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What to expect in your first conference with one of Armstrong’s Criminal Lawyers for a Local Court matter

For a lot of the people we help, the first time they set foot in our office is the first time they have had to talk to a lawyer about anything, and we understand it can be a daunting experience.

When you make an enquiry about a criminal or traffic matter at Armstrong, the first solicitor you talk to will be our ‘New Client Enquiry’ lawyer. They will be able to have a brief chat with you about your matter, on the phone, or via email, work out what your matter involves, and provide some preliminary advice before setting you up for a detailed conference with one of our experienced advocates.

You should bring with you, or email before hand, any material you have about your matter as this will assist the solicitor you see to give you more detailed advice.

In your first conference, you can expect to go through the following with your solicitor:

  • What the charges are;
  • An explanation of any bail conditions or AVO’s there might be;
  • What the maximum sentence is for each charge; and
  • What the police have to prove to establish each charge.

Your solicitor will discuss with you what your version of events is, and whether it differs from what the police say, and if so, how that will impact on your matter. This is why it’s particularly handy to have a copy of any police paperwork with you for us to look at.

After talking to you about your version, the solicitor should be able to recommend whether it is appropriate to plead guilty, not guilty, or guilty but with a dispute as to the facts. In some circumstances, more information might be needed to be able to suggest which is the best route, and if that’s the case, the solicitor will tell you what needs to be done.

If there is likely to be a plea of guilty, the solicitor will briefly canvass with you a recommended plan for sentence preparation which might include attending programs, seeing a psychologist or counsellor, getting references, or other supporting material.

The solicitor will also be able to give you some advice about the likely sentence, or range of sentences a court might impose for your individual circumstances, as well as providing a brief run down of what to expect at court and how your matter will progress procedurally.

Most of our initial conferences are obligation free – so if you decide you don’t like us, no hard feelings! But we will let you know what we expect you costs to be if you decide to go ahead.

Some important things to remember are:

  • We are bound by strict rules of confidentiality – hopefully this helps you feel safe in telling us what’s going on, as this is how we can best help you.
  • We can’t guarantee a particular result – it’s not us who decides what your sentence will be. But we can help you maximise your chances of a good outcome and tell you what the possible penalties are.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask us questions – we’re here to give you advice.

Given that the people who come to see us are often experiencing one of the most stressful and worrying experiences of their life, we don’t pretend that you will leave our initial conference feeling magically ‘better’. We know it’s tough, and sometimes, these initial conferences can be overwhelming, but we know that you will leave feeling better informed, with a plan for how to deal with your situation with our help.

Image Credit – rawpixel ©

Written by Angela Cooney on July 17, 2018

Angela is able to assist clients with all criminal offences such as assaults, drug charges, traffic matters, theft, break and enters, firearms, sexual offences and apprehended violence orders. Angela is an experienced Court advocate having appeared in the Local and District Court, the Court of Criminal Appeal as well as in Federal jurisdictions in a multitude of matters, including complex strictly indictable trials. View Angela's profile

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100