Arriving at Court…
Most courts start at 9.30am. You should get to court before court starts and meet your lawyer for a pre-hearing discussions. Cases are heard as soon as possible, but if the court is busy, there could be some delays. Our lawyers will do their best to expedite your case so that you can leave as soon as possible.
Before you go into court make sure your turn off your mobile phone and remove any hat or sunglasses you are wearing. You should wear neat clothes, usually semi-formal wear & dark colours. Avoid wearing black business shirts and black ties.
The cases to be heard are on a court list. This is usually displayed in the foyer or near the court entrance. This list will tell you which courtroom you are in.
In the courtroom…
If you have a lawyer, the Magistrate will speak to you through your lawyer.
If you do not have a lawyer the Magistrate will ask you a number of questions. When answering, you should address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”.
Are you pleading guilty or not guilty?
The magistrate cannot give you advice about whether or not you should plead guilty. You need to decide this before you go to the court. This is why is it important to see one of our highly experienced lawyers before your next court date.
Plead Not Guilty and Defend the Charge in Court!
This option allows your criminal lawyer to have access to all the police evidence against you, prepare a strategy and your case and to cross examine the witnesses at court. However this process is complicated and requires extensive preparation, research and clever advocacy by your lawyer in court.
Contact us now on 1800 100 529 to book a Specialist Criminal Defence Lawyer to prepare and fight for you in court. Some available defences to consider are self defence, duress, necessity, honest and reasonable mistake of fact and more.
It is never a good idea to run a defended hearing without a lawyer. Do not risk your future – call us now!
This option is shorter, cheaper and allows your lawyer to show the court that you have taken responsibility for your actions and is remorseful for what has happened.
Our lawyers appear in sentence hearings and are experts at preparing each case to help each client come out with a favorable result. Contact us now on 1800 100 529 to book an experienced defence lawyer to prepare your sentence hearing and get the best possible result for you.
Penalties on Sentence
After a conviction is recorded, the Magistrate or Judge will then consider the penalty options. Penalties range from dismissal without conviction through to conviction with a fine, community correction order, intensive correction order, or full time jail.
If you think that you may be facing a gaol sentence, it would be a very good idea to get our lawyers involved now.
If the court is considering a serious penalty or wants further information, you may be referred to the Probation and Parole Service to get a sentencing report. This report will detail what sort of penalties are suitable for you.
What is a Section 10?
A “Section 10” is a penalty option which allows the Court to dismiss the charge and not record a conviction on your criminal history even after a plea of guilty has been entered. This applies to both criminal and traffic offences.
In traffic offences, the biggest benefit of a Section 10 is that it allows you to keep your licence and not get disqualified by the Court.
Usually, the court makes a finding of guilt but either dismisses the charge completely or dismisses the charge on condition that you enter into a good behaviour bond for up to 2 years.
Not everyone will receive a “Section 10” and it usually depends on many factors which are presented to the Court by your lawyer. Our Criminal Lawyers have the skills, knowledge and many years of experience in achieving Section 10’s at Court.
Make an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers today and let us give you the right advice, present your case in Court and get you that Section 10. Click here to read more about section 10.
Court Imposed Fines
The court will usually impose a fine for minor offences; however each charge carries a different fine amount, also referred to as penalty unit.
Our Criminal and Traffic Lawyers will aim to reduce the fine the Court imposes on a person and know what to look for in each case. We also advise clients about how a fine applies to their case and estimate an amount the Court may impose based on their circumstances. A conviction will be recorded on your criminal history with this penalty.
Conditional Release Orders
A Conditional Release Order (CRO) is similar to a contract which you agree to enter into between yourself and the Court. It lasts for a period of time ranging from months to years, but does not exceed 2 years, and cannot be combined with a fine. A conviction will be recorded on your criminal history with this penalty, however the court has power to ‘not record a conviction’.
Some CRO’s have specific conditions and supervision which are added by the Court.
Community Correctional Order
A Community Correctional Order (CCO) is similar to a CRO but more serios and has harsher restrictions. It lasts for a period of time ranging from months to years, but does not exceed 3 years, and can be combined with a fine, community service (up to 500 hours) and curfew. A conviction will be recorded on your criminal history with this penalty.
Some CCO’s will have specific conditions and supervision which are added by the Court.
Our experienced lawyers will explain your options to you and inform you of whether a community service order may be imposed or is appropriate in your case with the CCO. There are many factors that are considered in this assessment and we recommend that you make an appointment to see one of our experienced lawyers today.
Section 11 Deferred Sentence
This penalty is commonly used in cases where an offender needs to be assessed for rehabilitation, or is undertaking rehabilitation programs in the community. Here the Court will defer passing sentence for a period of up to 12 months from the date of conviction, and allows the offender to attend to those needs. When the offender returns for sentence, the Court will usually take into account the rehabilitation undertaken by the offender and then impose another appropriate penalty.
Contact our lawyers to discuss whether a rehabilitation program is available for you and how you can benefit from a deferred sentence.
Are you Facing Imprisonment?
Most criminal and serious traffic charges carry a term of imprisonment (gaol) as a form of penalty. This is sometimes a very difficult and stressful situation that many people face when they are charged by police. We understand these feelings and know how this penalty impacts the person charged and their families.
Our Criminal Lawyers will strive to achieve the best outcome for each and for every client. We will do everything possible to avoid a term of full-time imprisonment being imposed by the Court.
How? We know the law, the Magistrates, the Judges and the Prosecution. We make strong arguments, submissions and formulate strategies to present at Court. We thoroughly prepare each case and give honest and truthful advice no matter how big or small the case is. Most importantly, we get the results!
Intensive Correction Order – An Alternative to Full-time Imprisonment
An Intensive Correction Order (ICO) is a penalty of imprisonment, for 2 years or less (up to 3 years where more than one offence involved) which is served in the community under strict conditions and supervision by the Corrective Service of NSW.
An ICO may require an offender to perform up to 750 hours of community service work, participate in programs to address certain offending behaviour, be subject to drug testing, curfew, electronic monitoring and even home detention.
Home detention is now an addition to an ICO, which forms part of the sentence with very strict conditions and monitoring. The Court must firstly sentence a person to a term of imprisonment and then determine whether that person will be suitable for home detention component.
Contact us now for more details about home detention.
Section 12 Suspended Sentence – Not available from 24 September 2018
The Drug Court is a specialist Court that deals with offenders who are dependent on prohibited drugs and have been charged with an offence that meets the criteria. There are other conditions that apply, however, if a person is successful, he or she will be sent to a detox unit for assessment and if admitted, will undergo a 12 months residential or non-residential treatment program.
There are big advantages for offenders who choose to go through the drug court, such as being allowed to remain in the community for rehabilitation services, treatment, counselling and other health benefits. Contact us today to discuss whether this sentencing option is right for you.
Section 32 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990
Section 32 is designed to divert persons suffering from a mental condition, mental illness or intellectual disability away from the legal system. This process requires the lawyer to make a formal application in the Local Court and detailed submissions relevant to the client, the case and seriousness of the charge.
On a successful application, the charges are dismissed conditionally or unconditionally, without a conviction being recorded on a person’s criminal history, rather than being dealt with according to law with a penalty.
At Powerhouse Law Australia, we know that everyone has different needs and circumstances, which is why we tailor our advice and service based on the individual client. When applying for a Section 32, our team of lawyers offer a high level of experience, knowledge and service in this area of law.
Contact us today if you have a mental illness, mental condition or an intellectual disability and let us make an application under Section 32 for you.