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Pleading Guilty to a Minor Offence in Court

If you are represented by a solicitor generally you will not have to say or do anything.
The following procedure will take place:

When your matter is mentioned your solicitor will get you to stand up so the Magistrate can see who they are sentencing.

Your solicitor may suggest that you adjourn your matter to another date so that further information can be gathered, a report can be obtained or to allow time for you to attend a relevant program.  This is common practice, unless instructed otherwise by you.

On the next date your matter is mentioned, you will again be required to stand up so the Magistrate can see who they are sentencing.  Your solicitor will confirm that you are pleading guilty and you will then sit down.

The prosecutor will tender some documents to the magistrate. These may include a QP9 – Court Brief, criminal record and if relevant a traffic record.  The prosecutor will also read out a summary of the charge as per the QP9 and may make a suggestion regarding an appropriate sentence.

Your solicitor will hand up any references and any other relevant documents at this time. Your solicitor will make submissions after the Magistrate has read what the prosecutor and your solicitor have handed to the court.

Your solicitor will stop talking and the Magistrate will start talking.  You should stand up when the Magistrate is speaking to you.

The Magistrate will usually make a decision and impose a sentence. It is unlikely that you will have to speak at any time during your sentence. If you are asked a question by the Magistrate, you should respond honestly to the Magistrate’s questions. You can always consult with your solicitor if you do not understand how to answer the Magistrate’s question. Always be polite and refer to the Magistrate as your Honour.

If you are unhappy with the decision do not argue with the Magistrate or pass comment. Speak with your solicitor outside the court room about your rights to appeal.

The information contained in this page was accurate at the time it was published. You should confirm the accuracy of this information with us or another solicitor before relying upon it.

Sentencing for a Guilty Plea to a Minor Offence in Court

The Magistrate will consider the summary presented by the prosecutor and the submissions made by your solicitor when deciding the appropriate penalty to be imposed. The Magistrate may decide to deal with your matter immediately or may want to adjourn your matter so he or she can consider the material presented to them more thoroughly.

The information contained in this page was accurate at the time it was published. You should confirm the accuracy of this information with us or another solicitor before relying upon it.

Penalties for a Guilty Plea to a Minor Offence in Court

For minor offences the first three types of penalties are most likely for first time offenders. It is important to note that the penalty will generally be more serious each time an offender commits a new offence, even if the offence the new offence is minor.

Further, the Court may impose more than one of the penalties.  For example, you may get a fine as well as be ordered to complete community service.

Conviction vs No Conviction Recorded

Aside from your penalty, the Court must also make an order as to whether your conviction for the charge is recorded or not.

If most instances the Court will order that your conviction is recorded and for Intensive Correction Order, Suspended Sentence, Imprisonment and Parole penalties imposed, the Court must record a conviction. If your conviction is recorded, you are required to declare that conviction when requested on formal documents.

In some limited cases, the Court may decide that no conviction be recorded in respect of a charge despite entering a plea of guilty. The Court is only obligated to make an order that no conviction be recorded if it imposes an Absolute Release or Good Behaviour Bond.  For penalties Fines and Restitution; Community Service Order and Probation, the Court has discretion whether to record a conviction or not.

It is unlikely that the Court will be will make an order that no conviction be recorded, unless you are a first time offender.  Even if you are a first time offender, the Court may still consider the circumstances of your matter are such that a conviction must be recorded.

It is important to note that this order is somewhat deceiving, as the charge will appear on your criminal history.  As in some situations you may still be required to declare your conviction despite the fact the Magistrate ordered that no conviction be recorded.  Accordingly, should always seek advice from a solicitor if you are unsure whether you are required to declare your conviction or not, this is of particular concern in certain job industries and in travel.

The information contained in this page was accurate at the time it was published. You should confirm the accuracy of this information with us or another solicitor before relying upon it.

 

If you have are due to appear in court for either a criminal or driving offence it is important to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in this area.

Call us on 1300 331 331 or book an appointment to see one of our lawyers.

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