Barrister and Solicitor specialising in Criminal law involving all types of criminal offences, restraining orders and road traffic offences.
Maria-Elena Cheshire is the Principal Barrister and Solicitor at Cheshire Legal.
Maria-Elena has represented clients charged with criminal offences such as
- Sexual Offences
- Possession of drugs with intent to supply
- Drug Trafficking
- Armed Robbery
- Grievous Bodily Harm
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Our Team Profiles
Barrister and Solicitor Criminal Law
Maria-Elena Cheshire is the Principal lawyer and advocate at Cheshire Legal. Having been admitted to the English Bar in 1989; she has specialised in the practice of Criminal Law since that date. Transferring to become a Solicitor in the UK in 1992 provided Maria-Elena with the opportunity to be instructed directly by clients and have control and autonomy over her clientsâ€™ cases.
Working initially in London at the English Bar and subsequently, with specialist Criminal Solicitors in Bristol and Oxfordshire, Maria-Elena has obtained a wealth of experience in all types of criminal cases involving drink-driving offences, theft, handling, burglary, indecent assault, rape, armed robbery and murder to name but a few examples.
Maria-Elena assisted Counsel at the Old Bailey in the first case of consensual masochistic sexual assault.
Upon immigrating to Western Australia, Maria-Elena has worked for five years for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuting federal offences. Such cases involved frauds against Centrelink, Medicare, the ATO and Australia Post, quarantine offences, importation of child pornography, importation of drugs and people smuggling.
Maria-Elena has established Cheshire Legal to offer clients charged with criminal offences friendly, professional and clear advice and representation in court. Cheshire Legal will assist clients with their cases regardless of the nature of the offence.
Maria-Elena believes passionately in the presumption of innocence and that people are deserving of the best possible legal representation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Solicitor in the Police station?
You should always at the very least SPEAK to a Solicitor before going into interview with the police or during the video recording of a search warrant.
“But I didn’t do anything wrong, so why should I have a Solicitor?”
“But if I have a Solicitor the police will think I’m guilty and will definitely charge me!”
“What is the point, I did it and just want to admit it and get it over and done with.”
These and similar comments are made by many people to Solicitors.
a. It is your absolute legal right to speak to a Solicitor either during a search warrant, questioning whilst under caution but not under arrested or when under arrest. The Police have to tell you this. b. It does not matter what the Police think about you speaking to a Solicitor or having a Solicitor accompany you to the Police Station – the Police think you are GUILTY REGARDLESS. Their view is irrelevant, what is important is the evidence and whether a Magistrate or Jury think you are guilty. c. Even if you have committed an offence, you are entitled to know if there is evidence against you to implicate you in an offence. d. Having a Solicitor means that they can speak to the police on your behalf and consider the evidence and then advise you properly. It is not for the Solicitor to tell you what to do, but just to advise you as to the evidence, the procedure and your options. e. You do not have to say anything to the police about their investigation. But you may wish to explain yourself and that is your decision. It is sometimes the best option to explain yourself if you have a genuine defence, for example, alibi evidence should usually be given as soon as possible. The police station can be a hostile and intimidating experience and whether to speak in interview is one of the most difficult decisions to make. Let Cheshire Legal help you with that decision.
Will I go to prison?
Many clients face very serious offences and there is a real risk of that client going to prison (or detention if they are a juvenile offender). Solicitors would love to promise the client that they are not going to go to prison but to do so would be negligent of the Solicitor when such promises cannot and should not be made. Cheshire Legal will advise clients as to the most likely sentencing option, taking into account;
The nature of the offence.
Over what period of time the offence was committed. Was it spontaneous or premeditated?
Whether the client have previous convictions.
The impact of the offence upon any victim.
Whether a significant amount of money/benefit was obtained in a fraud case.
Did the case involve a breach of trust? E.g. stealing from an employer.
The reasons for the commission of the offence.
The personal circumstances of the client.
These are but a few of the considerations that must be taken into account when advising a client as to whether they are likely to go to prison. Depending on the charge, then the client should be aware of the high risk of receiving a term of imprisonment!
What is the difference between a lawyer and a solicitor?
There is none. It means the same thing. It is the same as saying a Doctor is a General Practitioner. Although, a lawyer can also mean a Barrister. However, there is a difference between a Solicitor and a Barrister. A client has to instruct a Solicitor in the first instance. In Western Australia a Solicitor can appear in the Magistrates’ Court (the lower court that deals with the less serious offences) and also the District and Supreme Court (the higher courts dealing with more serious matters). If a client has to appear in the Supreme Court for example, in relation to an aggravated armed robbery involving four other accused and the trial will last several weeks, a Solicitor may choose to instruct a Barrister. The Barrister will represent the client at court. The client remains the client of the Solicitor but the Barrister is also part of the ‘team’ in representing the client. It is usually said that a Barrister is more specialised in one particular area of law such as a paediatriation who specialises in looking after the health of children. A QC (Queen’s Counsel) or SC (Senior Counsel) is one and the same thing and is a Barrister or a Barrister/Solicitor who has practised for many years and has a great deal of experience. A Solicitor may choose to instruct a Barrister if a written opinion is required for instance, on the merits of a client pleading not guilty, on a particular issue of law or whether an Appeal has merit.
Will Maria-Elena Represent me?
Maria-Elena does not discriminate against clients in terms of the offences with which they are charged. If you are charged with serious sexual assault matters for instance, Maria-Elena will represent you to the best of her ability on the instructions you give to her. There are rare occasions when a Solicitor/Client relationship breaks down for whatever reason. Maria-Elena will always endeavour to resolve any issues with the Client but in the interests of the Client’s case, it may be preferable for the Client to instruct another Solicitor. In these circumstances, Maria-Elena will arrange for the Client to see another Solicitor of their choice and transfer all the paperwork without delay. Similarly, a Client must co-operate in attending appointments and providing clear and consistent instructions. This is in the best interests of the Client and will ensure that Maria-Elena is able to put the best case forward for the Client.
Why do I need a lawyer?
You don’t always need a lawyer! If you are pleading guilty to a speeding offence, you do not need a lawyer unless you were travelling at 120 km/h down a one-way street! Think about the seriousness of the offence, whether you can speak on your own behalf and whether you would like to save some money. If in doubt, telephone Maria-Elena and she can advise you. On many occasions Maria-Elena will assist clients in preparing for a guilty plea by writing a letter in mitigation on their behalf or helping a client prepare for a Magistrates’ Court Hearing without her attending court. This keeps the client’s fees to a minimum but enables a client to feel confident that they are prepared once they appear in court by themselves.
Will I get legal aid?
Legal Aid is usually available to people on a low income (if they are in receipt of a Centrelink benefit or pension) AND there is a real risk of that person receiving a term of imprisonment. Consideration is also given to children charged with criminal offences, clients who cannot speak English without the need of an interpreter and clients who live in remote areas who cannot access lawyers. Maria-Elena is linked to the Legal Aid Board’s ‘Grants On-Line’ which allows her to submit applications for Legal Aid via the internet. This is a fast and efficient service and enables Maria-Elena to take instructions from a client over the telephone and then submit the application immediately.
How much is this going to cost me?
We all want to know this don’t we?
Maria-Elena charges an hourly fee plus GST.
Depending on whether the matter is going to be a guilty or not guilty matter then this will affect the total amount of costs you will have to pay.
For example, a straight forward guilty plea in the Magistrates’ Court will cost less than a Trial in the District Court.
You will be provided with an estimate of the costs involved in writing.
You will be required to pay an amount ‘up-front’ which remains your money but will have to be banked in a Client Trust Account which can only be transferred to Cheshire Legal upon you being invoiced for work completed or at the end of the case.