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If you are pleading not guilty, you will have an initial court appearance

It is important to stress the fact that you should not attempt to represent yourself in court without first consulting a legal professional. Even if you are pleading guilty, you may inadvertently waive your rights if you do not understand the proceedings.

If you are pleading guilty, you will have the charges read to you and you will be asked if you understand the charges – you then plead guilty. At this point, you (along with your legal representation) will have the chance to explain your version of events, give details about your personal circumstances and produce any documentation and references.

The Magistrate will consider your position and will then either state your penalty, or set a date for a sentence hearing.

If you are pleading not guilty, you will have an initial court appearance – called a mention date – in which you will be given an adjournment or summary hearing date. There may be more than one adjournment, depending on whether or not the prosecution and/or defence need more time to gather evidence or witnesses. On your trial date, you will need to have available all of your supporting evidence and witnesses.

The prosecution (the police) will give their evidence and so will their witnesses. Your legal representation will now usually cross-examine the witnesses, and the prosecution may then re-examine the witnesses.

At this point, if the Magistrate finds that there is not enough evidence to proceed, the case will be dismissed, otherwise, your legal representation will then be able to call witnesses and produce evidence for examination. Following the questioning of the witnesses, the prosecution and defence will summarise their cases. After all the evidence has been heard, the Magistrate will either find you not guilty, which means you can go home, or guilty, which means that the Magistrate will hand down your sentence.

If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers. This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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