Criminal Law Frequently Asked Questions

Q & A with our Criminal Law Department

Scenarios and outcomes

Do I need a lawyer?

Having an experienced criminal lawyer represent you before the court for any offence is vital to reduce or mitigate any penalty or imprisonment. Our criminal lawyers deal regularly with police charges and represent our clients on a daily basis before magistrates across NSW and QLD.

What information do you require?

It is important that you give fully detailed information even if you think it’s not important. Quite often the small things are significant. Remember your lawyer acts on the facts available both supplied by the authorities AND you. No one likes surprises, least of all your lawyer.

The documents we require include the Court Attendance Notice with Facts Sheet (NSW), QP9 (police summary of facts Qld) if available at time of consultation. Quite often they are not available until the first mention date. In addition contact details of any witnesses, photographs and statement of your account of events are required.

Can I talk to my partner/friends/family about my case?

Short answer…no. You should be cautious about providing any information to anyone in relation to an active case. That person may be called as a witness against you. The last thing you want is leakage and contamination of your matter. Only private communication between yourself and your lawyer is privileged.

Once charged with a criminal offence, we suggest you stay off Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snap Chat. Since quite often those media outlets can contain information that might assist the prosecution.

Quite often people say that they were not convicted in a court, but in essence if they enter a plea of guilty then there must be a conviction and it is a question then as to whether it is recorded. If this situation occurs and somebody outside the court system asks you if you have a conviction, then you are entitled to say “no” if it has not been recorded. The details stay on the court system however as a record if you are back before the court on any fresh charge. If there is to be a conviction we like to get those which are NOT recorded.

Can a criminal record affect me if recorded?

Yes on many levels including:

  1. Travelling overseas. A criminal record may prevent you from entering into certain countries. You should check with the relevant embassy before travelling. Physical violence matters and drug convictions especially can prevent you from entering many countries.
  2. Gaining employment. A criminal conviction can follow you around for many years. More and more employers require criminal checks and have this question in their application forms.
  3. Renting property. Most potential landlords want to know the background of the potential tenant before accepting their application. This can include a criminal background check. People tend to be naturally cautious about someone who has a criminal record.
  4. If not a naturalised citizen and contemplating becoming an Australian citizen requiring you to satisfy that you are a fit and proper person.

When you are facing charges that can lead to a criminal record, you should always obtain legal representation to defend you at a court hearing.

Can I appeal a court decision?

Yes, either on all grounds or only as to penalty imposed.

Should I do a Traffic Offender Program?

Yes, in either NSW or Qld drink driving charges. Failure to do one does not mean the penalty can be greater but you fail to get the benefit of a lesser by doing one. Our client’s invariably tell us they got tremendous benefit from doing it.

What are the consequences of an AVO in NSW or a DVO in Qld?

If served with one in either State you can consent without admission of the facts alleged in the application. The alternative is to contest but success is never guaranteed. The period of the order can vary in NSW, usually one or two years, two years being quite common but now five years in QLD. This time can be lessened if circumstances are demonstrated as to why this should occur. Consenting to an order in either State is NOT a criminal offence but a proven breach is and can carry gaol time.

The police want to speak to me. What do I do?

Ring Attwood Marshall. Your call will be taken 24/7. You are required to give your name, age and address. You must be cautioned about saying anything and again the short answer is…say nothing.

If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offence, then get prompt advice and a dedicated criminal law expert on your side meet our team.  With four offices conveniently located at Kingscliff | Coolangatta | Robina | Brisbane, you can also visit us at an office near you or call us on 1800 621 071.

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