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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Melbourne Criminal Lawyers - Criminal Defence Lawyers Melbourne - Defense Lawyers - Ondrik Larsen Lawyers

If you are unable to locate an answer to your query on our website or in our FAQs, please contact Ondrik Larsen Lawyers, we are happy to assist you with any question you might have regarding your legal situation.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT A LEGAL ISSUE? ASK OUR LAWYERS.

Ask our Lawyers!

We practice exclusively in criminal law, which means that we know what we are talking about and we are brilliant at it.

We think it’s more important to excel in one area, than to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

For information of the areas of law we practice, please click on our What We Do link.  Otherwise, feel free to contact us to discuss your matter and how we can help you.

Contact Ondrik Larsen Lawyers immediately.  We will act instantaneously and contact the police to find out where your family member or friend has been taken to ensure we provide them with the right legal advice.

If you or someone you know has been arrested but hasn’t been released after an interview by police, contact us immediately.  We can see this person in custody and start working with them to commence an application for bail as quickly as possible.  For more information on bail, click here.

You should always speak to a lawyer before you speak to the police no matter how big or small the case may seem, because anything you say to police can be used against you later on.

Generally speaking, you have the right to silence when speaking with the police and therefore you do not need to answer any questions or provide a statement to the police. However, there are situations that you must provide the police with your name and address when asked.

The police can lawfully demand your name and address if:

1.    They reasonably believe that you have committed an offence;

2.    They reasonably believe that you are about to commit an offence;

3.    If they believe you would be able to assist them with providing information regarding an indictable (serious) offence;

4.    If you are the driver of a vehicle or boat and have been asked to provide identification;

5.    If you have been requested to leave a public place or ‘move’ because they suspect that you are either disrupting or likely to disrupt the peace; behaving in a manner that could be dangerous to the safety of the public or that your behaviour is likely to cause injury or damage to property;

6.    If you are in a licenced premises or a hotel establishment;

7.    If you are on public transport such as a bus, train or tram, or are on public transport property.  Please note that protective service officers (PSOs) and public transport inspectors can also ask for your name and address.

It is always an offence to give a false name and address to police.  If you give a false name and address, you may be charged and brought before a court.  It is also a criminal offence not to provide your name and address in any of the above circumstances, however, you can exercise your right to silence and answer “no comment” to all other questions.

Police officers also have obligations under the law. They must:

•    tell you the reason for asking for your name and address and if they don’t, you have the right to ask them and they must tell you;

•    tell you their name, rank and the police station they are from, if you ask them;

•    put those details in writing for you, if you ask them.

If a police officer refuses to provide you with their details after you have requested them, either verbally or writing, they are committing an offence.

Contact our legal team today for legal advice if you have been asked to attend a police station or have already been interviewed by police – one call to the right lawyer can make a real difference to the outcome of your matter.

Can the police search my house?

Police are required to obtain a search warrant in order to search your house. If the police ever ask to enter your premises, you should always ask for a copy of the warrant first and read it carefully.

If the police do not have a search warrant, the only way they can lawfully enter your premises is if:

•    you invite them in/by consent;

•    they reasonably suspect that they will find someone who has either escaped custody, or that they will find someone inside who as committed a serious indictable offence and they need to enter in order to arrest them;

•    they have a warrant to arrest someone who is on the premises.

•    someone on the premises has breached an intervention order or family violence safety notice, or in other certain circumstances relating to family violence;

•    to stop a breach of the peace – such as a fight or brawl.

Can the police search me or my car?

The police do not need a search warrant to search you or your car if they reasonably suspect that you are carrying illegal drugs, weapons or stolen goods, to preserve evidence or if you are in a ‘designated area’.
Before searching you or your vehicle on the basis that you are in a ‘designated area,’ the police are required to give you a notice saying that the area you are in has been declared a ‘designated area,’ that they have the power to search, and if you stop the police from searching you or your vehicle you will be committing an offence.

You should always:

•    Ask the police their reason for wanting to search you – even if they have a search warrant.  The police must tell you their reason.

•    Ask the police officer for a copy of their written record taken while they performed the search.  You are entitled to a copy of this written record, including the property receipt for any property they have seized.

If you require further advice, contact our legal team today!

Your rights:

•    You have the right to know why you are under arrest;

•    You have the right to remain silent;

•    You have the right to speak to a lawyer;

•    You have the right to speak to a friend or family member before an interview;

•    You have a right to an interpreter;

•    If you are not an Australian citizen, you have the right to speak to the consulate of your country.

You must:

•    State your full name and address.  Giving a false name and address is a criminal offence.

•    Provide your fingerprints at the end of the interview if you are believed to have committed a serious offence and are aged 15 or above (if you are aged between 10 and 14, the police must obtain a court order).

You do not have to:

•    Go to a police station unless you have been told that you are under arrest.

•    Answer any questions, or make a statement.  You can exercise your right to silence or right to give a no comment interview.  Exercising this right will not make you look any better or worse when your case comes to court.  Remember, don’t selectively answer some questions and not answer others.  You either tell the full truth, or exercise your right to silence.

•    Participate in an identification parade, otherwise known as an identification line-up.

•    Undergo a forensic procedure without a court order.  This includes providing a DNA sample by an oral mouth swab or a hair sample.

•    Have your photograph taken.  While the police may take your photograph for identification purposes, they cannot force you to have your photograph taken if you do not provide your consent.

 

The right to speak with a lawyer:

Police must always read you your rights before conducting an interview with you, regardless of whether the interview is recorded or not. You should always exercise your right to obtain legal advice from one of our lawyers before saying anything to the police.

Why?

Because anything you say to the police can be used against you, and in our experience, most people are convicted as a result of what they have said to police in an interview. It is critical that you seek our advice prior to speaking with the police to avoid the potential of making matters worse – regardless of how big or small you think the issue is.

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as an “off the record” conversation with a police officer.

The right to silence:

Many lawyers tend to advise their clients to give a “no comment” record of interview in every case.  While this may be the right advice in some cases, in others, that’s just taking a short-cut.

Sometimes it does benefit you to provide your version of events in a record of interview – but only after you have received proper legal advice.  It does not help your case if you selectively answer some questions and not others, so it’s important that you contact us to obtain legal advice before you are interviewed.

If you have been asked to attend a police station for the purpose of being interviewed, or if you have participated in a police record of interview, contact our lawyers today – getting the right legal advice from lawyers who are experienced in criminal law may make all the difference to the outcome of your matter.

The police will either:

a)    Release you without charging you;

b)    Release you pending summons.  This means that the police intend on charging you in the future, where you will be served with your charge sheet and summons.  Alternatively, they will serve you a notice to appear;

c)    Charge you but either:

–    Release you on bail from the police station; or

–    Have a bail justice attend the police station to release you on bail.

d)    Charge you and bring you to the Magistrates’ Court to make an application to remand you in custody.  You will be able to make an Application for bail in the Magistrates’ Court for all other charges other than murder and treason, which must be heard in the Supreme Court.  For further information on making an application for bail, click here.

Contact us immediately if you have been approached by the police regarding a legal matter.  We can take steps to assist you, even if you haven’t been charged.  This may help you to avoid charges altogether.

The key to success is getting in touch with us as quickly as possible, and having Ondrik Larsen Lawyers prepare your case diligently to develop the best strategy for your case.  Call us today – we will help you.

At the conclusion of your interview, you will be given a copy of the recording and it’s crucial that you provide it to our office as soon as possible.

Why?

Because we can start working on your case immediately, regardless of whether or not you have been charged yet.  If you haven’t been charged yet, we may be able to avoid charges altogether if you act quickly enough. If you have been charged after being interviewed by police, we can start developing a strategy and begin gathering evidence from the police – so it’s important that you contact our lawyers today to protect your future.

You have a right to apply for bail before a Bail Justice at the police station.  If the Bail Justice refuses bail, you will be taken to the Magistrates’ Court where the police will apply to remand you in custody.  You will also have an opportunity to apply to be released on bail at this hearing.

If someone you know has been held in custody after being interviewed by police, contact us immediately.  We can either speak to, or see your friend/relative in custody and start working with them to commence an application for bail as quickly as possible.  For more information on bail, click here.

Unfortunately the law does not specify an exact time limit, but what the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) does say, is that a person must be released either:

•    Unconditionally; or

•    on bail; or

•    be brought before a bail justice (at the police station) or the Magistrates’ Court within a “reasonable time”.

There is no real definition of “reasonable time” and it will turn on the particular facts of each case.  If you know someone who has been kept in custody for an unreasonable amount of time, contact us immediately.

The short answer is that you can apply for bail as many times as you like. But the realistic answer is that you only have one chance at applying for bail with a legal representative.

If a legal representative applies for bail on your behalf and bail is refused, you can only succeed on a future application in the Magistrates Court if you can demonstrate that new facts and circumstances have arisen since the previous application. Alternatively, you can make a further application for bail before a Judge in the Supreme Court.

We believe that it is important to engage an experienced lawyer at the onset of your legal matter to avoid the delay, stress and legal expenses that can be associated with unsuccessful bail applications, not to mention additional time spent in custody!

For more detailed information on bail applications including when to apply for bail and the thresholds applicable in certain cases, click here.

Having the right legal team who are willing to walk the extra mile to fight for their client’s freedom can make all the difference to a bail application – so if you know someone who is currently in custody wishing to apply for bail, contact our experienced legal team today  – we will help.

Your case will be listed for hearing in court where your charges are determined by a Magistrate or a Judge, depending on the type of charges.

You will be notified of your hearing date:

•    When you receive your charge sheet on leaving the police station. If you have been bailed from a police station, you will usually be given a copy of the charges and your bail conditions will state when you will need to appear in court.

•    When you receive a summons at a later date which will state the charges and the date you will need to appear at court.

•    If you have not been released from custody after being charged, contact our office to discuss making an application for bail.  For more information regarding bail applications click here.

Summary Offences:

Generally, less serious offences (summary matters) will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.  The usual court process for summary matters is as follows:

  •     Mention date (first court date)
  •     Case conference
  •     Contest mention
  •     Contest

If you intend to plead guilty, a plea hearing can be conducted at any stage of the proceedings.  Generally speaking, if a plea of guilty is entered sooner rather than later, it is usually taken into consideration favourably upon sentencing.

If you are in custody pending the hearing of your case (on remand), a bail application can be listed for hearing at any of the above hearings, or alternatively, it can be listed on another date.

 

 

Indictable Offences:

If you have been charged with more serious offences (indictable matters), generally, the process will be as follows:

Stage One:  Magistrates’ Court

  • Filing hearing (and possibly remand/bail application)

 

  • Committal Mention Hearing and/or Committal Case Conference

 

  •  Committal Hearing: at this hearing the case will either be discharged or you will be committed to stand trial or for a plea either in the County Court or the Supreme Court (depending on the charges)

Stage Two:  County or Supreme Court (depending on charges)

  •     Directions Hearing (there may be a number of these)
  •     Trial or Plea Hearing

If you are in custody pending the hearing of your case (on remand), a bail application can be listed in court for hearing at any of the above hearings, or alternatively, it can be listed on another date.

For further information or legal advice, contact our legal team at Ondrik Larsen Lawyers today.

In some cases, an application can be made to the Court to have serious charges heard and determined in the Magistrates’ Court (this is called making an Application for Summary Jurisdiction), instead of being heard in the higher courts.  Below are some of the advantages of making such an application if the circumstances of the case permit:

•    In the Magistrates’ Court, your case will be heard by judge alone, whereas in the County Court, your case will be heard by judge and a jury of your peers;

•    The severity of the applicable sentence will also be affected depending on whether the case is heard in the Magistrates’ Court or County Court.  For example, the maximum penalty that can be imposed in the Magistrates’ Court cannot exceed 2 years imprisonment, whereas in the County Court, the maximum penalty can be applied (in some cases this can be life imprisonment).

To determine whether there is a possibility in keeping your case in the Magistrates’ Court, or to make an application for bail, contact Ondrik Larsen Lawyers as soon as possible.

Yes you can, though it is not wise to.  As the saying goes, “He who represents himself, has a fool for a client” – Abraham Lincoln.

Are you actually guilty?

What you might think is a “strong case” against you may not always be the case from our point of view. For example, you might think that because your blood alcohol reading is over .05, that you have no chance of beating your charge – this is not the case.  You might think that having your fingerprints found at the scene of the crime means you will have no chance of beating your charge– this not the case.

It is highly beneficial to have one of our experienced lawyers who deal exclusively in criminal law to examine every piece of evidence against you with a fine toothcomb, as there are always many circumstances and technical legal defences to be considered that often go unnoticed by other lawyers who don’t have the time and/or experience that you deserve.

Experience

There are many complicated rules and procedures in presenting a case in court of which many people are unaware. It can be very daunting to present your case before a Magistrate/Judge in these circumstances, while also trying to put the very best case forward. Conversely, our lawyers are very skilled and experienced at what they do – they develop strategies for your case, they have the skills to negotiate, they understand the procedures involved and they know exactly what kind of material you need to support you in your plea in order to get you the best result.

Independence

If you represent yourself in court, you are under examination throughout the entire hearing as everything you say in court can be used against you. On the other hand, our lawyers are independent and will act as your mouthpiece, knowing what needs to be said and how to say it.

If you have a legal matter and need legal advice or representation, contact Ondrik Larsen Lawyers today, we will assist you.

We will discuss our fees with you at your first conference, where we will provide you with our written costs disclosure statement clearly setting out our fees and an estimate of the likely legal fees for your case.

We are a boutique firm who charge our clients reasonable prices for our services.  Where possible, we will charge fixed fees so you know exactly how much your case will cost from the beginning, with no hidden extras.

We pride ourselves on being open to our clients about our fees and your trust is valuable to us, so you can feel confident in knowing that we will not hit you with any hidden charges.

If you would like to know more, please contact our office today.

We do not take on legally aided matters.  We are a boutique firm and charge our clients reasonable prices for our services, and where possible, charge fixed fees so you know exactly how much your case will cost, with no hidden extras.

Contact our office today to discuss what we can do for you.

We believe that every person is entitled to have the best legal representation and that money shouldn’t stop this from happening.  If you have tried to get legal aid assistance elsewhere but do not qualify, contact our office to discuss your circumstances and we will do our best to come to a payment arrangement.

Unfortunately criminal lawyers cannot offer no-win no-fee services.  But contact our office today to discuss your matter and the ways we are able to assist you.

We will consider a limited number of pro bono matters where they are in the public interest and have considerable prospects of success.

Contact our lawyers if you have a matter you wish to discuss with us.

Bail means the temporary release of a person who has been charged by the police or other authority, and is awaiting trial.  Often, if bail is granted, certain conditions will be put in place to ensure that the accused person appears at court on a specific date – this can include for example that a sum of money be lodged by another person to guarantee the accuseds appearance in court.

For further information on bail, including when to apply for bail and the thresholds applicable in certain cases, click on our Bail links under our What We Do page.

Having the right legal team who are willing to walk the extra mile to fight for their client’s freedom can make all the difference to a bail application – so if you know someone who is currently in custody wishing to apply for bail, contact our experienced legal team today  – we will help.

When a person is “on remand” or “remanded in custody”, this means that they are in police/prison custody awaiting trial.  They will remain “on remand” (in custody) until they are sentenced and released from custody, or unless a successful application for bail is made on their behalf.  Most people in prison on remand have not been convicted of a criminal offence and are waiting for their case to be finalised – this may take many, many months or even years to finalise.

For more detailed information on bail applications including when to apply for bail and the thresholds applicable in certain cases, click here.

Having the right legal team who are willing to walk the extra mile to fight for their client’s freedom can make all the difference to a bail application – so if you know someone who is currently in custody wishing to apply for bail, it is crucial that you contact our experienced legal team today  – we will help.

A lawyer is a general term used for someone who provides legal advice and who has:

•    completed their law degree; and

•    has been admitted to practice by the Supreme Court

An attorney is an American word for “lawyer”.

If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss, contact our experienced lawyers today.

Nothing.  A lawyer and a solicitor are interchangeable terms used for someone who provides legal advice and who has:

•    completed their law degree; and

•    has been admitted to practice by the Supreme Court.

If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss, contact our experienced lawyers today.

A solicitor is usually the first person you call when the police want to speak to you, or after you have been charged with an offence.  Solicitors generally prepare your entire case for you, and amongst many other things:

•    provide you with legal advice;

•    have conferences with you, whether it be in their office or if you are in custody we will visit you in jail;

•    draft court documents and letters;

•    communicate with the courts, the police, prosecutors and forensic experts on your behalf;

•    negotiate your case with police and prosecutors;

•    obtain documents including briefs of evidence from the police;

•    instruct barristers in court and often appear in court themselves;

•    prepare briefs for barristers (i.e all the documents they require to represent your case)

Barristers are a type of lawyer, but their specialty is presenting your case to a Court and providing specialist advice.  They are independent from solicitors firms and are self-employed.

If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss, contact our experienced lawyers today.