Criminal charges often cover the more serious areas of the law, including murder, organised crime and terrorism. A criminal defence lawyer specialises in defending individuals charged with a range of criminal crime and they can work with you to ensure your case has the best possible outcome.
If you’ve been accused or charged with a serious crime, it’s vital to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A criminal defence lawyer can defend their client against a wide variety of charges and they’ll work with you every step of the way, from initial arrest through to court. If you want to know more about the type of crimes that criminal defence lawyers work with and how they could help, read on for our handy guide.
What type of crime requires a criminal defence solicitor?
Criminal defence lawyers work with a wide range of charges and crimes, from murder through to traffic offences or fraud. They work to defend any individual or organisation accused of a crime and we’ll take a closer look at some common areas of expertise below.
Murder and serious crime
Murder or manslaughter is one of the most serious crimes to be accused of, so it’s essential that you have professional legal representation. A criminal defence lawyer can provide the extensive preparation and expert analysis required to defend a murder case and they often cover a diverse range of circumstances. This could include anything from a firearm case, to murders arising from gang violence or cases where psychological issues are present. Defence lawyers will usually seek an acquittal of murder charges, or they will work to obtain the fairest possible sentence for their clients.
Organised crime cases can be extremely complicated as there are often many parties involved. Gathering evidence is also complex and may require covert surveillance techniques. Organised crime cases include drug supply or importation, possession or supply of firearms, kidnapping, blackmail and money laundering.
Fraud is often known as ‘white collar crime’ but the charges can be just as serious as more violent crimes or those involving drugs or weapons. Allegations of fraud can be stressful and long drawn out, as the case will often involve seizing important documents and freezing of assets. This could occur for months, or even years, before the case is finished so it’s important to find a legal team who can help you navigate these challenges.
Fraud charges can also include accusations of money laundering, tax evasion and insider dealing and charges can be brought against an individual or the company as a whole.
Terrorism is defined as a use or threat of action designed to influence governent organisations or to intimidate the public. Terrorism offences are taken extremely seriously and charges can be brought against anyone researching, planning or committing acts of terrorism, either in the UK or abroad.
Counter terrorism legislation specifically covers a wide range of offences, such as receiving or sending money for the purposes of terrorism, being a member of a ‘proscirbed organisation’, possessing records outlining plans for acts of terrorism, or failing to inform the police of any known plans.
Accusations of sexual offences can ruin a person's career or reputation and have a devastating impact on personal relationships. Criminal defence lawyers work to defend their clients against accusations of rape, sexual assault or historic allegations. They can assist clients at any point of case, from initial police investigation, through to formal charge or trial. They can also challenge a case if an individual has been wrongly convicted.
Road traffic offences
Being charged with a road traffic offence can lead to points on your licence and/or a fine, or you may even lose your licence completely. This can be a great inconvenience for both your personal and professional life, so it’s important to make sure you have a good defence.
Criminal defence lawyers can assist with a range of both major and minor road traffic offences, including driving without insurance or a licence, drink driving, death caused by dangerous driving, speeding and dangerous driving. They can also put together an application to have your licence restored if you’ve lost it due to a previous offence.
How a criminal defence lawyer can help
Criminal defence lawyers can assist their clients at every stage of a case and you can still seek assistance if you’ve been formally charged or even sentenced. It’s best to seek legal help and advice as soon as possible, so see below for some of the practical ways criminal defence lawyers can help.
One of the first stages will be gathering evidence to help defend your case. Your lawyer will want to know all the important details of the allegations brought against you and they’ll also consider how you’d like to proceed. Evidence can include forensic evidence (like fingerprints or hair), important documents, emails, text messages, photographs and interviews from key witnesses.
Criminal defence lawyers may also research similar cases from the past. This helps them to prepare a defence and gives an idea of any statutes or procedural rules which may be beneficial.
Preparing a defence
Once lawyers have gathered sufficient evidence, they’ll start putting together a defence for your case. This involves analysing and interpreting the evidence (including evidence from the prosecution) to look for anything that might strengthen their client’s case.
The defence will seek to establish the client’s theory of events or disprove the charges brought against them beyond any reasonable doubt. Evidence will be used to put together the defence, alongside expert witnesses and in some cases, trial consultants. This often includes people with a background in clinical psychology or law enforcement and they can assist the defence strategy or give recommendations for sentencing.
One of the most important roles played by a defence lawyer is court representation during the trial. This includes cross examination of key witnesses, presenting evidence to the court and arguing the case on your behalf. They may also look for loopholes or gaps in the prosecutors defence which can limit their use of evidence or have the case thrown out entirely. In many cases, your lawyer will strive to clear you of all charges or obtain the most lenient sentence possible.
If you are sentenced, there may be potential for an appeal. A lawyer will discuss this with their client and put together a case if necessary.
The impact of a wrongful conviction can be devastating, but a criminal defence lawyer can put together an appeal on your behalf. They'll examine the case and look for grounds to appeal, as well as any new evidence which may have come to light. Convictions following a Crown Court trial can be taken to the Court of Appeal. If your appeal is turned down, the case can be looked at again following a referral from the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
ITN Solicitors - Award winning criminal defence lawyers in London
If you’re in need of professional ‘lawyers near me’ for a criminal defence case in London, get in touch with the team at ITN Solicitors. We’re proud to offer award winning client representation every step of the way, from initial arrest through to Crown Court. We’re experienced in a wide range of areas of expertise, including murder, organised crime, fraud, sexual offences and road traffic offences. We’re also experienced at handling criminal appeals, including in the Supreme Court and the Court of Human Rights.
If you’re looking for a legal representative that goes above and beyond for their clients, get in touch with ITN Solicitors today. Call us now on 020 3909 8100 or contact us via the website.