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Criminal Practice Definition
It is an immutable fact that criminal trials in England and Wales are adversarial. The prosecutor presents evidence to the court said to implicate the defendant in the criminal conduct charged. In contrast, the defence lawyer will seek to challenge the prosecution evidence and present defence evidence, which may include the defendant giving evidence. It is up to the judge (or lay justices) or the jury to declare guilty or not guilty verdict. It the police by and large who gather evidence to prosecute and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), generally, who decide to prosecute.
Non-white collar crime can range from motoring offences at one end of the spectrum and murder at the other where imprisonment for life is mandatory. There are other offences in the calendar of offences which have serious impact on the defendant, by deprivation of liberty or serious financial penalty or the loss of his good character resulting in his ability to earn a living.
It is crucial that the individual facing criminal proceedings secures the services of an expert solicitor from the outset. The solicitor can guide and protect his rights in the police station at any interview. He can negotiate the level of charge with CPS (or other prosecuting authority) where appropriate. If the matter proceeds to trial the experienced solicitor will deal with disclosure of the prosecution evidence and bring any challenge to the trial court if necessary.
At the trial the solicitor advocate or the instructed counsel (barrister) will advise the defendant on what prosecution evidence to challenge and cross examine relevant witnesses. The defendant will be advised on whether to give evidence and taken through his evidence in-chief.
In the event of a guilty verdict the experienced criminal practitioner will be on hand to advice on appealing the sentence or the verdict. There are different time limits for lodging an appeal dependent on the court of conviction. Where leave is required to appeal the sentence or conviction the solicitor will offer hands-on advice on the prospects of success in the Crown Court or in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). The services of an experienced solicitor is essential for the individual facing a criminal charge.
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