June 15, 2018 9:30AM

KC The Atreorgan

Law Practice Talks

About Justice Today

How We Contribute to Your Practice

With the right knowledge.
With abundant experience.
With a penchant for winning.

Schedule

9:30-11AM

Filing reports and legal forms

11-1:30AM

client meetings

1:30-3AM

moot court sessions

3-4:30AM

client meetings

4:30-6AM

session planning

Speakers

Eric Carmen

Partner at MMV

Jennifer Grey

Partner at BOL

Kelly Bishop

Partner at PMA

Neal Jones

Partner at LVR

When do you need criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD?

criminal lawyer in melbourne cbd

Criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD will always be there to help you when you need it. However, one of the big questions that are asked by many people is when they actually need a criminal lawyer in Melbourne CBD. There is often a fine line between the offences that require a solicitor and those that don’t.

It may surprise you some of the offences that it is advised you seek legal advice for but ultimately it is all about putting you in the best position to receive a fair punishment or fine in the wake of committing an offence. Below are the instances where it is advised that you seek a criminal lawyer in Melbourne CBD.

Drink and drug driving offences

This obviously depends on the severity of the offence but for the majority of offences it is going to be extremely beneficial to have a legal professional advising you on your next steps and how to get the best from a bad situation.

For anything above a low range drink driving offence, there is the premise for immediate loss of licence. For many people, their drivers licence is crucial for their ability to either get to work or actually complete their work tasks. Have a criminal lawyer in Melbourne CBD will be able to help you to potentially receive a working driver’s licence that allows you to drive whilst on the job.

In more serious cases involving jail time, it is essential that you have a solicitor with you to work through the best possible scenarios.

Assault offences

The charges for assault vary significantly depending on the seriousness and the intent.  Some offences do carry a minimum jail sentence but others do not. Have criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD will enable you to get the fairest result. In many cases a weaker sentence can be handed down if your solicitor convinces the judge to consider your age, circumstances and your ole in the assault.

Drug offences

Any drug offences will mean that you certainly need criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD. Regardless of the level of the drug charge, all offences are serious and will lead to a court appearance. This is where having criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD with you will help to provide the evidence and present a reasonable case as to your involvement, the true seriousness of the offence and potential avenues of rehab or community service.

Sex Offences

These are arguably the most serious offences that anyone can commit. As soon as you are charged with a sexual offence, regardless of your innocence, it is strongly advised that you get in contact with criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD. The early stages of any case are some of the most important and having a professional legal representative by your side could make a big difference. Sex-related charges can be extremely damaging to have on your record so it is vital that you get in contact with criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD as soon as you know about the charges being laid.

Ultimately, whenever you have a run in with the law it is advised that you seek professional legal advice. This ensures that you are on the front foot and can act accordingly to the charges. Any criminal charge is going to reflect poorly on you and future opportunities so by getting a solicitor you may be able to eliminate this and receive a lesser punishment or none at all. Legal professionals are there to help you and it is only your fault if you fail to utilise them. Don’t be afraid to get in contact with criminal lawyers in Melbourne CBD when you next need them.

What to look in order to find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney

best criminal lawyer in sydney
best criminal lawyer in sydney
Image: Pexels

For those living in New South Wales who are facing a charge for committing criminal activity, they will need to find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney. Such charges may be for breaking and entering, assault, theft, or something else entirely. Whatever the charges may be, it is absolutely vital that the accused receive the best representation possible. This is so important not only because everyone deserves a fair trial but because nobody wants to receive an unnecessarily harsh sentence. Such sentences can include hefty fines, a charge left on somebody’s record, a large number of hours of community service, or jail time. All of these sentences can affect the mental health of the accused as well as the people around them. It can negatively impact someone’s ability to work which can cause further financial issues for them and their family. To best avoid the worst-case scenarios, it is wise to find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney possible. The best criminal lawyer in Sydney will be able to offer advice, act as representation if need be, and help obtain any documentation that may be needed for the case. Furthermore, they will be a helpful legal shoulder to lean on during what can be an extremely stressful time. As it is so crucial to find an amazing legal representation, this article will explore what to look in order to find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney.

Find somebody with years of experience in the field

A great thing to look for in order to find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney is experience. The greatest representatives will usually have decades of experience in their field which means that they will have dealt with plenty of trials, bail applications, contested hearings, pleas, and more. Furthermore, they will have dealt with almost every scenario that could possibly arise. This means that they are the most equipped person to educate their clients on every possible outcome. It also means that they will have dealt with a wide variety of offenses such as drink driving offences, speeding, drug offenses, domestic violence offenses, and much more. An easy way to see what kind of experience an attorney has is by simply calling the firm and asking or arranging to meet with them in person. It is also sometimes possible to find out this information online.

Find someone who is passionate

When it comes to finding the best criminal lawyer in Sydney, it is wise to find someone who is passionate. Not only will they be passionate about the case at hand, but they will be passionate about the sanctity of their jobs. This means that they will do whatever it takes to ensure that their client will receive a fair go. It further means that they will be diligent, professional, responsible, direct, and reliable. They will do everything in a timely manner and will not drag out matters to try and get more money from their clients. Most importantly, they will elicit trust in their clients to ensure that they are feeling as safe as they possibly can throughout an already stressful time. Again, a great way to discovering if someone is passionate or not is by having a chat with them over the phone or organising an initial consultation. Previous client feedback can be read, and their websites can be visited. As it can be seen, it is absolutely vital to find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney when facing a charge. This is the best way to avoid an overly harsh sentence that can have life-long consequences.

When you need Sydney divorce lawyers

Sydney divorce lawyers

Knowing when to act and get yourself Sydney divorce lawyers is important so that you can remain in control and don’t get dictated throughout the period of legal proceedings.

In Australia, divorce is ruled under a ‘no-fault’ system meaning that no one partner in the relationships is classified as being at fault. You are able to file for a legal separation if you and your partner have been living separately for a minimum of twelve months which begins when one member of the marriage says something equivalent to “this marriage is over”. This means that as soon as you and your partner have agreed to separate you should be contacting the best family lawyers in Sydney so that you can get started on your separation plans.

In order for the annulment to be filed, this period of separation is required to be continuous and any period of reconciliation that is attempted by the couple will result in the separation period being reset upon continuing to live separately. Sydney divorce lawyers will be able to help you through this period and note the exact dates of separation and advise you as what constitutes as reconciliation.

It is important to note that a couple is able to be classified as living separately despite still living under the same roof and getting in contact with Sydney divorce lawyers early can help you to make suitable arrangements.

What does it take for divorce to be granted?

Firstly, an official application of annulment must be filed with the Federal Court and Sydney divorce lawyers will be able to help you with this process. Following this there are a number of things that must be proven in court for the annulment to be finalised and having Sydney divorce lawyers will ensure you attend the hearing well prepared.

  • That there was a valid marriage

There must be proof that the persons filing for legal and official separation were engaged in a valid marriage. If the couple was married overseas then they will need a marriage certificate in English to be presented.

  • Jurisdiction

An annulment can only be granted if at least one member of the party; regards Australia as their home, intends to or has lived their entire life in Australia or is an Australian citizen. Should any of these not be the case then there are reasonable grounds for an annulment not to be ordered.

  • The marriage is broken down

The couple must be able to prove to the court that there is no way of making the current marriage work. There must be reasonable evidence to show that the marriage is no longer functional. Having Sydney divorce lawyers will help to prove this point as they will be able to best articulate the problems that have caused your desire for divorce. This is why it is important to be open and honest with your lawyer.

  • Child care arrangements

For couples with children under the age of 18 it will need to be proven that appropriate care arrangements have been put in place. Sydney divorce lawyers will be able to aid in this area in regards to child custody and determine what the best course of action is for the children to ensure that an annulment will be ordered.

  • Service

You will need to be able to show proof that the application and notification of annulment was presented to your partner no closer than 28 days prior to the hearing and this period must be greater, 42 days, if the former partner is living outside of Australia.

Ensuring that you meet all of these demands is important as you do not want the hearing to be drawn out. Employing Sydney divorce lawyers as soon as possible is the best course of action to ensure that you are well prepared for what is to come. Being well prepared will reduce the stress of this time and ensure that everything runs smoothly meaning that it can be completed sooner.

When Is It Legal For a Police Officer To Search Your Car?

In the event that a police officer has stopped a car on a freeway, each party has certain rights and responsibilities that must be protected. On one hand there is the Fourth Amendment that ensures against any unlawful search or seizure against a citizen.

 

Yet there are circumstances and parameters that allows a police officer to request and conduct a search of a car, bike, truck or any type of vehicle.

 

Here we will discuss instances where those searches can take place in the eyes of the law within the United States.

When You Have Consented To The Search

 

If the officer has asked the driver if they can search the vehicle, then they have one of two options. The first is to refuse, a response that is lawful without a warrant present. The other is simply to oblige and consent to the search.

In The Instance of An Arrest

 

A citizen that has been arrested where a vehicle is presented will likely see a search take place. Given the potential for evidence to be located within the car, this is simply a means of following basic protocol.

When The Police Officer Believes They Are Under Threat

 

A stipulation that has been contested by certain citizens that feel a strong degree of subjectivity has occurred, there are rights for police to conduct a search should they believe that their own wellbeing is under threat.

When The Officer Has Obtained a Search Warrant

 

Having been in contact with a judge or higher ranking law official, a valid warrant that identifies a particular vehicle gives police the power to search the car within a certain time period.

When an Officer Believes There is Probable Cause To Find Evidence Pertaining To a Crime

 

Should there be contraband, blood or something else that could potentially indicate evidence of a crime, then a law enforcement official has the ability to conduct a search of a vehicle.

Talking Points

 

Should you find yourself in a position whereby a law enforcement official makes a request, there are some steps you can take that are perfectly legal and legitimate. This includes denying the request outright in the absence of a warrant to asserting your Fifth Amendment rights to not comment on the matter. The other is simply to be calm and comply with a request without making any actions that would alert a police officer to any potentially threatening or criminal activity.

Why Eyewitness Testimony Is Valued In a Court of Law

When a prosecution or defense is looking for a form of evidence that proves their case beyond a reasonable doubt, there will be all manner of formats and categories that are looked over in detail.

 

From scientific evidence with DNA testing, DUI admissions and crime scene samples to intercepted communications, documentation, statements on the record from the defendant and other parties, there is a myriad of subjects that can become admissible in a court of law.

 

What will be held up as one of the most important facets of evidence is that of eyewitness testimony. Considered direct evidence that is beyond circumstantial, this is an element that is heavily relied upon to convince a judge or jury that the events they described actually took place.

 

Here we will detail why this form of evidence is so strongly valued in the legal profession.

Corroborated Against Evidence

 

Eyewitness testimony is rarely made in isolation from other facts of a case. In the event of a murder, a robbery or an assault charge, there will either be a number of eyewitnesses, scientific evidence or other types that can be regarded as circumstantial that fit a narrative of the prosecution or defense.

 

Attorneys will strive to source an eyewitness who has likely given a statement to law enforcement on the scene of the alleged crime in real time. Whether they fit their argument or not, there will be a need to validate or throw into question the legitimacy and standing of this individual.

Human Nature To Believe Testimony

 

There is a strong psychological element at play when we talk about the validity of eyewitness testimony. From the perspective of a psychologist who examines human behavior from a broader point of view, there is an intangible quality to a citizen that takes an oath and proceeds to outline what they saw as it pertains to the case. It is only human nature for members of a jury to believe an eyewitness that can be proven was in a position to see the crime play out before their own eyes.

Problems and Concerns

 

Whilst there is incredible value to an eyewitness to a case as they take the stand to make their official statement, there have been cases where such testimony has led to false convictions and exonerations. Cold cases in hindsight have proven to weigh this testimony too heavily in favor of one side or the other as later DNA evidence would end up contradicting the verdict handed down to the defendant.

 

This becomes a matter for a judge or jury to make an assessment on the eyewitness’s character and credibility.

What An Attorney Can Do For Their Client Following an Arrest

Facing an arrest will be one of the most harrowing experiences an individual can be subjected to. This is a time fraught with anxiety, stress, anger and bewilderment and it is here than a qualified attorney should be sought.

 

Given their background, expertise and experience during this process, it will be their council that a client requires to decide a course of action that will benefit all parties.

 

The lawyer will have a series of options at their disposal as their client is taken through the booking procedure. After careful deliberation, they will have the power to undertake any of the following actions that work in the benefit of their client.

Issue a Bail Bond

 

A bail bond can be filed from an attorney on behalf of their client following an arrest. This allows the individual to be removed from jail or a holding cell in the short-term, but acts as insurance for law enforcement to ensure that the charged party will have to return to face the charges. The amount of bond will be determined in accordance with the nature of the offense, with general misdemeanors only requiring a small amount up to criminal charges that could be substantial (if issued at all).

Source a Criminal Defense Specialist

 

If there is a criminal matter at play where a client is placed in a scenario that is criminal in nature, than a specialist attorney might need to be found. Those professionals in the legal field will have networks and connections that are easier to find than what could be discovered by a citizen who has the stress of facing charges. Usually a lawyer will want to lead the defense off their own accord, but they can reach out to a peer in a time of need.

Arrange a Court Date

 

An arrangement hearing will be necessary if you are charged with a crime, and this is an important notification that your attorney will need to communicate to you as the client. From this point forward, a schedule and plan will need to be formulated to determine a course of action that includes consultations and meetings in between.

Decision To Contest or Accept Charges

 

Whether to head to trial or not is a serious decision that an attorney will consult their client on. This will be dependent on the evidence held by the prosecution of the nature of the charges, as it might pertain to a plea bargain deal where the charges are dropped or downgraded.

Legal Issues Surrounding Marijuana Possession In The United States

Marijuana remains one of the most divisive and discussed drugs in the Western world. That is even before the issue of legality is introduced as different countries adopt contrasting approaches to the substance.

 

From Portugal and Canada on one hand who have embraced a model of legalization to the United States and others that have classified the drug as illegal, there are conflicting perceptions as to the public dangers and benefits that are sourced through these policies.

 

Some understand that there are benefits to regulation and taxing of a drug that is already in wide use across the country. Others believe that criminalization is the best course to act as a deterrent.

 

Whatever perspective marijuana is seen from, there is no doubt that the United States is a country that is evolving and transitioning away from a zero tolerance policy. However, there are ongoing legal challenges and stipulations that must be identified for the sake of citizens, police officers and attorneys alike.

Felony Possession Charges

 

There are certain states where possession alone can be classified as a felony and the penalty can be severe. Consider Tennessee, Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma in particular when it comes to law enforcement’s view on the substance. Arizona in particular is known as taking the most hardline stance against the drug possible whereby citizens caught with marijuana can face a felony charge completely in isolation from circumstantial evidence.

Legal Possession States

 

As of 2018, there are ten states where smoking marijuana is legalized. This includes Washington D.C., Alaska, Colorado, Maine, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon and Vermont.

Decriminalization

 

The notion of decriminalization does not make marijuana legal in the purist sense of the word, but it works to end the process of prohibition. As well as those ten states that makes the drug legal in terms of possession, there are others including Minnesota, Mississippi, New Orleans,, Illinois, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Maine, Connecticut and Maryland where the penalties are far less severe.

Medical Use

 

For states as territories such as New Jersey, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota, Michigan, Montana and Arkansas, marijuana is open for those that can access a medical certificate. In is in the event that the citizen is suitable for use during a form of debilitating illness.

Ongoing Discussion

 

There is no question that the subject of marijuana will be an ongoing debate for different states to discuss over the course of time. Classifications will change and be debated as social behaviors and perspectives are altered.

Disadvantages of Being Assigned a Court-Appointed Attorney

Each and every US citizen has the right to an attorney. If you have been arrested, charged or facing an offense where a lawyer should be present, then there will be a handful of options that will present themselves in due course.

 

One will be to find and locate a lawyer from the open market. Perhaps you know the individual and enjoy a prior relationship, or you simply sourced a name that has the skillset and experience to handle the case in question.

 

Another option is to take an early plea and ignore an attorney altogether. A radical approach is to defend yourself in a court of law, a scenario that has a minimal degree of success.

 

The resort that will be adopted by most who do not have the means of finding their own attorney is taking on a court-appointed lawyer.

 

Whilst this is not a dire scenario, it still carries certain disadvantages.

Lack of Experience

 

A healthy portion of court-appointed lawyers are those professionals who are looking for experience, either through pro bono cases or via the court system. Specialists that have the background and experience to justify their billing won’t be located on these lists and that added knowledge and awareness can make a significant difference in the final determination.

Insufficiently Resourced

 

A court-appointed lawyer will likely be juggling multiple cases without the help of a well-resourced law firm that can invest in their expertise. They will have to undertake their own research efforts without the technology or paralegal support that the opposition might enjoy.

Summary

 

As a client, you should not judge a book by its cover. Just as you would wish a judge or jury to hear the evidence before making a concluding argument, there is no need to dismiss a court-appointed attorney on the basis that they are yet to earn a stellar reputation or charge hundreds of dollars per hour.

 

However, the end game is all the client will really care about when a case is before the court – a scenario where sentiment cannot and should not come into play. From all the evidence that has been gleaned from various scholars and legal experts, you have a stronger chance of success in a courtroom if you can source an attorney that is a specialist in the field that has been acquired off your own accord.

 

From the initial four options that will be available to a defendant, a court-appointed lawyer should reside only marginally behind a lawyer that you have sourced yourself. It is not ideal, but far removed from the alternatives.

Differences Between Direct and Circumstantial Evidence

Whether you are on the side of the defense or prosecution during a case, there will be two key forms of evidence that will have to be taken into consideration.

 

The first is a direct form, one that points directly to the defendant committing the crime or offense in question. The other is circumstantial, a facet that insinuates and infers guilt without overtly being the case.

 

Now there are moments when the lines between direct and circumstantial evidence can become blurred depending on the case argued by the defense or the prosecution. Whatever is presented before a judge or jury, these instances are discussed and analyzed during a civil or criminal trial to determine an outcome, one that will be guilty or not guilty.

 

So how are we supposed to understand these different classifications? Here we will outline examples that are intended to fit one of two camps: direct or circumstantial evidence.

Direct: Witness Testimony

 

If there is a citizen who can account exactly what happened and who was involved from an unimpeded view, then this could be classified as direct evidence. It will also speak to their credibility and legitimacy as a witness.

Direct: Video or Audio Evidence

 

If a prosecutor or defender has obtained an email, text message, phone call or other type of audio recording that proves their case, this can be classified as direct evidence.

Direct: Documentary Evidence

 

Consider a photograph, passport, contract or written document that is signed and dated as direct evidence. Each side of the prosecution and defense will attempt to obtain this form of evidence as it fits the direct category.

Circumstantial: Witness Testimony

 

Yes, in this instance witness testimony can fit either direct or circumstantial evidence depending on the nature of the testimony. Should an individual on the stand only see a portion of the event of an obstructed view where they might have only heard a scream, a shot or a bang from a distance, then that is not a direct perspective. There is also a degree of credibility and reliability from a witness where their own account could be questioned on both sides of the bench.

Circumstantial: Forensics

 

Perhaps the defendant’s DNA was on the scene. From a fingerprint to a strand of hair or an item of clothing that might place the individual on location, there are instances when science plays a role that helps to paint a picture. While this will support one of the arguments during a case, it should only work to support further evidence and not entirely be relied upon.

Can You Be Legally Forced To Testify?

In the legal profession, there will be moments when a witness becomes paramount to a case. No matter whether they will be helpful to the defense or the prosecution, the ability to source either an eyewitness or an general witness that can offer significant circumstantial evidence to support one of the arguments is vital for justice to be upheld.

 

As an extension of this point, there is a need to entice and engage witnesses to attend a court proceeding or a trial and answer these questions from both sides of the court. This is where the capacity to testify becomes all encompassing as it will have a direct impact on the outcome of the case.

 

However, what is there to stop an individual from refusing their duty to testify? Can a judge force you to testify even in a scenario where you do not wish to do so?

 

Here we will examine some of the important legalities that surround this issue.

Issue of the Subpoena

 

A subpoena that is handed down is utilized for one single purpose – to compel an individual to testify. That is the central objective of this practice that is handed down by the judge. It will occur if a witness does not arrive to court voluntarily having been requested to, seeing a subpoena as an official means of acquiring the testimony by legal force.

Exceptions to a Subpoena

 

The subpoena can be overridden in some exceptional circumstances. This includes if the testimony would be self-incriminating for the witness, if the individual is married or has a significant relationship to the defendant, if there is a professional engagement and seen as a conflict of interest, or there is a lack of competence and credibility. Should the defendant be involved in a criminal case, they are protected under the Fifth Amendment.

Penalties Handed Down

 

Those that are given a subpoena are obliged to testify according to a judge and a court of law. Should that individual fail the subpoena having been handed the document and been made aware of the order, then they can find themselves in contempt of court.

 

This carries a significant penalty at it can be at the discretion of the judge in question to hand down a separate sentence for that citizen who has not complied with the order. Varied from a small to a large fine or even imprisonment in some circumstances, it is considered a violation to avoid testifying in court when officials have deemed it paramount that you do so for the sake of an important case.

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