Criminal matters arise when a person breaks a criminal law and is charged with an offence. Criminal charges are laid by and prosecuted by the Police or other government agencies.
Traffic matters and Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders are also dealt with by the Criminal Courts, even though they are not strictly criminal.
You will know that you are in a criminal matter if you have been arrested and charged with an offence by the Police and have received a Court Attendance Notice, or you have been served with a summons to attend a criminal court or you have elected to have a traffic offence heard in court.
If you have been accused of a criminal offence and have been arrested by Police it is usually better if you do not participate in a formal interview or offer any information to Police until you have received some legal advice. Remember the words “You are not obliged to say anything, but anything you do say may be used in evidence against you.” Once you do make a statement it becomes evidence that may be used to convict you.
Always remember that the Police will take notes of the events around your arrest. They will use those notes to refresh their memory for any court hearing, which may be months later. If arrested you should do the same – write down what happened, note any witnesses who may assist your version of events.
If the Police have sufficient evidence they will charge you. If the offence is serious and you are considered to be a danger to the public or unlikely to attend court you may be held in custody in which case you will be brought before the Court at the first opportunity. For less serious matters you may be given police bail and released to appear in Court at a later date.
Not many people are professional criminals. Most people who appear in courts are there because they have made an error of judgement, are a victim of particular circumstances, have reacted poorly to some provocation, are in possession of a small quantity of drugs in a social setting or have drunk too much alcohol.
Common offences in the local courts are drunk driving (PCA offences), common assault / affray, driving while suspended or disqualified.
If you are convicted of a criminal offence the conviction can be held against you for future employment, insurance coverage and visa applications for overseas travel.
If you are in trouble in a criminal matter contact our office for immediate advice. If the matter is urgent ring Bob Ramsey (0417 418 774)
No matter whether you are pleading guilty or defending a charge you need legal representation to guide you through the process.