When Do You Need a Criminal Lawyer?

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People oftentimes find themselves in unpleasant situations. Sometimes, you have to think carefully about whether you want to handle the situation on your own or ask for help from someone with the required expertise on the matter. Being charged with a criminal offence is one of these situations. Minor violations often result in penalties and fines, which can be handled without a lawyer – although, having a lawyer could mean getting a better deal.  

However, criminal charges should never be taken lightly. After all, whether you’re guilty or not, having a criminal record can negatively affect your personal life. For instance, a criminal record can impede your job interviews, loan approvals and even rental applications. That’s why you should always consider having a solicitor by your side when dealing with criminal offenses. Here are a few situations which call for a criminal lawyer.

Traffic violations:

Criminal offenses that involve traffic violations require the presence of a criminal lawyer. The main reason is that penalties can be anything from paying a fine and getting your vehicle confiscated to jail time. A good example of traffic violation is “Hooning” in Queensland.

Put simply, hooning is word used to describe antisocial behavior in a motor vehicle. In Queensland, the violations are classified as Type 1 and Type 2 hooning offenses and can result in a 20-penalty-point fine for minor offenses, such as playing loud music in your vehicle to 6 months in jail for more serious offenses, such as reckless driving or street racing.

Larceny:

Australia, in most ways, bases its criminal law on the English common law. If you’re charged with larceny in territories that haven’t codified their criminal law, such as New South Wales, you will need to hire a lawyer. The main reason is that Crimes Act 1990 in NSW under section 117 states that:

Punishment for larceny – Whosoever commits larceny, or any indictable offence by this Act made punishable like larceny, shall, except in the cases hereinafter otherwise provided for, be liable to imprisonment for five years“.

However, larceny isn’t defined neither in this section nor in the rest of the Act. Instead, larceny is defined by the common law. Therefore, if you don’t want to spend 5 years in jail for a petty theft, you should consider consulting experts from a criminal law firm in Sydney.

Assault:

If you’re facing assault charges, you’ll definitely need a lawyer, especially since moving, touching or pushing someone is considered an assault. Even a minor tussle with someone at the bar is classified as a common assault and may result in 7 years in jail.

More importantly, you don’t even have to touch anyone to be charged with assault – threatening someone when angry is classified as common assault as well. Depending on the seriousness of the charges, you may be facing different penalties. It’s a good idea to bring a lawyer on such cases or you may end up in jail for yelling at someone.

Evading the transport fare:

This may sound silly to you, but people of Australia, especially Queensland, take transport fares seriously. Penalties for evading public transportation fares, such as taxi, bus, train, ferry and others can range from fines and having to appear in court to being jailed for 6 months.

If you fail to pay the fare, avoid paying the fare or if you don’t pay the fare in full, you’ll be charged. That’s why you should hire a lawyer to aid you in a court hearing or to help you stay away from jail for skipping a bus ticket.

Minor criminal cases can be handled without a lawyer and they usually don’t include jail time. However, depending on the charges made against you and the seriousness of the crime, having a lawyer by your side might be a good idea. After all, if you can get a better deal on your verdict with a help of a professional, you should bring one along.

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