If you've been charged with committing a crime, you may be worried about the options now available to you. You may be somewhat pessimistic about your chances and think that this is now a black or white case. In other words, you either plead guilty and accept any sentence or go the other way and see what the magistrates decide. Are you sure that the case presented against you is completely correct?
Disputing the Factd at a Hearing
If you feel that you are, in fact, guilty of committing a crime, the question then becomes what exactly are you guilty of. If you agree to some of the details but not of all what's alleged, then you should consider applying for a disputed facts hearing.
The law says quite clearly that the prosecutors can only bring a case if it is based in fact. Sometimes the prosecutors have made a mistake, but other times there may be a certain amount of misrepresentation. Either way, you have the right to get to the bottom of it before proceeding any further.
At a disputed facts hearing, all the parties come together in front of the magistrate and evidence is taken from both sides, complete with oral submissions if necessary.
Is an Actual Hearing Necessary?
However, it may not be necessary to have a hearing if progress can be made through telephone calls or letters instead. This is where a certain amount of expertise will come into the equation. It's also where relationships that may have been built up over time could be most valuable.
A solicitor who has a good relationship with the prosecutor in the area can frequently pick up the phone and talk through the matter on a relatively informal basis to start with. It's not unusual for a case to be completely dropped once it has been suggested that part of the approach is incorrect, that there may be technical errors or for other reasons.
A large number of factors can be taken into account by any prosecutor before any charges are brought. Some of these elements can be raised once again by criminal lawyers, especially if some other facts are disputed in the case. For example, would it be more appropriate to proceed with a caution instead of prosecution due to the age or physical health of the accused or the victim? Is the alleged infringement more 'technical' than based on hard facts? Were there any mitigating circumstances that should be more clearly considered?
Don't Go It Alone
Whenever prosecution is brought forward, it has to be accompanied by a considerable amount of paperwork. There are very often opportunities to question the facts and various reasons why the prosecution should reconsider their stance. It is nevertheless very important to get a lawyer who is very experienced in this type of dispute to take full advantage of the situation for you.