The Importance of Having a Lawyer Even When Pleading Guilty
Have you been charged with a drink or drug driving offence? If you have decided to plead guilty you may be wondering if there is any point to hiring a lawyer. There can be serious consequences for a guilty charge and it pays to have an experienced lawyer on your side to guide you through the process and to ensure that your penalty places as little impact on your future as possible. Here’s why it’s so important to hire a lawyer even when pleading guilty.
If you’ve never faced a drink or drug driving charge before, it’s unlikely you’ll have an in-depth understanding of how court proceedings run and the possible penalties you are facing. A lawyer can explain the entire process to you and can lodge necessary paperwork to help you obtain a work or hardship licence. If this is not the first time you’ve been charged with this type of offence, it’s highly recommended that you have legal representation to reduce the chances of you receiving a serious penalty such as jail time. A lawyer can advise you of the steps you should be taking before court to show the magistrate that you understand the severity of your charge and are being proactive about making improvements.
Help you get prepared
The key to minimising the repercussions of your charge is being prepared. You may think pleading guilty means turning up to court, everything will be over quickly and you can get on with your life, often it’s not that simple. Depending on the severity of your offence, you could be facing long term consequences such as not being able to travel overseas or find employment if a conviction is recorded. A lawyer can help you get prepared and put your best foot forward on the day.
Apply for a restricted work licence or special hardship licence
If you’re like most, the chances of you needing your licence for work or essential duties are high. A work licence can help you maintain your employment and allows you to drive between restricted time frames. In extreme circumstances, you may be able to apply for a special hardship licence which also allows you to drive under strict conditions. You need to have your application organised before your court date, it cannot be done when you get there. A lawyer can organise and submit all necessary paperwork on your behalf to ensure you have the best chances of being granted a work licence. They can also explain the negative impacts not having a licence would place on your life to the magistrate.
The reality is if you have been charged with a drink or drug driving offence in Queensland, you will lose your licence and receive a fine at the minimum. A lawyer works in your best interests to present you to the court in a positive light. They can explain the circumstances which led up to the event and can notify the magistrate of character references that vouch for your otherwise good behaviour. This can lead to a lesser penalty and increases your chances of being granted a restricted licence if you need one.
If you have been charged with multiple offences and are pleading guilty in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence, you may receive a harsher penalty than you actually should. The police might not have enough evidence to prove you guilty for some of the charges so you may not have to plead guilty. Your lawyer can negotiate with police and upon reviewing your file, find potential flaws in the evidence. Not having legal representation can see you potentially miss out on reducing or dismissing some of your charges. The fewer charges you have the better as a criminal record can be detrimental to your future. Why risk it?
Before you plead guilty ensure that
You have sought legal advice and your lawyer has obtained the police version of events. This will be presented to the magistrate. If you plead guilty, you are agreeing to the information noted in this. If you don’t agree with all details mentioned, you need to advise your lawyer of this as soon as you can. Your lawyer can speak on your behalf.
Should I plead not guilty?
Drink and drug driving charges are considered serious in Australia and the courts take a tough stance on such offences. There are very few circumstances where a not guilty plea will be considered. Some instances may include:
- You weren’t driving the vehicle at the time of the offence.
- You believe you were not over the limit.
- You have reason to believe the testing was inaccurate or wasn’t done correctly.
- You were driving on private property at the time.
For most people, pleading not guilty does not benefit them, if anything it sees them receive a harsher penalty for not taking responsibility. If you believe you have a strong case to plead not guilty, you must have legal representation. They can argue your case to increase your chances of receiving an outcome you are happy with.
If you have been charged with a drunk or drug driving charge, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice to ensure you receive the best possible outcome and to reduce the long term consequences. Contact the experts here at Drink Driver Lawyer today to discuss your options. We have helped more than 1500 Queenslanders stay on the road.