All criminal matters in Queensland start in the Magistrates’ Court. A matter then can either be finally determined in the Magistrates’ Court before a Magistrate sitting alone, or may need to be moved to a higher court being either the District or Supreme Court.
Where a trial is heard in the District or Supreme Court, the matter is heard generally before a judge and jury. It is important that you are aware of any proper defences that you may have to any charges made against you.
Our law firm prides itself on ensuring you are fully aware of your rights, your defences and the court process and procedures. Appearing in court for at any time can be a daunting experience for anyone. There are so many unknown factors about what will happen and how your matter will be progressed.
Our solicitors at Aitken Whyte Lawyers are experienced in providing guidance and advice on what to expect, how long the process takes and the best course of action for the defence of the charges that have been brought against you. You shouldn't go to court by yourself without first having a lot of answers. Surprises in this forum are not always pleasant.
Any person who has been given a bench charge sheet, notice to appear or summons will need to go to court. The document given by the police will set out where and when you need to go to court. It should also set out the offence you have been charged with. If you don’t turn up to court when you are meant to, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
You should call our law firm at least a few days before your court date so we can talk you through what is going to happen and make sure that you are well informed before getting to court on the first day.
Our lawyers will be liaising with the prosecutors throughout the carriage of your matter in court. At first this will be the police prosecutors. More cases in courts are finalised in the Magistrates’ Court than any other court but if your matter needs to be dealt with in another court, then we will also be dealing with the Department of Public Prosecutions and their prosecution team. It could well mean that we can make submissions to the prosecutor and either have the charges against you withdrawn or the offences lessened. Your case may also be one that can be dealt with properly through Justice Mediation rather than having a court determine the outcome.
We deal with all types of criminal offences and which regularly include, but are not limited to the following:
We also deal with all social security fraud and Centrelink fraud cases. These matters are also dealt with in the state Magistrates’ Courts although they are offences against the Commonwealth rather than against Queensland. The courts and the Commonwealth take these offences seriously and the end results can result in offenders spending actual time in prison. They should not be taken lightly and your taking our lawyers to court with you could well mean the difference between a custodial or non custodial sentence.
The end result of the defence of your criminal matter is also important to you. There are various penalties and sentences that can be imposed by courts if an accused is found guilty or pleads guilty. The sentencing can include good behavior bonds, fines, community service orders, probation and imprisonment (whether actual imprisonment or suspended sentences).
The offender can also be ordered in conjunction with other sentences to attend courses such as an under the limit program, drug counseling or gambling programs.
For property related offences and fraud, orders for restitution are also common.
For some people who have little to no relevant criminal history or the offence in question is quite minor, there may be an opportunity to have any conviction not recorded. This can have a big impact on a person’s future career or social prospects so we will discuss issues like this with you and whether it is appropriate and likely that the court in your matter will entertain the submission and not record any conviction.
Aitken Whyte Lawyers
7/31-33 Plaza Parade, Maroochydore
Ph: +617 5408 0655
Fax: +617 3211 9311