Letter of Representation in Singapore
It has long been established in the criminal law practice that letter of representations form a powerful tool. These can be utilitised before the accused even makes an appearance in court. Through representations, defence counsels are able to write to the prosecution to attempt negotiations regarding the charge(s) brought against you.
Representations are carefully considered and planned by our lawyers, pointing out certain evidential gaps which may prompt the prosecution to reassess the charge(s) against you. You will be assisted in putting forth your version of the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence along with arguments as to why the charges should be reduced or dropped.
The impact of representations
There are several possible outcomes after sending out the letter of representation. Starting with the best-case scenario and ending with the worst potential outcome:
No Further Action
This is the best-case scenario as it means that the charges against you are dropped.
Unconditional Stern Warning
When this is given, you will be discharged amounting to an acquittal. This means the prosecution will not pursue this matter further and you are not found guilty of the offence.
Conditional Stern Warning
You will be discharged not amounting to an acquittal. This means that the prosecutor retains the right to prosecute you for this offence or any new offences in the future. The prosecution will impose conditions on you during this period, once the conditions have been complied with, a discharge amounting to an acquittal will be granted.
With this, the prosecution may reduce the charge from one that carries a heavier sentence to one that is less severe. Examples are provided below.
Proceeding with Original Charges
This is the worst-case scenario as the prosecution will proceed with the original charges against you.
When should you engage us for representations?
A Letter of Representation can be sent after you have been charged in court, asking for the charge(s) to be reduced or for the prosecution to proceed on lesser chargers. Alternatively, a letter of representation can be sent during the course of investigations in an attempt for a “No Further Action”. This happens before you are charged in court. Therefore, it is advisable to approach our lawyers as soon as possible to discuss and explore the viability of writing a letter of representation.
There is no limit to the number of representations that can be sent. In fact, when new circumstances and evidence arise, further representations can be made. This is so that our lawyers can more convincingly make the case as to why the charge(s) should be withdrawn or reduced.
Why should you engage us for representations?
The charge(s) ultimately determine the course of proceedings that follow which would have significant impact on your life and liberty. In addition, future employers may require you to declare any past convictions or subject you to background checks.
Under the right circumstances, a letter of representation may result in the prosecution proceeding on lesser charges or lead to the charge(s) being withdrawn completely. It is therefore worthwhile to reach out to the prosecuting party to attempt negotiations as soon as possible.
The importance of a letter of representation can be seen with our experience with a previous client who was charged with an offence which would have entailed a maximum of 2 years imprisonment (voluntarily causing hurt). However, through representations, the original charge reduced to a charge which entails a maximum of 1 year imprisonment (affray) – a 50% reduction!
We were pleased to have been able to assist him during that difficult period and that reminded us of our constant endeavour to advocate for our clients to the best of our abilities. We strive to assist persons facing criminal charges with the fairness they deserve.
If you are facing the same situation – facing charges, you should engage our compassionate, experienced and highly competent lawyers who will be able to assist you in preparing the letter(s) of representations, as well as provide you with legal advice on your rights.