel supported?

Being accused of a crime, or served with an intervention order, is a uniquely challenging and stressful experience. You may feel alone and embarrassed. The crime alleged may be so serious that, if found guilty, you will spend months or years in prison. It may be devastating to your reputation and future job prospects. The offending alleged may have occurred during a difficult period in your life. It is not uncommon for a person who has never before been charged with a crime, to be prosecuted for offending which occurred in the context of a relationship breakdown, unemployment or drug and alcohol abuse. Sometimes your criminal defence lawyer is the only person who is available to support you during the conduct of your matter. Accordingly, you need to feel that your lawyer is supporting you and your family, practically and emotionally, during your criminal proceedings. It will make all the difference not just to the outcome, but also to your experience in the criminal justice system.

If you are looking for a criminal defence lawyer, or to change lawyers, contact our office and learn more about the level of representation that we can bring to your matter. Our team has experience in a range of different areas of the law, including, but not limited to, organised crime, criminal appeals, assault, murder and manslaughter, drug offences, and customs offfences.