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What happens if you plead guilty to a criminal offence?

  • If you have been charged with a criminal offence and enter a plea of guilty at an early stage of court proceedings, you will receive a discount at sentence for the utilitarian value of the plea - i.e., saving the court’s time and the complainant/victim from a lengthy court process.

  • The amount of discount that can be applied depends on when the guilty plea is entered. It ranges from 25% (if it is entered at the earliest opportunity) to 5% (prior to hearing/trial).

  • A guilty plea also allows your solicitor to liaise with the prosecution to negotiate the charges, with the goal of downgrading the charges or having some withdrawn.

What will you be asked to do to prepare for sentence?

  • For more serious charges, the court may order a Sentencing Assessment Report (‘SAR’). Community Corrections meet with you to assesses your suitability for community service work and whether or not they can supervise you in the community.

  • Community Corrections assess your level of accountability, remorse, and risk of reoffending. If they find you can be supervised in the community, they will make recommendations as to what they will require from you in the event the court orders a non-custodial sentence.

  • The types of recommendations they make can include:

    • abstaining from drug/alcohol use;

    • engagement with your GP or psychologist/psychiatrist; and

    • community service work.

  • Our team can organise a psychological or psychiatric report prior to sentence to ensure the court is aware of any mental health or drug/alcohol dependency issues you may suffer from (if any). A psychological assessment is also useful in other ways, as the psychologist will ask you a series of questions relating to your background and prior criminal offences (if any). We have numerous medical professionals we can liaise with on your behalf or alternatively, we can provide a letter of instruction (i.e., series of questions) to your treating psychologist/psychiatrist if you have one.

  • You will be asked to gather some character references from friends, family, and your employer (if employed) to hand up to the Magistrate or Judge.

  • You can write a letter of apology to the court.

Our solicitors will ensure you have everything needed to get the best possible outcome at sentence.

Call us to organise a consultation today.

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