GOING TO COURT

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HAVE YOU RECEIVED A CHARGE AND SUMMONS?

 

If you have received a Charge and Summons to appear in court, or a notice to appear, or have been arrested for a criminal offence, it is really important that you get legal advice from our criminal lawyers as soon as possible, particularly if you have been arrested.  We will examine every detail of your case, including the lawfulness of any arrest.

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 circumstances.

What our criminal lawyers will do once we have your instructions to act is:

We will start working immediately without delay.  Every minute counts towards getting you the best outcome.

  • If you have already been charged, we will start preparing your case.  This includes speaking to the police on your behalf, obtaining your brief and any other documents or information relating to your case from the police or other prosecuting authority;
  • We will develop a case strategy identifying the strengths and weaknesses in the prosecution case and advise you of how the matter should proceed;
  • We will provide you with realistic advice, including being upfront and honest about your prospects.
  • Rest assured we will evaluate your case, thoroughly examining all elements with a fine toothcombe to ensure that every fact, matter, and issue is fully investigated and used in your defence.

The Court Process – What to expect

Summary Offences:

Generally, less serious offences (summary matters) will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

The usual court process/number of hearings for summary matters where the charges are being contested, 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.

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).

Contact Ondrik Larsen Lawyers today for a confidential discussion about your matter.

*IMPORTANT INFORMATION*

It is crucial that you obtain the right legal advice before going to court.  If you have been served with a charge and summons, contact our Melbourne criminal lawyers for advice today.

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