Successful Criminal Lawyers Sydney
SCB Legal addresses your criminal matters
Successful Criminal Lawyers Sydney
SCB Legal addresses your criminal matters
Successful Criminal Lawyers Sydney
SCB Legal addresses your criminal matters
SCB Legal‘s criminal lawyers make sure you receive a successful outcome. Our impressive track record, having won 98% of all criminal law matters, means you can rest assured that you’re in the most capable hands. We offer comprehensive criminal legal services by successfully simplifying andating consolidate your legal needs in Sydney. Positioned as a one-stop legal shop with extensive experience in all areas of the law, our criminal solicitors provide a holistic solution for all your legal needs.
We pride ourselves on the values we espouse like trust, honesty, experience, offering value added services, simplifying the law, being down to earth and treating all people equally. We help ALL people irrespective of whether they can afford normal legal costs. Every person is provided with the same expert legal representation regardless of their financial background. SCB Legal expertly analyses your matter, thoroughly explains the process and delivers on its promises.
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Facts About Our Reputable Criminal Law Division
- Dedicated to providing the best legal advice for all clients, irrespective of their financial standing
- Fixed fees affording you peace of mind, because you know what the process will cost from the onset
- Making the process easier and more affordable, as we know it’s imperative that you secure lawyers you can trust, who care about your criminal matters
- We are lawyers that accept payment plans. In fact, 60-70% of our clients are on payment plans
- Have won 98% of our cases!
- We care about YOU and do our utmost to make the process as seamless as possible
While this is likely to be an anxious time for you, rest assured that our experienced criminal lawyers will help you and successfully defend your rights. We pride ourselves on treating all people equally and simplifying the law, making sure you understand the process, every step of the way.
Whether you are a child, young person or adult, SCB Legal will provide you with the best legal advice and representation. We have represented clients in a range of jurisdictions all over Australia. You are entitled to the best legal advice available, which is why we will endeavour to help you irrespective of whether or not you can afford normal legal costs.
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Questions pertaining to Criminal law include:
- whether to plead guilty or not guilty
- what penalties and costs might apply
- how to prepare for court
- whether you should appeal
Our lawyers have experience with traffic offences including:
- Drink driving
- Drug driving
- Negligent driving
- Speed camera and police radar
- Speeding fines
- Licence suspension appeals
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The Court Process Explained
A criminal defence lawyer can guide you through the court process and help you avoid confusion, as well as advise you on whether your case has a chance of going to a higher court.
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What is a Court Attendance Notice?
After you’ve been charged, you’ll be given a number of documents. It’s important that you read and understand each one fully, in order to understand the offence with which you’ve been charged and the next steps in the process.
What happens when you’re charged with a criminal offence?
In which court will I need to appear?
Although most criminal cases can be dealt with in the local court, more serious cases which are called indictable offences can proceed to the District or Supreme Courts.
Criminal offences are placed in 4 general categories:
- Summary offences: the least serious criminal offences that are usually dealt with in the Local Court.
- Table 2 offences: can be dealt with in either the Local Court or District Court.
- Table 1 offences: are usually more serious than table 2 offences and are mostly dealt with in the District Court.
- Strictly indictable offences: the most serious criminal offences that can only be finalised in the District or Supreme Court, depending on the charge.
Depending on the severity of your crime, you may be required to attend a higher court to hear your charges. When at the high court and if you’re pleading not guilty, your charges will be read out to you and you will confirm your plea of not guilty. This process is known as arraignment.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you don’t agree with the charges you can choose to plead not guilty and request that the case proceed to hearing (if being dealt with in the Local Court) or Trial (if being dealt with in the District or Supreme Court). If your matter proceeds to Trial, this will usually be heard before a Jury, but you can request for it to be decided before a Judge only.
Whenever a not guilty plea is entered, the case will eventually proceed to trial before a judge and jury. The prosecution will present their evidence against you and you can present evidence to support your innocence and prove that the charges are incorrect.
If you choose to plead not guilty and move to trial by jury, it is highly advisable to seek a criminal lawyer to help prepare your case and argue on your behalf during the proceedings.
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If you decide to plead guilty, the facts and criminal record are handed (“tendered”) up to the Court and the Magistrate/Judge reads the documents. It is at this juncture that the defence has the opportunity to make submissions and or provide information. The accused or their lawyer will respond to the charges and offer any information they want to be taken into consideration, when the judge is deciding on a sentence.
If your matter is being dealt with in a higher court, the Higher Court Judge will either decide your penalty immediately or adjourn the matter. Adjournment is more probable in more serious cases, where a prison term is likely.
Depending on a range of factors including the seriousness of the offence and your criminal record, the Court may order a pre-sentence report to be prepared and submitted for consideration. This report contains gathered information about the offender to provide context and situation. It includes information about their family situation, education and background, including medical and psychological history and whether they pose any risk to the community.
The court isn’t bound by the recommendations made within the report but it can help the judge decide on alternative sentencing options, including home detention or Intensive Correction Orders.
Intensive Correction Orders are issued by the court and order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as:
- attending mandatory treatment or counselling
- not consuming alcohol
- complying with a curfew rather than sentencing you to prison time
Taking the stand may also work in your favour, as the judge can then see first hand that you are genuinely remorseful and keep that under consideration.
The option exists to voluntarily start counselling, drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, in order to demonstrate that you are making active changes to ensure you don’t re-offend.
The process of a jury trial:
- The jury is sworn in, unless it was decided that the trial will be conducted with a judge alone.
- There are usually 12 jury members, with the exception of long trials within the Supreme Court, where as many as 15 people may be sworn in.
- The prosecutor makes opening remarks and calls witnesses to provide evidence that supports their charges.
- You or your lawyer can question or cross-examine the witnesses about the evidence they have provided.
- The defending party then presents their witnesses.
- The prosecutor is able to question or cross-examine these witnesses in the same way.
- The lawyers from both sides address the jury, who will hear a summary and directions from the judge before deliberating.
- Once the jury has returned, they deliver the verdict – guilty or not guilty. If the jurors were unable to come to an agreement, they may advise that they cannot deliver a verdict at that time.
- If the jury arrives at a verdict of not guilty (called an acquittal), the accused is free to leave and is discharged. If the verdict is guilty, the judge will set a date for sentencing.
Criminal Law – Types of Charges
There are different types of charges that have various consequences. Some include certain fees and penalties and others include jail time. SCB Legal’s criminal lawyers will patiently explain any questions you might have.
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What Is Assault?
Assault can include punching, hitting or kicking another person, even without causing bodily harm. The most common type of assault is referred to as Common Assault. Though any type of touch can be classed as common assault, an arrest will not usually be made unless significant force is used or if it can be proved that threats of violence were made.
Penalties For Assault
In NSW, common assault carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment. Usually, people are charged when they assault another person but do not cause bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.
A court can impose any of the following penalties:
- Bond with no conviction recorded
- Good behavior bond
- Community service order (CSO)
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
There are also non-legal consequences pertaining to a conviction, particularly regarding work and travel. If your position requires you to have no criminal convictions, this ruling may result in your loss of employment. There is also increased difficulty in obtaining any job that requires background checks and increased difficulty in obtaining a visa for overseas travel.
Different Assault Charges And Fines
Most assault charges have a maximum fine that you may be ordered to pay. A fine will usually be less than the maximum, depending on the severity of the crime, your criminal history and your current situation.
The most common assault charges and the maximum fines you will be ordered to pay are:
- Common assault: $2,200
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm: $5,500
- Assault/resist police: $2,200
Drink Driving Offences
A drink driving offence usually occurs when a driver is pulled over by Police and subjected to a breath analysis. This test reveals blood alcohol level, as well as whether or not it is within the legal range.
In NSW, drink driving offences are called Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA). There are specific blood alcohol limits and each come with different penalties.
PCAs are categorised into 5 ranges:
- Novice Range (0.01 – 0.019)
Maximum fine: $1,100
There is no possible jail time for this offence. However, the offender is subject to an automatic disqualification of their license for 6 months.
- Special Range (0.02 – 0.049)
Maximum fine: $1,100
There is no possible jail time for this offence. However, an automatic disqualification of license for 6 months occurs.
- Low Range (0.05 0.079)
Maximum fine: $1,100
There is no possible jail time for this offence. However, an automatic disqualification of license for 6 months results.
- Middle Range (0.08 – 0.149)
Maximum fine: $2,200
Maximum jail time: 9 months
Automatic license disqualification: 12 months
- High Range (Over 0.150)
Maximum fine: $3,300
Maximum jail time: 18 months
Automatic license disqualification: 3 years
Additional consequences of DUIs – Drinking under the influence
Alcohol Interlock Orders
An interlock is an electronic breath testing device that is connected to the ignition of a car and stops it from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s breath. If you are convicted of repeated serious drink driving offences, the court will make a mandatory interlock order against you. This means that instead of having your license disqualified for 5 years, there is a shorter disqualification period, usually 1-12 months and then time using the interlock device instead (usually 1- 4 years).
If a mandatory alcohol interlock order exists, you will only be able to drive vehicles that have an interlock fitted. In addition, an interlock device must be fitted in your own vehicle. You must also be able to pass a random breath test at any time. The device costs over $2000 a year and includes the monthly maintenance required.
It is important to note that if you drive after drinking alcohol, you risk extending the time period of your interlock license or having your license suspended, cancelled or disqualified.
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Traffic Offenders Intervention Program (TOIP)
The Traffic Offenders program is an educational program designed to reduce the occurrence of traffic offences such as drink and drug driving, speeding and other safety related offences. This program aims to provide the offender with the information and skills required to change their driving behavior, attitude towards driving and help develop safer driving behavior.
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Can I Appeal the Court’s decision?
A person can make an appeal to the District Court if they are unhappy with the Magistrate’s decision. An appeal must be filed within 28 days from the date of the decision, in order to be considered. A fee must be paid to begin the appeals process. If you receive Centrelink payments or are experiencing financial hardship, the fee may sometimes be waived.
Matters relating to Sentencing
In NSW, crimes are governed by the Sentencing Procedure Act 1999 There are 6 guidelines that currently pertain to NSW and relate to the following:
- Dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm
- Armed robbery
- Breaking and entering and stealing
- Discounts for pleading guilty
- Taking further offences into account
- High-range drink driving
A suspended sentence is an option available to the courts under section 12 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. It involves three steps:
- Identifying if there is any alternative to a sentence of imprisonment
- If not, establishing how long a prison term will be imposed
- Determining if any possible alternative to full time jail exists
If the court decides that the prison term imposed will be 2 years or less, a suspended sentence becomes an option. Being sentenced under section 12 means that you have been sentenced to jail time but, provided that you enter a Good Behaviour Bond, your sentence will be suspended for the entire duration of that time, so that you don’t actually go to jail. As long as you do not breach the Good Behaviour Bond for its entire duration, the matter is considered finalised.
What If I breach A Suspended Sentence?
If you breach your Good Behaviour Bond in any way or fail to meet any of the conditions, you will be called to appear before the Courts. This includes committing a further offence or ignoring reasonable directions of a Community Corrections Officer if your bond is supervised. If you don’t attend Court when called to appear, a warrant for your arrest may be issued.
In section 12 situations, the court is restricted in their available options. The Good Behaviour Bond must be revoked by the court unless it is convinced that the breach is a ‘trivial’ one or that there are ‘good reasons’ to allow them to deal with the breach in a different way. If they cannot find any good reasons, the bond will be revoked and resentencing will result.
In most cases, after a Court revokes a Suspended Sentence and a re-sentencing occurs, full time imprisonment results. If the remainder of the time on the bond is less than 6 months, the court will not be able to set a non-parole period. In such a scenario, you will be required to spend the entire 6 months in jail.
If more than 6 months, the original rules for sentencing apply and the court must set a non-parole period that is 2/3 of the full term of the sentence. Depending on the original sentencing and individual circumstances, the court may find reason to reduce the non-parole period.
Special circumstances exist for offenders such as:
- the possibility of a longer period of parole to allow for a greater chance of rehabilitation
- if the offender is a young person
- lacks a criminal record
- has a serious illness or disability
What Is Plea Bargaining?
If the case against you is quite strong, you or your lawyer may wish to enter plea negotiations. This process of bargaining may begin at the police station or anytime while your case is listed in the courts. It’s best to engage in plea negotiations as soon as possible.
Plea negotiations can have the following outcomes:
- Reduce the severity of the charges
- Reduce the number of charges
- Instruct the prosecution to amend the ‘facts’ presented to the court
- Request that the prosecution make certain concessions, i.e. that your role was very minimal in the incident
A prosecutor may agree to do some or all of these and it may result in a more lenient and less severe penalty or avoiding a criminal conviction altogether.
In addition to the outcomes already listed, a plea bargain may also include an agreement to:
- Not oppose bail
- Proceed summarily (in a lower court, where there are lower maximum penalties and a less severe sentence will be given)
- Place charges on a Form 1, which is a document that is given to the Judge when a person is being sentenced in the Higher Courts. This document lists all charges that a defendant admits to. In these situations, a Judge will not be allowed to impose a separate penalty for these charges.
Discount On Sentence
If you do wish to plead guilty and have committed the crime, NSW law states that a guilty plea must be taken into consideration when deciding on a penalty. The discount in sentence for a guilty plea can be up to 25%, depending on when (during the proceedings) the guilty plea was made. In most cases, it is better to plead guilty as early as possible if you are guilty of the crime or have a strong case against you.
A lawyer cannot advise you to plead guilty and accept a deal if you have made it clear that you are innocent and equally, a court cannot accept a guilty plea if you have made it clear that you believe you are innocent.
It is common for a defendant who is completely innocent to plead guilty in court for other reasons, such as reducing legal costs or being fearful or uncertain about the possibility of going to trial.
You must never plead guilty to a crime you did not commit, even if it feels like the easiest or safest option.
What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?
There are two different types of AVOs available:
- Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO):
An ADVO is made when the people involved are living together, involved in an intimate relationship, or have been in the past. For an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, an ADVO can also be made where the people involved are part of the kin or extended family of the other person.
- Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO):
An APVO is made when the people involved are not related and do not have a domestic relationship. This includes people that are neighbours or people that work together.
What does an AVO cover?
- Assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or interfering with the protected person, including intimidating them
- Stalking the protected person
- Anyone in a domestic relationship with the protected person is protected by these conditions, including children
Depending on the situation, extra conditions may also be included in the Order, prohibiting the defendant from:
- Approaching the protected person
- Approaching or entering the protected person’s home, place or work or places they frequently go to
- Approaching the person or places where the protected person may be, specifically after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs
- Damaging property
- Any other reasonable conditions as agreed to or decided on by the Court – this is decided on a case by case basis.
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How do I apply for an AVO?
There is also the option of making an application independently at your Local Court. It is a law that court staff must allow you to make an application for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order and it is important to take note of the court date assigned to you when you make the application. The police will serve the application to the defendant and it will inform them of the date and time they need to attend court.
While a court has to accept an ADVO application, they may refuse an application for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order if they believe it is frivolous, vexatious or has no reasonable chance of success. If this is the case, the court may also advise you to get mediation instead.
If there is a change of circumstances, an application can be made to the Local Court or the police to change the conditions of the Order or have it cancelled completely. If the Order has any children’s names on it, however, only the police can apply to change or cancel the Order.
What if an AVO is breached?
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