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Representations

This brief article outlines what representations are and how they can assist in reducing or in some circumstances, having your charges withdrawn all together.  We discuss when they are appropriate, the positives and negatives are of making representations and the general process of sending them.

What are Representations?

Charge negotiations or more commonly known as ‘representations’, refer to formal communications made by a legal representative (such as a solicitor or barrister) to the prosecution which presents evidence or arguments that the charges laid against the accused should be withdrawn or downgraded. Representations are often supported by arguments relating to the lack of sufficient evidence, new evidence that exonerates the accused or information surrounding the accused’s background and mitigating circumstances that contribute towards the reduction of severity of the charges.

When is it appropriate to send Representations?

The role of our criminal law team is to ensure that the evidence presented in a case is accurate and in accordance with the events that took place. Our team of criminal lawyers often encounter circumstances in which the charges laid by the police are not adequately supported by sufficient evidence or that the incorrect charge has been laid.

Representations are suitable where there are weaknesses or inaccuracies in the Prosecution’s case, such as:

  • Discrepancies or mistakes in the Brief of Evidence or Facts Sheet 
  • Issues with the admissibility of evidence
  • The lack of evidence to support the charge/s
  • Where there are available legal defences
  • Additional evidence that exonerates the client comes to light.

The police can be compelled by written and/or verbal representations to withdraw the charge completely, or in exchange, accept a plea of guilty to a lesser offence.

Benefits of Representations

Sending representations to the prosecution may result in the following benefits for the accused:

  • The charges may be resolved outside of court, saving the accused valuable time and legal costs.
  • The charges may be withdrawn entirely.
  • The charges may be reduced, for example a more serious charge could be downgraded to a less severe charge.
  • A plea deal may be reached, where a plea of guilty could be presented in exchange for a more lenient sentence or removal of other charges.
  • The police facts may be amended accordingly to allow for a more informed decision-making process by the courts.

However, it may not always be advisable for representations to be made to the prosecution. For example, in some circumstances, sending representative may compromise your position in defending the charge/s.

Our experienced team of Criminal Lawyers can advise you on whether your circumstances are appropriate for representations to be made. 

What is the process of sending Representations?

When representations are sent to the police, they travel up the chain of command and are ultimately considered by the superintendent of the police area command the accused was charged in. 

Acceptance of Representations

If the representations are successful and accepted by prosecution, the legal representative will receive a letter from the superintendent confirming that the representations were accepted in accordance with the requests made by the legal representative.

In some cases, the individual may not even have to appear in court at all, saving the individual valuable time, money and stress. This often results in the individual maintaining a clean criminal record (if there were no prior criminal convictions) and the individual would be free to go about their day-to day life. 

Rejection of Representations

If the representations are unsuccessful and rejected by the prosecution, the legal representative will receive a letter from the superintendent confirming that the requests made by the legal representative were not agreed upon. This usually means that the matter will proceed as scheduled, and the accused will have the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations in Court. For information on this please see our Defended Hearings article.

Conclusion

When applied correctly, representations are an effective tool to convince the prosecution to eliminate or reduce charges outside of Court. The best outcome occurs when the representations are drafted and negotiated by an experienced criminal lawyer.

How can BSM Help?

Plea bargaining and making representations with the prosecution can be a complicated process.  Our team of experienced criminal lawyers will often be able to detect deficiencies with evidence and facts and draft effective representations to the police. Our experienced criminal lawyers have drafted numerous representations which have led to charges being dropped or downgraded.

Brander Smith McKnight has offices located in Sutherland, Sydney CBD, Parramatta and Wollongong

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

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