Frequently Asked Questions
There are two primary types of offences that police can charge you with. That being Summary Offences (less serious penalties) and Serious Indictable Offences (severe penalties applicable).
It is of the utmost important that your lawyer explain the difference between the two types of charges to you and why your charges are contained within the applied section of legislation. Talk to Garde Wilson Lawyers today for FREE and find out where you stand.
The answer to this question is usually NO. It is YOUR right to participate in a record of interview, not the police’s right. In most cases, the less you say the better given that anything you say or do can and will be used against you by the police when your case gets to court. However, some cases reflect a better result when police cooperation is provided on your part. Always seek legal advice from a criminal defence specialist such as Garde Wilson Lawyers before talking to police.
In all cases, your best defence is a lawyer who specialises in criminal defence and has expertise in the area you are alleged to have committed an offence. A criminal defence lawyer can help you to avoid charges before they are laid, avoid convictions, lessen penalties such as monetary fines, avoid and shorten terms of imprisonment, assist you in receiving a Community Corrections Order before receiving a sentence of imprisonment. ALWAYS seek advice from your lawyer before attempting to navigate the criminal justice system. Your future is worth it.
At times yes, when a criminal defence specialist assesses your case and represents you in court, they should ALWAYS make you aware of the likelihood of avoiding a conviction. Unfortunately, it does not matter how minor or seemingly insignificant an offence is. If you have been charged and a court is to hear your matter then a record will be noted of this offence. Unless the charges are withdrawn through the assistance of a criminal defence specialist. The ability or likeliness to avoid a conviction regarding your charges is on a strict case by case basis. Get FREE advice on your charges before you leave it too late.
Whether you have been to court previously or this is your first time, an array of outcomes can eventuate from a criminal offence.
Dismissal – This is when a magistrate finds you guilty but decides to not record a conviction against your record and dismisses your charges.
Discharge – A discharge is when you attend court, the magistrate finds you guilty but regardless does not impose a penalty against you for the said offence.
Adjourned Undertaking – This is at times called a good behaviour bond. An adjourned undertaking is when a magistrate or judge has you make a promise to the court of various conditions whereas you are released pending you agree to the conditions set by the court. Conditions such as good behaviour, donation to the court fund or a charity or the completion of a course are just some of the likely conditions attached to an adjourned undertaking. Ask us today if an outcome such as this is likely in your case.
Fines – Some criminal offences can carry a financial penalty where the magistrate or judge imposes or orders you to pay an amount appropriate to the offence you have committed. Although inconvenient and at times not feasible, a punitive outcome such as a fine is at more times than not a favourable outcome by a court. The amount of the fine is applicable on a case by case basis and takes the offence, severity of offence, prior conviction and circumstances into account to match the offence committed.
Diversion Program – The diversion program is an outcome for first time offenders and allows the individual to completely avoid the criminal conviction and justice stream. Ask one of our specialists if your case is likely to be considered for diversion. There are many conditions that are appropriate for consideration when applying for a diversion and you should be sure to get sound advice from an experienced legal defence lawyer before applying for a diversion.
In Victoria’s legal system, it is good manners and consistent with sound court etiquette to arrive at court on time. The regular starting time for a Magistrates Court in Victoria is 9:30 AM.
The time and date of your case is important as this will allow you prepare appropriately for your appearance regardless of whether it is a contest, filing hearing, plea in mitigation or just a mention. The Magistrates Court provides the community with a search tool for listed hearings which can be accessed by clicking HERE. The majority hearings at the Magistrates Court are open to the public to sit in on, this can mean at certain times students can be there attending as part of their curriculum, family members of accused individuals, members of the Victorian police along with lawyers and their clients appearing on the same date for their respective case.
It is good practice to know when, how and why when dealing with a Magistrate or member of the judiciary. Appropriate clothing is to be worn as a guideline only given the Courts are a place of respect and law. You should always dress semi-formally and in respectable manner. When you enter a courtroom it is good manners to take a slight bow when opening the door before you enter or proceed to sit in the Court. Whenever a Magistrate or Judge speaks directly at you, you are to stand at all times unless directed by the Magistrate or Judge to remain seated. When your name is called, you proceed to the front of the room and take a seat in the middle of the front row between the prosecution with your lawyer sitting at the bar table. Garde WIlson Lawyers will provide you with guidance on all procedures regarding the process and application of Court etiquette. Contact us today for a FREE case assessment and get yourself prepared to receive the best possible outcome for your case.