Criminal law is a challenging, diverse and constantly evolving field. Unfortunately, only a few members of the population are aware of this or even know what criminal law is all about. Due to this, they find it difficult to look for an excellent criminal lawyer when charged with a crime and required to appear in court.
To give you an idea about criminal law, here are some basic concepts that you should know.
What Is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is a branch of law that defines criminal offences. It is used to regulate apprehensions, the filing of charges and the trials of suspects. Also, it fixes the penalties and the modes of treatment for convicted offenders. Criminal law is one of the devices that civilised societies use to protect each member’s interests and ensure the group’s survival.
What Are The Functions Of Criminal Law?
Criminal law plays various roles and provides many benefits to society. However, the most common of these are the following.
Criminal law provides predictability that allows people to differentiate the right things to do from those they should not. It also helps people know what to expect from other group members. Without criminal law, societies will surely experience uncertainty and chaos.
Protects Individuals And Properties
Criminal law protects the members of societies from lawless criminals that might inflict physical harm or take their properties. This is the reason why criminal laws are intended to punish thieves and those who hurt others.
Criminal law provides an orderly and peaceful means of resolving disputes between warring parties. The law does this by setting rules that citizens should follow when dealing with others.
Safeguards Civil Liberties
Criminal law is created to protect an individual’s rights. It provides punishments and sanctions to those who will take advantage of other people’s weaknesses. Thus, it deters potential wrongdoings and ensures that the society members can freely exercise their rights.
What Is A Criminal Lawyer?
A criminal lawyer specialises in criminal law and represents people facing criminal offence charges. Their primary role is to protect the rights of the person they represent. Criminal lawyers must possess a law degree and complete the Practical Legal Training (PLT) to do this.
Generally, there are two types of criminal lawyers: the prosecution and the criminal defence lawyer. A prosecution lawyer represents the state and the police to prosecute individuals charged with crimes. A criminal defence lawyer represents persons accused of criminal offences to protect their rights.
What Are The Roles Of A Criminal Lawyer?
Criminal lawyers perform the following roles:
- Analyse the evidence the police have against the accused
- Highlight any reliability and credibility issues of the evidence
- Prevent the police from using unreliable evidence against the accused
- Investigate the case
- Search and interview witnesses
- Build a defence and come up with a case strategy
- Negotiate plea bargains with the prosecution to lessen charges
- Draft and file motions, such as the motion to suppress or motion to dismiss
- Argue, draft and file appeals.
Aside from these roles provided, the following are also included in the criminal lawyers’ scope of practice.
- Plea bargains
- Bail bond hearings
- Post-conviction remedies
- Hearings for the revocation of paroles or probations
How To Become A Criminal Lawyer?
Although being a criminal lawyer is a popular profession in Australia, it is not for everyone. To become one, a person should comply with the following requirement.
- Complete an undergraduate or postgraduate Juris Doctor (JD) course from an accredited university law school.
- Complete a legal practice graduate diploma from the College of Law.
- Complete the PLT portion as a prerequisite for admission into the practice.
- Be formally sworn by the Supreme Court as a lawyer by attending the admission ceremony. This serves as a requirement to be allowed to practice as a lawyer. Also, this allows a sworn lawyer to appear in court and advise clients with supervision from a principal lawyer. The latter is needed for new lawyers to attain the unrestricted practising certificate to practise their profession independently and without any supervision.
What Are The Characteristics Of An Excellent Lawyer?
Not all criminal lawyers are the same. Most of them are viewed as way better than the others because they possess the following characteristics.
- Highly assertive
- Highly creative
- Very Responsive
Many criminal lawyers are also successful in establishing an excellent reputation in the industry by providing their clients with the best service. This means that they have exerted much effort and remained committed to helping their clients get acquitted of the criminal offences the police have charged them with.
Although criminal law is not much of a concern to many individuals, it is strongly advised to learn some of its essential aspects. Doing this could allow you to deal with other people without worrying about violating their rights and being criminally charged. Having sufficient knowledge as to how criminal law works could also prepare you for situations that might require you to appear in court.