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Charged with a criminal offence?

Being charged with a criminal offence can be tough especially when you don’t know what you’re up against. Our team of experienced Solicitors understands the criminal procedures and laws of the criminal justice system, and give high regard to the presumption of innocence; that is, you are innocent until proven guilty.¬†

It can be difficult and sometimes embarrassing to approach a Solicitor with the allegations and charges brought against you. It is important to remember that as professionals, Solicitors leave judgement to the Judge! It is critical that you are upfront and honest with your Solicitor so they can provide you with the best possible representation in Court. 

Remember, we are on the same team! At Jameson Law, we are across the latest Australian law reform and Criminal code providing our clients with the most well-rounded legal advice possible, laying down all your legal options and paths. 

What do I have to do when I’m charged?

When you are served with a Court Attendance Notice you should seek legal advice quickly. The sooner you act, the sooner your matter will be disposed of!

Do I have to go to Court and how does the Court decide if I am guilty?

You are required to attend Court on every date your matter is listed unless you have legal representation and they ask for you to be excused on the next occasion. If the Court excuses you then you do not have to attend the next mention however you still have to attend your hearing or sentencing. 

With the current COVID-19 restrictions, the Courts are attempting to reduce attendance as much as possible. It is recommended that you wait outside the Courtroom until your matter is called or the time your matter is listed and then step into the Courtroom when it is your turn. If you have legal representation, they may advise you to wait outside for your safety and the safety of others. If you have travelled overseas in the last 14-days and/or have the flu, cold or like symptoms, you should not attend Court. If you have legal representation, they can appear on your behalf. Otherwise, contact the Court to advise why you are unable to attend.

The onus of proof in Australia rests with the prosecution. That is, you are not required to prove that you are not guilty of the criminal offence, but rather it is up to the police to convince the Court beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the criminal offence with which they have charged you. Case law indicates that this phrase, basically means that the court must have no doubt that there is any other explanation for what happened other than that you committed the offence. If your Solicitor is able to create doubt that you committed the offence you have been charged with, the Court is likely to find you not guilty of the offence. 

There are however other defences that can be raised that are considered either complete or partial defences which could result in no penalty or a reduction of penalty. 

Defences 

Complete Defences include

  • Self Defence – used reasonable or equivalent force to defend yourself.
  • Duress/Necessity – You were forced to act the way you did either due to threat or fear and/or necessity.¬†
  • Automatism¬†– ¬†including uncontrolled acts, sleepwalking, under anaesthetic, suffering from some forms of epilepsy or concussion, ¬†
  • Mental Impairment¬†–¬†Mental health¬†at the time of the incident may be a factor that the Court will consider in making a decision in your¬†criminal law¬†matter¬†if it is raised a defence. This may lead to a court order for your detention in a fitting institution until such time when the Court is satisfied that your release will not be an endangerment to the community.¬†

Section 10

Everyone has heard the words “section 10” being thrown around. Basically, ‘section 10’ refers to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 which sets out that a court may dismiss charges or impose conditional discharge of an offender without recording charges against their criminal record.¬†

Section 10   Dismissal of charges and conditional discharge of offender

(1) ¬†Without proceeding to conviction, a court that finds a person guilty of an offence may make any one of the following orders‚ÄĒ
(a)  an order directing that the relevant charge be dismissed,
(b)  an order discharging the person under a conditional release order (in which case the court proceeds to make a conditional release order under section 9),
(c)  an order discharging the person on condition that the person enters into an agreement to participate in an intervention program and to comply with any intervention plan arising out of the program.

Will I get a Criminal Record?

If you are found guilty of an offence and convicted, that charge will be recorded against you and you will have a criminal record. Your record is usually valid for 10 years and then the charge will no longer appear on your criminal record when most searches are conducted. However, there are some circumstances where this will still appear on your record even if it has passed the 10 year period, for example in jobs where you are working with children/young people and a working with children check is required and/or nursing positions regulated by AHPRA. This may create complications if you have a conviction in relation to a related offence such as sexual assault of a child or even common assault. 

What does Criminal Law Mean?

Generally speaking, everyone in Australia understands the concept of Criminal Law. What they don’t know however is that the criminal justice system is one of the broadest areas of law.

Australia’s criminal justice system and criminal law legislation are derived from the English common law legislation. Criminal law is most dominantly handled by each state, with only several exceptions being tried at a federal level, including fraud or sexual misconduct, for example. The Criminal Code Act 1995 of the Commonwealth of Australia defines offences and sets out the elements of an offence, being the things that need to be established in order to prove that a person is guilty of an offence.

Each state is governed by its own legislation, unrelated to other states in Australia, for example NSW law is different to Queensland (QLD) or Victoria (VIC). In NSW, the Criminal Justice System is governed by the Crimes Act 1900 which specifically sets out the elements and maximum penalties for criminal offences.

Generally, New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria follow common law jurisdictions, while the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia, follow a criminal law replacing the common law, except in cases of ambiguity.

It’s also worth mentioning that in Australia, criminal law legislation is different from civil law legislation in that civil law relates to non-criminal laws.

In 2007, Law reform has seen family violence added to the list of criminal offences in NSW and is governed by a separate legislation known as the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. The Act defines domestic violence offence as ‘an offence committed by a person against another person with whom the person who commits the offence has (or has had) a domestic relationship. The Act makes it clear that ‘offence’ includes an offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995 of the Commonwealth. In a nutshell, the¬†Criminal Code¬†Act 1995 of the¬†Commonwealth¬†lists the acts that would be considered an offence. Note that the Criminal Code Act deals more with Commonwealth Criminal Law, noting that it is Commonwealth Legislation.

What types of Criminal Offences are there?

There are generally 2 types of criminal offences.

These are offences which are considered less serious. The Summary Offences Act 1988 NSW sets out the offences that are considered summary in the criminal justice system, and the penalty for each offence. These include:

  • Offensive Behaviour:
    • Offensive conduct
    • Offensive language
    • Obscene exposure
    • Obstructing traffic
    • Unauthorised entry of vehicle or boat
    • Damaging fountains
    • Damaging or desecrating protected places
    • Climbing on or jumping from buildings and other structures
    • Continuation of intoxicated and disorderly behaviour following move on direction
    • Possession of liquor by minors
    • Violent disorder
  • Dangerous Behaviour:
    • custody or use of knives and offensive implements
    • custody or use of laser pointers
    • Loitering by convicted child sexual offenders
    • Intimidatory use of vehicles and vessels
    • Prostitution
    • Minors in sex clubs
    • Unauthorised Public Assemblies
    • Hunting on private land

The Crimes Act NSW 1900 also contains a list of summary offences including:

  • Stealing and Similar Offences
  • Robbery
  • Demanding property with intent to steal
  • Sacrilige and housebreaking
  • Larceny
  • Stealing motor vehicle, vessel or trailer
  • Embezzlement or Larceny
  • Receivers, such as receiving stolen property

 Indictable offences are the more serious charges that are generally penalised by incarceration; that is, the maximum penalty is imprisonment although you will not necessarily be sentenced to imprisonment.

The following criminal offences are brought under the Crimes Act NSW 1900:

  • Offence against a person¬†
    • Homicide, such as murder and manslaughter¬†
    • Conspiracy to murder¬†
    • Attempts to murder¬†
    • Documents containing threats
    • Suicide¬†
    • Acts causing danger to life or bodily harm
    • Possessing or making explosive etc with intent to injury the person¬†
    • Assaults¬†
    • Assaults and other actions against police and other law enforcement officers¬†
    • Assaults etc at schools¬†
    • Common assaults¬†
    • Sexual Offences against adults and children, such as sexual touching, sexual act, sexual assault with intent to have intercourse (without actually doing so), persistent sexual abuse of a child, procuring or grooming child under 16 for unlawful sexual activity
    • Misconduct with regard to corpses
    • Termination of pregnancy performed by unqualified person
    • Concealment of birth of a child¬†
    • Kidnapping
    • Procuring for prostitution¬†
    • Child prostitution¬†
    • Child abuse material¬†
    • Voyeurism and related offences¬†
    • Record intimate image without consent
    • Distribute intimate image without consent
    • Threaten to record or distribute intimate image
    • Bigamy
  • Offence relating to Public Order
    • Riot and affray¬†
    • Explosives and firearms offences including possession, supply, firing and trespassing with use
    • Contamination of goods, including threatening to contaminate ¬†with intent to cause public alarm or economic loss
    • Bomb and other hoaxes
    • Criminal Groups¬†
    • Unlawful gambling
    • Consorting¬†
    • Public Threats or indictment of violence
  • Fraud, including intention to defraud or deceive¬†
  • Identity Offences¬†
  • Money Laundering¬†
  • Cheating at Gambling¬†
  • Criminal Destruction and Damage¬†
    • Destroying or damaging property, including threatening to destroy or damage property, and destroying or damaging property with the intent to injure person¬†
    • Interfering with a mine¬†
    • Causing damage etc to sea, river, canal and other works
    • Sabotage¬†
    • Threaten to sabotage¬†
    • Bushfires¬†
  • Offences relating to transport services
    • Offences relating to aircraft, vessels etc
    • Offences relating to railways etc
  • Corruptly receiving commission and other corrupt practices¬†
  • Blackmail¬†
  • Forgery¬†
  • False and misleading information¬†
  • Computer offences¬†
  • Offences relating to escape from lawful custody¬†
  • Terrorism¬†
  • Public justice offences¬†
    • Interfering with the administration of justice¬†
    • Interference with judicial officers, witnesses, jurors etc¬†
    • Perjury, false statement etc
  • Attempts
  • Abettors and Accessories -¬†that is people who assist someone to commit a crime or are in any way involved before or after the crime is committed, including harbouring someone who has committed an offences.
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Domestic Violence

Since 2007¬†domestic violence¬†offences have been dealt with under¬†Criminal Law. They are also governed by state legislation, meaning that¬†NSW¬†has its own legislation regarding¬†domestic violence¬†criminal offences. The¬†victims of crime¬†in such cases are considered persons with whom the accused has or a had a domestic relationship. This may be a current or ex-partner or even a sibling, child or parent.¬†Young people¬†and child related matter may become more severe and lead to other proceedings being commenced in the¬†children’s court.¬†

It is important to realise that domestic violence offences are dealt with in the same way that other criminal offences are dealt with by the Court. Do not take this lightly and seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of any charges being brought against you in that regard.

What does it mean when I receive a Court Attendance Notice (CAN)?

All criminal matters are commenced in the Local Court (unless the criminal offence is more severe in which case it may be moved to the district court or supreme court. Note: it is rare for a criminal law matter to be heard in the High Court of Australia). In order to bring charges against an accused, the Police must personally serve a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) on the person. The CAN should set out the charges, including the section of the Act under which they are being charged, Police facts of the incident, and notice of the date and time on which the matter is listed and which Court they are required to attend. 

If you have been served with a Court attendance notice and charged with any of the above offences, it is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible before the date on which your matter is listed. You will see the date, time and Court that you are required to attend at the top of the first page of the Court attendance notice. 

Should I use Legal Aid Criminal Lawyer Sydney?

Whilst Legal aid from the outset is a fantastic service, unfortunately, it is often a hit and miss. If you are eligible for legal aid and definitely cannot afford a private lawyer to represent you then it may be worthwhile seeking an initial consultation at the very least so that you have a broader scope of understanding. Our fees are a lot more affordable than you may think, and you will have access to some of the best minds and lawyers in the criminal defence lawyer space.

Accredited Criminal Lawyer

Sydney Criminal Law Matter Court Process

STEP 1

Service of Court Attendance Notice

This is where police serve you with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). This may be done at the police station if you are detained, or at your home.

STEP 1

STEP 2

First Court Mention

The Court Attendance Notice will indicate the date, time and Court that you need to attend. This can be found at the top of the first page of your Court Attendance Notice. Your matter will be listed for mention before a Magistrate at which time, you can elect to either:

1. Adjourn the matter to obtain legal advice if you have not already done so in which case your matter will be listed on another day for mention; or

2. Enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Note: entering a plea of guilty means that you admit that you are guilty of the charge although you may not agree with everything written in the police facts. Entering a plea of not guilty means you do not admit to the charge. The matter will be adjourned to another day for hearing if you plead not guilty or sentencing may be done on the spot for summary offences if you enter a plea of guilty.

If your matter is considered an indictable offence, it may be necessary to move the matter to the District Court or the Supreme Court depending on the severity of the offence. In saying that section 475A of the Crimes Act 1900 provides that the Supreme Court can also hear summary offences of conspiracy to cheat and defraud:

…proceedings for any offence mentioned in Schedule 10 may, pursuant to Part 5 of Chapter 4 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 by the Attorney-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions, be taken before the Supreme Court in its summary jurisdiction.

STEP 2

STEP 3

Second Court Attendance or Hearing

If you adjourned your matter at the first mention, it is expected that you have either sought legal representation or advice and will enter a plea at that time. You must elect whether to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.  The matter will be adjourned to another day for hearing if your plead not guilty or sentencing may be done on the spot for summary offences if you enter a plea of guilty.

If you entered a plea of not guilty at the first mention, your matter will be heard by a judge on that day and you will receive a verdict/conviction on that day. Depending on the severity of the offence, the hearing may go on for a number of days. The police would have served your Solicitor with the Police brief which sets out all the criminal investigation conducted and evidence they have in your matter. Your Solicitor would also have advised the Police which if any witnesses they will required to attend the hearing. 

It is highly recommended that you have legal representation if your matter is proceeding to a hearing.

STEP 3

STEP 4

Representations

If you enter a plea of guilty, you are entitled to make representations to the police to drop some or all charges based on lack of evidence or overcharging. If you bring on a Solicitor early in your case, they are able to do this early on and try to get some or all charges dropped before you get to this stage.

STEP 4

STEP 5

Hearing

Your matter will be heard and you will receive a verdict on the last day of your hearing/trial. Generally speaking, you will be called to give evidence in the witness box along with any other witnesses in the matter.

STEP 5

STEP 6

Court of Appeal

If you are dissatisfied with the Outcome, speak to a Solicitor about your prospects of filing an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

STEP 6

How do I know how serious my offence/charge is?

Indictable offences are more serious charges than summary offences. Each section in the Crimes Act sets out the elements of an offence and the maximum penalty. However, depending on the facts of the case and the evidence available, the penalty can be anywhere between charges being dropped and the maximum penalty for the offence. It is important that you seek legal advice to determine how serious your specific case is, regardless of how serious the charge actually is. In many cases, representations may be made to the police setting out reasons why some or all charges should be dropped and this will save you the hassle of having to go to Court or at least avoid a hearing. Select your criminal offence from the menu to see details regarding the seriousness of your offence and respective punishment, imprisonment and/or fine.  

What happens in Criminal Matters?

The¬†Criminal Procedure¬†Act is a¬†New South Wales legislation and accordingly, the¬†Criminal procedure¬†is not a¬†Commonwealth¬†uniform procedure and therefore different in every state.¬†The Criminal Procedure Act sets out how Criminal Law matters should be managed. All Jameson Law’s Criminal Law Solicitors are well aware of the Criminal procedures and how the Criminal justice system is run. We have some of the best names in Criminal Lawyer Sydney on hand to guide you through your matter.

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Applying for Bail

What are the criteria for applying for bail?

 When applying for bail, the court will take into account a number of factors which speak to your history, character and individual needs as well as considering what is in the best interest of the community. Below is a list of main considerations.

  1. The seriousness of your offence;
  2. Any protections which need to be in place for the victim;
  3. Protection of the community from further offending;
  4. The strength or subsequent weakness of the prosecution’s case;
  5. The severity of the possible sentence;
  6. The probability of you being convicted;
  7. Your prior criminal history;
  8. The potential for you to interfere with a witnesses;
  9. Court delay;
  10. Requirements for preparing a defence; and
  11. Your potential view of the police and prosecution.

If you are determined to be a flight risk or a danger to the community then bail will most likely not be granted. Bail will also not be granted in the event you could somehow influence or tamper with any aspect of your criminal matter.

How Do I Prepare For Court?

Do I really need to seek legal advice?

Legal advice should be your first point of call when preparing for court. It is important to show the court that you are taking your matter seriously and by being legally represented, you are demonstrating that you understand the severity of the charge.

It is also good to get an idea of what outcome you could be facing if you are found guilty of your offence. Are you looking at a term of imprisonment? A suspended sentence? Maybe even a community service order? It is best to have a realistic view of your matter from a criminal lawyer Sydney.

Is there anything I could be doing to help my chances of receiving a lighter sentence?

Your lawyer may be able to suggest rehabilitative programs or measures you could take to make yourself appear better before the court. The court likes to see both remorse and rehabilitation from criminal behaviour. Services such as Relationships Australia, Catholic Care, Beyond Blue, etc, are designed to aid people through mental, physical and educational means. Examples of this may include:

  1. Drug and alcohol counselling;
  2. Anger management programs;
  3. Family violence counselling;
  4. Parenting or separation courses;
  5. Skill development and education to heighten employment opportunities; etc.

Anything you can do to appeal your character before the court is inevitably going to help you when it comes to sentencing.

Should I have character references to speak on my behalf?

Depending on what offence you are alleged to have committed then having character references or letters of reference can be helpful to your case.

For example, if you were applying for a restricted driver’s licence, you would most certainly need a letter from your employer which relays that you will have your employment terminated in the event you do not have a licence. Similarly, if your job requires a working with vulnerable persons card then a letter from your employer would be necessary in these circumstances.

If you have committed a low range offence for the first time, references which speak to this being out of character could also be beneficial to you however, this is something your lawyer could better advise you on.

Is presentation in court important?

The short answer is yes! When you attend court, presentation is important because of the seriousness of the situation. The court deserves a level of respect that many people do not give it.

 

It is important to consider the impression you want to make when appearing in court. Neat, respectful clothing is a good start. You do not necessarily need to go as formal as wearing a suit (though it is a good option), but you should stay away from low cut, offensive clothing. T-shirts or jackets with slang, swear words or slogans should be avoided and hats and sunglasses should not be worn inside the building.

 

People usually think that this type of presentation is not important but it could not be further from the truth. It is always going to be human nature to make some sort of character determination based on first impressions and when your freedom is hanging in the balance, first impressions are everything.

I Need To Appeal My Case

Am I able to appeal a decision made in either the Magistrate’s Court (Local Court) or the Supreme Court?

Yes! You always have the option of reviewing a decision made in any court by appealing the decision in the next highest court. For example, if you wanted to appeal a decision made in the Magistrate’s court, you would appeal it in the Supreme Court. You will be able to appeal your decision before a different judge than the one you had originally

Do I need a criminal lawyer Sydney or can I appeal the decision myself?

You can either have a lawyer appeal your decision for you or you can represent yourself, the decision is entirely pursuant to your circumstances at the time. If you have the means to pay a lawyer to represent you, then this is ultimately the best course of action. If you do not have exceptional circumstances, some magistrates will frown upon self-representation as a waste of the court’s time. In genuine circumstances, they may offer some leniency administratively, but seek the same justice at the end of the day. A lawyer will be able to pinpoint and articulate your main arguments and help you persuade the court of your position.

In the event you decide to represent yourself, seeking some initial legal advice could be beneficial. The following are some helpful tips:

  1. Make sure you have all documents and the necessary paperwork in front of you when appearing in court;
  2. Have a list of helpful dot points;
  3. Be sure to articulate yourself when speaking to the magistrate/judge; and
  4. Be sure to maintain eye contact.

There are several more strategies which you can utilise but the above are some useful tips that are specific to almost every scenario. If you require strategies more specific to your personal circumstances then seek legal advice.

What if my appeal is unsuccessful?

You can appeal the decision of any court until such time as it reaches the high court of Australia. This is the highest court in the country and once they make their decision, no further appeals are able to be made.

It is important to recognise that by the time your matter has reached the high court, it has already been reviewed by more than one court by judges and magistrates who have significant experience. The High Court is made up of 7 senior judges who have experience across all areas and aspects of law.

NSW Courts our criminal lawyers attend

Street Address: 368 Darling St
Postal address: PO Box 235 Burwood 1805
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Direct all enquiries to Burwood Local Court

Street Address: Cnr Chapel Road & The Mall
Postal address and email: PO Box 71 Bankstown NSW 2200 Email
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9722 6060
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 1 Kildare Rd
Postal address: PO Box 217 Blacktown NSW 2148
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9672 2666
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 7-9 Belmore St
Postal address: PO Box 235 Burwood 1805
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9744 4144
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

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Postal address: PO Box 186 Camden NSW 2570
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: (02) 4657 3105
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Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30

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Postal address: PO Box 91 Campbelltown NSW 2560
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 4629 9606
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Queen St
Postal address: PO Box 91 Campbelltown NSW 2560
Telephone: 4629 9777
Fax: 4629 9744
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 98 Liverpool St 
Postal address: PO Box 20495 World Square NSW 2000
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9264 3806
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Level 3 Downing Centre 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Postal address: PO Box A4 Sydney South 1235
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9287 7543
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Level 4 Downing Centre 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Postal address: PO Box A4 Sydney South 1235
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9287 7963
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Parramatta Court House 12 George Street Parramatta
Postal address: PO Box 92 Parramatta 2124
Telephone: 8688 4525
Fax: 8688 4913
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Cnr Spencer St & Court Rd
Postal address: PO Box 201 Fairfield NSW 2165
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9794 7979
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 294 Peats Ferry Rd
Postal address: PO Box 96 Hornsby 1630
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9847 9955
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 17 Montgomery Street
Postal address: C/- Sutherland PO Box 37 Sutherland NSW 22132
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours:
Telephone Hours:
Days open: All registry services are provided from Sutherland Local Court

Street Address: 150 George St
Postal address: PO Box 3435 Liverpool Westfields NSW 2170
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9821 7888
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 2 Belgrave Street
Postal address: PO Box 125 Manly NSW 1655
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9934 4545
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
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Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 59 North Parade
Postal address: PO Box 99 Mt Druitt NSW 2770
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9881 9188
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Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 222 Australia Street
Postal address: PO Box 575 Newtown NSW 2042
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9577 4040
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
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Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 12 George Street
Postal address: PO Box 92 Parramatta NSW 2124

District Court
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 8688 9602 (Criminal) 8688 9603 (Civil)
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon-Fri

Street Address: 2 George Street
Postal address: Locked Bag 5113 Parramatta NSW 2123
Telephone: 8688 1888
Fax: 8688 1999
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 64-72 Henry Street
Postal address: PO Box 318 Penrith NSW 2751
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 4720 1555
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 -4:30
Days open: Mon-Fri

Street Address: 288 Windsor Street
Postal address: PO Box 9 Richmond NSW 2753
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30

Street Address: 814 Victoria Road
Postal address: PO Box 22 Ryde 1680
Telephone: 1300 679 272
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Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: all registry enquiries are to be directed to Parramatta Local Court .

Street Address: 66-78 Albion Street
Postal address: PO Box K303 Haymarket NSW 1240
Telephone: 8667 2100
Fax: 8667 2130
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Cnr Flora and Belmont Streets
Postal address: PO Box 37 Sutherland NSW 2232
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9542 0244
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

(formerly Level 5 Downing Centre)

 

Street Address: Level 4, John Maddison Tower, 86 Goulburn St
Postal address: PO Box K1026 Haymarket NSW 2000
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9287 7188
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Frequently Asked Questions.

Our lawyers cover a multitude of areas, including more serious offences. Including but not limited to:

Family Violence
Family violence is among the most common cases we encounter, with both men and women subject to institutional abuse. While it doesn’t necessarily entail sexual abuse, in many cases, it does, and sexual assault is part of the Criminal Code. We handle such cases with confidentiality and cautiousness to ensure the best possible compensation outcomes.

Children-related Issues
The children’s court is frequently confronted with issues of child protection, children‚Äôs rights, custody arrangements as a result of divorce, parental responsibilities, and more.

Because we understand how far the impacts of such situations can go in the memories of children, we work rapidly and efficiently to establish protective measures against children’s trauma and minimize time spent in a children’s court. You and your children are fully protected with us!

Drugs
We have a track record of achieving outstanding results when it comes to drug offence charges, ranging from demolishing the possibility of a criminal conviction, dropping charges through negotiations, securing ‚Äúnot guilty‚ÄĚ verdicts in court trials, and more.

Our drug offences include commercial drug charges, drug importation charges, drug possession charges, and cultivating prohibited plant charges. We also work with minor possessions of prohibited drug offences, providing you with legal representation throughout the process!

Fraud

Fraud is considered one of the most scheming criminal offences, and accordingly, it is punished severely by the court system’s penal code and criminal code. As specified by Australia’s penal code, the penalties can go as high as ten years of imprisonment.

Accordingly, understanding the criminal law adequately and reaching out for professional legal advice to be your intermediary with the criminal justice system is a must. We specialize in forgery, identity crimes, tax fraud, Medicare fraud, and ID fraud.

Order 1 is the only mandatory order in an AVO. It applies to provisional, interim and final AVOs. It states:

You must not do any of the following to <protected people>, or anyone she/he/they has/have a domestic relationship with:

(a) assault or threaten her/him/they,

(b) stalk, harass or intimidate her/him/they, and

(c) intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage any property or harm an animal that belongs to or is in the possession of <protected people.

This order will remain in place even if you successfully applied to have the AVO amended to remove other conditions.

An AVO is an enforceable court order for the safety and protection of an individual or group of people. There are two (2) types of apprehended violence orders:

1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)

2. Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

 

ADVOs apply where incidents of alleged domestic or family violence offences have occurred. Domestic violence offences are an offence committed by one person against another person with whom the person who commits the offence has (or had) a domestic relationship. This means anyone you have or had an intimate relationship with such as a partner, child, roommate, etc.

 

Apprehended Personal Violence Orders apply where incidents of alleged personal violence offences have occurred. For example between friends, work colleagues, neighbours, etc.

You do not require Police assistance to apply for an AVO. You can speak with an Australian Legal Practitioner who can assist you to complete and file an application to the Local Court, or you can download and file an application yourself from the Court’s website. It is recommended that you obtain legal advice before filing an application. The process can be complex and you may not have sufficient or admissible evidence to support your application. You will be required to pay a filing fee when you lodge your application and if your application is unsuccessful, you may be required to pay a court fee and costs to the other party.

If you are an adult and have not committed a criminal offence in the past ten years, it is likely that any past convictions will no longer appear on your criminal record. However, just like your Snapchat photos, they never really go away.

Any convictions will still be noted in your criminal history and may need to be disclosed. For example, when applying for jobs in certain industries. Your criminal record is anything that you have plead guilty to or been convicted of. Your criminal history includes everything including AVOs, withdrawn or dismissed charges, not guilty verdicts, etc.

Offences may continue to appear in your criminal record if:

1. A prison sentence of six months or more was imposed

2. They are convictions for sexual offences

3. They are convictions against companies or other corporate bodies.

In NSW, the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act defines domestic violence and family violence as:

An offence committed by a person against another person with whom the person who commits the offence has (or has had) a domestic relationship being –

a) a personal violence offence; or

b) an offence (other than a personal violence offence) that arises from substantially the same circumstances as those from which a personal violence offence has arisen; or

c) an offence (other than a personal violence offence) the commission of which is intended to coerce or control the person against whom it is committed or to cause that person to be intimidated or fearful (or both)

You are in breach of an ADVO/APVO if you fail to comply with any of the conditions set out in the order. For example, contacting the PINOP when the order states that you cannot them.

The Police regularly conduct compliance checks to make sure people are complying with their ADVO/APVOs, however, anyone can make a report to the Police that an order is not being complied with.

The Police will investigate the allegations and determine whether a breach has occurred. If they believe it has, you can be arrested and charged with contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO. You may or may not be granted bail, depending on the seriousness of the breach, and required to appear in Court at a later date.

Breaching an AVO is a serious criminal offence and can result in a criminal conviction. The maximum penalty for breaching an AVO is 2 years imprisonment or a fine of $5,500.00 or both.

Bail is a promise to the Court that if you are released from custody after you have been charged, that you will appear before the Court on your next Court date. It is an order that can be made by Police or the Courts to release you after you have been charged with a criminal offence on the condition that you comply with the orders set out before your next Court appearance. Bail conditions may require you to reside at a particular address, comply with conditions of an AVO, not attend a particular address or location, report to Police on set days, etc.

 

There are two considerations the Court has to make when determining bail:

1. Is it a show cause offence ‚Äď that means, is the defendant required to show cause as to why he/she should be released on bail. Show cause offences include sexual offences, serious personal violence offences, certain firearms offences, certain drug offences and committing a serious indictable offence while on bail.

2. Unacceptable risk ‚Äď assesses whether a person is likely to attend Court when required, seriousness of the offence, safety of the individual, community and the victim, risk of interference with a witness or evidence. The assessment is based on a person‚Äôs criminal history, strength of the Prosecution‚Äôs case, previous bail compliance, etc.

If you are on bail, you will be required to comply with the conditions listed on your bail approval and attend Court when required. NSW Police regularly conduct random bail compliance checks.

If you are charged with another offence while on bail, regardless of the offence, your bail may be revoked by Police or the Court.

If you fail to comply with the conditions of your bail, you can be charged with breach of bail. Breach of bail is a criminal offence.

If you are convicted of the offence you are on bail for, your bail will be revoked on sentence.

Breaching bail is a criminal offence. If you commit a crime while on bail, it is considered an aggravating factor that increases the seriousness of the offence and thereby the sentence. If you are caught breaching your bail, you can charged, remanded into custody (depending on the seriousness of the breach) and brought before the Court. There are a number of sentencing options available to the Court, ranging from bail modification imprisonment.

If you breach bail by failing to attend Court, the maximum penalty is either the maximum penalty for the offence you are on bail for, three years imprisonment or a fine of $3,300.00. If you or a loved one provided a surety (money) to secure your bail, you may be required to forfeit it.

It is a defence if you can prove to the Court that you have a reasonable excuse e.g. you were admitted into hospital.

There are a number of reasons you could be refused bail. These include:

a) You are accused of an offence that is a show cause offence ‚Äď you will automatically be refused bail unless you can show cause as to why you should be granted bail e.g. a serious indictable offence such as wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm (if previously convicted), sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years and you are over the age of 18, etc.

b) The nature and seriousness of the offence.

c) Your criminal history.

d) The strength of the prosecution case.

e) Previous failure to comply with bail.

f) The likelihood of a custodial sentence.

g) Unacceptable risk of committing a serious offence or endangering the victim, individual or community

In most cases, you can only apply for bail once. However, there may be circumstances that arise that enable you to make a Bail Application. These include:

a. Change of circumstance e.g. COVID, hearing date vacated, unreasonable delays, etc

b. New evidence that wasn’t available at the time of the initial bail application.

If your bail has been denied in the Local Court, you may be able to make another bail application if you can prove:

1. There has been a change of circumstance to warrant another bail application, or

2. There is new evidence that wasn’t available at the time of the initial bail application.

Alternatively, you can apply for Supreme Court bail if you have been bail refused. You will need:

a) A fixed address including an affidavit from someone you will be living with stating you are allowed to live there

b) Bail conditions you want and are able to comply with

c) Character references

d) JusticeLink case number for matters

e) If you want bail to attend rehab, you will need to organise your own rehabilitation. You will also need a letter from a rehab facility stating you have been accepted and the date of your admission

You can apply to the Local Court to amend or revoke an AVO. However, it is unlikely that a Court will amend or revoke an AVO if:

a) The Police have made the application on behalf of the PINOP and hold concerns for the PINOP’s safety

b) The PINOP does not consent to the Order being changed or revoked

c) The Court is not satisfied that it is appropriate to do so

If you are charged with a criminal offence, the process differs depending on the

Summary offences and offences prosecuted summarily in the Local Court:

– Issued Court Attendance Notice

        РFirst Mention

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†–¬† ¬†Plead guilty¬† -> sentenced on the day¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†–¬† Plead not guilty

                               РService of Brief of evidence

                                     РDefence reply to brief

                                                РHearing- sentence on the day, if found guilty

Indictable offences:

– Committal in Local Court

     РMatter transferred to District or Supreme Court

         РPlead guilty   -> Sentence

        РPlead not guilty

            РTrail

               РConvicted

                   РAcquitetd

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† –¬† Sentenced

 

 

 

Common assault is a category of assault that is at the lower end of seriousness. It does not require physical contact or injury to occur. The maximum penalty for common assault is 2 years imprisonment and/or fine of $5,500

The elements of common assault are:

a) You assault any person

b) Not occasioning actual bodily harm

ABH or Actual Bodily Harm involves physical contact that results in the victim receiving an injury. For example, slapping someone across the face leaving a scratch, red mark, bruise, etc.

The maximum penalty for ABH is five years imprisonment. If it is an aggravated offence, e.g. it was committed in company with another person, the maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.

GBH or Grievous bodily harm involves physical contact that results in the victim receiving a significant, potentially life altering injury. For example, punching someone to the head resulting in brain injury. This category of assault is at the highest end of offending and there are a number of sub-categories.

The maximum penalty for recklessly inflict GBH is ten years imprisonment. If it is committed in company with the another person, the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

Indictable offences are dealt with by way of indictment in the District or Supreme Court. They involve a maximum penalty of more than two years imprisonment. Examples include:

· Murder

· Manslaughter

· Dangerous driving occasioning death

· Drug trafficking

Depending on the seriousness of the offence, the Prosecution has the discretion to deal with some indictable offences summarily. Examples include:

· Stalking and intimidation

· Identity offences

· Animal cruelty

· Unauthorised use or possession of a firearm

A summary offence is an offence that is not dealt with by indictment and is heard in the Local Court. The maximum penalty that may be imposed is no more than two years imprisonment. Examples include:

· Drink driving

· Drug driving

· Common assault

· Shop lifting

· Resist arrest

· Assault officer in the execution of duty

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