Thursday, 2 February 2012

The three 'D's' of Criminal Law

I found this post at The Defence Perspective.

Ok, this one isn't original. But it's still a good one and worthy of my list. The 3 Ds of criminal defense work; Deny, Delay, & Defend.

The first thing the police want is a confession.  Let's face it . . . a good confession makes their job so much easier. My advice to folks . . . the targets of criminal investigations . . . is to keep your mouths shut. Speak to no one on the planet, except your criminal lawyer.  And for goodness sake, if you're going to say anything, at least DENY it. Since once you admit, you are probably toast.

I love DELAY. It gives me time to work. It mucks-up the system and judges loath it. It helps my case get old, mildewed, and smelly.  We don't want speedy trials.  Speedy trials are bad for the accused. Provided my client is keeping out of trouble, DELAY can do wonderful things to a criminal case. Witnesses forget, get in trouble themselves, move off. Prosecutors get sick of my case . . . and me. I love it. It works. As long as they haven't convicted my client, we've got hope. DELAY whenever you can.

Finally, DEFEND. Defend only when you must. Frankly, defending a criminal case often doesn't work out well for the accused. It's a fact of life. Juries are unpredicable, they sometimes want blood. Judges are mean. Prosecutors, well, prosecutors need to get a life. In any case, DEFEND if you must, but only as a last resort. It's tough out there, you know.
I don't agree with all of that, but still...

We had a client charged with drive without due care.  The only evidence the police had (asides from a crashed car on a foggy day) was a comment he made in an interview along the lines of 'I guess sometimes I drive too fast.'  Not 'I drove too fast on this occasion and that caused the crash,' just 'sometimes.'  Even if he is found not-guilty, it will cost him heaps to defend it.

So seriously, if you commit crimes, DON'T say more than you are obliged to.

On that note, you MUST (in Australia at least) give police your name and contact information.  Asides from that, you do not HAVE to say much more.  Police will tell you what you HAVE to say, and if they lie ("You must tell us who you spoke to on that night") it is likely that a good defence lawyer can have that statement struck out.

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