Do I really need to seek legal advice?
Legal advice should be your first point of call when preparing for court. It is important to show the court that you are taking your matter seriously and by being legally represented, you are demonstrating that you understand the severity of the charge.
It is also good to get an idea of what outcome you could be facing if you are found guilty of your offence. Are you looking at a term of imprisonment? A suspended sentence? Maybe even a community service order? It is best to have a realistic view of your matter from a criminal lawyer Sydney.
Is there anything I could be doing to help my chances of receiving a lighter sentence?
Your lawyer may be able to suggest rehabilitative programs or measures you could take to make yourself appear better before the court. The court likes to see both remorse and rehabilitation from criminal behaviour. Services such as Relationships Australia, Catholic Care, Beyond Blue, etc, are designed to aid people through mental, physical and educational means. Examples of this may include:
- Drug and alcohol counselling;
- Anger management programs;
- Family violence counselling;
- Parenting or separation courses;
- Skill development and education to heighten employment opportunities; etc.
Anything you can do to appeal your character before the court is inevitably going to help you when it comes to sentencing.
Should I have character references to speak on my behalf?
Depending on what offence you are alleged to have committed then having character references or letters of reference can be helpful to your case.
For example, if you were applying for a restricted driver’s licence, you would most certainly need a letter from your employer which relays that you will have your employment terminated in the event you do not have a licence. Similarly, if your job requires a working with vulnerable persons card then a letter from your employer would be necessary in these circumstances.
If you have committed a low range offence for the first time, references which speak to this being out of character could also be beneficial to you however, this is something your lawyer could better advise you on.
Is presentation in court important?
The short answer is yes! When you attend court, presentation is important because of the seriousness of the situation. The court deserves a level of respect that many people do not give it.
It is important to consider the impression you want to make when appearing in court. Neat, respectful clothing is a good start. You do not necessarily need to go as formal as wearing a suit (though it is a good option), but you should stay away from low cut, offensive clothing. T-shirts or jackets with slang, swear words or slogans should be avoided and hats and sunglasses should not be worn inside the building.
People usually think that this type of presentation is not important but it could not be further from the truth. It is always going to be human nature to make some sort of character determination based on first impressions and when your freedom is hanging in the balance, first impressions are everything.