Negotiation With The Prosecution
In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to make a plea offer or submission to the prosecution in order to:
- Discontinue your criminal charge
- Downgrade or amend your charge to a lesser or different offence
- Amend the facts of the charge
A plea offer or submission to the prosecution may be the difference between having a trial and having your matter dealt with at an early stage, which will save you legal fees in the long run.
It can also take away from the risk of you being found guilty at a trial.
How do I apply to get a charge discontinued?
A prosecution should only continue if there are reasonable prospects of conviction, which means that there is enough evidence for you to be found guilty.
In certain cases, it’s clear that there are flaws with police evidence. This means that they will be unlikely to prove the case against you.
A criminal defence lawyer can write to the police or prosecution and explain the weaknesses in their case. The police or prosecution may agree that the case is weak and discontinue or withdraw the charge.
How do I downgrade or amend my charge?
You may agree that you committed a criminal offence but it’s a lesser offence than what the police have charged you with.
In this case, a defence lawyer can write to the police or prosecution, and make an offer on your behalf to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
A lawyer can explain to the police or prosecution why it is in their interest to accept the plea offer, rather than go to trial.
How do I amend the facts of my charge?
You may agree that you have committed the criminal offence, but disagree with how the police say you committed it.
When charged, you will receive a Statement of Material Facts from the police, which outlines how they say you committed the offence. The Statement of Material Facts is the basis upon which you will be sentenced. Therefore, you need to ensure that you agree with what it says.
This will be read out to the Magistrate or Judge at a sentencing. If you disagree with the contents of the statement, then you should seek advice from a criminal lawyer.
A criminal lawyer will help you put your case forward to the police and prosecution and provide them with a Statement of Material Facts that you agree with. This ensures that you will be sentenced according to what you say happened.
Ensure that the Statement of Material Facts reflects your version of events and doesn’t suggest something more serious than what you say you did.
This could be the difference between going to jail or staying out of jail.
For example: You might agree to an assault charge, but say you only punched the victim, rather than punching and kicking the victim.
Your sentence may be more serious if you are sentenced on the basis of having kicked the victim as well.