Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist?

Choosing the right lawyer to represent you can be a difficult decision.

Using an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist for your case provides you with a benchmark of specialist expertise and experience in criminal law. An Accredited Criminal Law Specialist must successfully complete a rigorous assessment process supervised by the Law Institute of Victoria.

That assessment covers the following:

  • LIV Accredited Specialists must have a minimum of five years full time practice experience and a minimum of three years experience in their area of specialisation.
  • LIV Accredited Specialists must maintain a high degree of professional development in their area of specialisation.
  • LIV Accredited Specialists must pass a comprehensive examination process, developed by legal professional experts.
  • LIV Accredited Specialists must apply for re-accreditation every three years.

You offer a free initial consultation what it's involved?

When you attend for an initial consultation you will usually be holding some paperwork from police (charge sheets or charge and summons). You may or may not have received the preliminary brief of evidence from the police (or other prosecution agency).

The purpose of the consultation at this early stage is to provide you with general advice about the implications of the particular allegation you are facing, but more importantly to ascertain what is most important for you (for example keeping your driver's license, avoiding a criminal conviction, avoiding the prospect of imprisonment).

After some preliminary instructions have been taken, and some discussion about the offence(s) in question, a general strategy will be outlined with you. You will then be provided with a costs disclosure outlining the anticipated expenditure from start to finish. We offer our clients fixed fees for preparation and court appearances, as we find that provides our client's with more certainty as to their expenditure.

How do I avoid a criminal record?

If you are required to attend Court to answer a criminal charge there are 3 ways in which a criminal process may end. The first, is where the prosecution decide to withdraw the criminal charge(s), through the process of negotiation during the criminal litigation process (often at the case conference, or contest mention stages). Secondly, you may be found not guilty at the end of the contested hearing stage. Third, the Court may approve a diversion.

All three avoid the possibility of the Court making a finding of guilt in relation to an offence(s), and thereby avoiding the prospect of a criminal record.

It is important to note that a without conviction outcome does not mean without criminal record. However, even though a criminal record will display both conviction and non-conviction entries, the distinction between being convicted and not being convicted for an offence is still relevant. This is particularly so, as some additional penalties may be triggered upon a conviction for an offence, as opposed to a non-conviction outcome.

It should also be noted that the recording of a conviction following a finding of guilt, is a discretionary feature of the sentencing process. That is to say, that a Court may have to be persuaded as to why they should not record a conviction for a particular offence.

Careful consideration of your case, and your personal circumstances are required in order to determine your best approach to avoiding a criminal record. It is accordingly very important to discuss your position with an experienced criminal lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome available.

Responding to a Family Violence Intervention Order

Deciding how to respond to a Family Violence Intervention Order is a very important and is best discussed with an experienced criminal defence lawyer. In many cases the emotional response is to contest the application.

This is of course understandable, as an Intervention Order may impact one parent's ability to have contact with their children; or they may be excluded from the family home. Although an allegation of criminal offending may be the basis of a family violence intervention order, and a criminal charge(s), there are important differences between the jurisdictions. Family Violence Intervention orders are civil applications.

The making of a final intervention order (either by consent, or after a failed contested hearing) does not create a criminal record. It may however have other adverse consequences (related family law applications, firearm licenses).

An adverse finding of fact at the conclusion of a contested family violence intervention order process can have adverse consequences for both the criminal and family law related cases. Accordingly, your best interests are served by speaking to an experienced criminal lawyer, the sooner the better.

I have to attend an interview with police what should I do?

Always get legal advice before participating in a police interview. The police must advise you from the outset of the interview that you do not have to comment to their questions. In other words, you may lawfully answer any question put to you in the record of interview by responding "no comment". They must advise you that you have this right. Exercising this right will not convey to the police that you are being unreasonable, you are simply exercising a right that you have under law.

Read More: How To Respond To A Police Interview

What documents do I need to organise for court?

Where the decision to plead guilty is clear (full admissions to police), then it is helpful to organise and bring to court documents that can be used to lessen the severity of the outcome you might be facing. These documents include character references, but also documents such as medical reports (physical or mental health) that provide context or help explain the offending. Read our article on what should be covered in a character reference.

It is very important to demonstrate that a period of rehabilitation has occurred prior your attendance at court to finalise your case. This can be demonstrated through the tender of appropriate reports and records (drug counselling, psychological reports, drug screens).