If you're facing a judge for the first time, you might assume that you can easily argue your own case or that you'll automatically have charges against you dropped since it's your first offense. This thinking is very shortsighted and can mean facing hefty fines, a long criminal record, and even jail time. No matter the offense for which you've been charged, and even if it's your first charge, it's always recommended that you at least consult with solicitors for your case. Consider why that is and how they can help to protect you in court.
1. Solicitors can argue for alternative sentencing
Alternative sentencing means a punishment other than jail time. This is very important because even first-time offenders can face jail; don't assume that a judge will automatically be lenient with you because it's your first time in court.
If you do face jail time, a good solicitor can argue for an alternative. This might include community service, a fine, time in a halfway house, and the like. The prosecuting attorney is more likely to work with a solicitor to agree to these things, and you may not even know about alternative sentencing available to you.
2. Solicitors can argue to have the charges against you reduced
You may not be able to have charges against you dropped altogether; this, too, is a common misconception for first-time offenders. However, your solicitor may be able to get them reduced. This in turn can mean a lighter sentence, and reduced charges will look better on your criminal record. If you were charged with possession of a small amount of drugs, a solicitor might argue to have the charges dropped to smoking in a public establishment, loitering, or criminal mischief. All of these will look better to future employers when they check your criminal record before hiring you.
3. Solicitors can ask to have your record expunged after so much time
In some cases, you may be able to use the fact that you're a first-time offender to have your record expunged after so much time. This might be after your probation is completed or your complete community service. Having your record expunged means that future employers and lenders won't be able to see any criminal history about you at all. A solicitor is probably better at asking for this to be done than you will be and will know when it can be applied for a particular case or charge. This too is another reason to have them represent you even for a first-time offense.
For more information, contact a business such as Woodgate Lawyers.Share
23 February 2015
I love reading novels that involve complex legal cases. I particularly enjoy those that are told from the defendant's viewpoint, but any well-written legal fiction will capture my imagination. My interest comes from being a court stenographer when I was much younger and seeing the dramas in real-life! Nothing irritates me more than a novel which includes legal fallacies. Fiction or not, I am a stickler for accuracy. I like to do research and check if a court case in one of my novels could play out in real life. It has become quite a hobby and I spend a lot of time in the law section of my university's library. I'm sure there are other people who are interested in the law for various reasons and I would like to share some of the knowledge I've gained. I hope you find my blog fascinating and worthwhile.