Crime Stats in Victoria
Have you been charged with an offence or asked to attend an interview?
Criminal law matters have the potential to impact your life forever. Early advice can make a huge difference. The police often question a person having already identified key elements that they want confirmed. It may not be in your interest to give comments and you have the right to make two phone calls (not one like in the movies) – you can call a friend/relative AND your lawyer. Not everyone who is charged will have a formal interview. If you have been asked to attend an interview, have been arrested and/or you have received charges, contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve the best outcome – it just might change your life!
Do you have a matter listed in the Magistrates' Court?
There are some questions that you must answer when being interviewed – they include the following:
– Stating your full name and date of birth;
– Whether you want to exercise any of your rights;
– Whether you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia;
– Whether your are of Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander descent; and
– If relevant, the driver of your car, if your car was used in the commission of an offence.
A lot of lawyers then advise their client to answer ‘no comment’ to ALL other questions. We generally agree with this approach. The important point is that you must be consistent in saying ‘no comment’. If you give a comment to some questions and not others, a negative inference may be drawn and may be adduced as evidence. On the other hand, giving a total ‘no comment interview’ cannot be used against you in court and does not suggest that you are guilty.
There are two other options:
1. You can read a prepared statement that can be drafted with your lawyer – in those situations, you stick to reading just the statement.
2. You can answer questions fully. This can be a risky strategy as although it may seem that the police are asking ‘easy’ questions, the questioning is targeted and if you say something inconsistent, or something damaging, you may not even know until it is too late. In some cases, such as allegations of a sexual nature, it can be a good strategy to state your denial in the interview. This may be heard by the jury if your matter went to trial. However, again, you must be very careful.
Our advice is that you contact us or another experienced criminal lawyer before you answer any questions, as is your right.
You should call us immediately on 0491 626 283, no matter the date or time.
You should also ask to call a relative or friend.
You should tell the police your name and date of birth and whether you are of Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander descent.
If you have been charged by police, then yes, you will need to attend court at some stage.*
If you are on Summons (not bail, you can seek an adjournment of your first court date (known as a Mention Hearing), without needing to go before the Magistrate.
If you are on bail or your matter has already had its first Mention Hearing, then you will need to attend court.
*In May 2020, the Magistrate Court released a new Practice Direction in response to COVID-19. Some matters (summary offences only) may be able to be heard ‘on the papers’, without a physical court appearance. Contact us to find out more on 0491 626 283.
You may be on bail because you were bailed from the police station, or you may be remanded and need to apply for bail in order to be released while your matter is completed.
If you are bailed at the police station, it means that you must attend court on the next hearing date, and you must also comply with any other conditions listed on your Undertaking of Bail (a document will be provided to you with this title).
If you are kept on remand, you will need to apply for bail. This is a critical step in your matter and you or your family/friends should contact us immediately.
We charge fixed fees for criminal matters. That means that our fee is fixed up to and including the next court date. Not all matters are the same of course. Some matters are in the Magistrates’ Court, some are in the County Court, some are Appeals etc. The fee will depend on your particular matter. Fixed fee means that you know exactly how much your matter will cost – there will not be any bill shock! Call us today for an estimate on your matter. We service all courts.