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I will definitely be using your company in the future if needed. Lisa kept me at ease also there were no grey areas with great advice. Helana is a great front of house.
My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
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Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
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I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Christmas Holidays and the Criminal Law
Holidays, especially the Christmas and New Year period, are peak times for police activity and many criminal charges are laid at this time of year. It is no secret that the road toll generally increases at year’s end, and the New Year generally sees an upturn in family-violence matters before our criminal courts. This article outlines some issues commonly faced over the Christmas holidays with the criminal law.
The reasons people may come into contact with the criminal law over the Christmas holidays are many and varied but you need to know what to do if you are summonsed or arrested at this time of year.
The right to silence
If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offence, remember that you have the right to silence. You do not have to answer questions from police, beyond giving them your name and address. It is always up to the police and prosecution to prove every element of every offence alleged against a person – and they have to prove it to the high standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
You do not have to prove anything.
The presumption of innocence and the burden and standard of proof are the three great pillars of our criminal-law system, known as the “golden thread” of justice as famously expounded in the House of Lords by Viscount Sankey in the 1935 UK decision of Woolmington v DPP:
“Throughout the web of the English Criminal Law one golden thread is always to be seen that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt subject to… If, at the end of and on the whole of the case, there is a reasonable doubt, created by the evidence given by either the prosecution or the prisoner… the prosecution has not made out the case and the prisoner is entitled to an acquittal. No matter what the charge or where the trial, the principle that the prosecution must prove the guilt of the prisoner is part of the common law of England and no attempt to whittle it down can be entertained.”
If you are arrested, you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately. The team at Armstrong Legal Canberra are well versed in the bail legislation for both ACT and NSW and can act to endeavour to have you returned to the community as soon as possible.
Christmas holidays and the criminal law: drink driving
The most visible police presence at this time of year is on the roads. Since the introduction of random breath testing in the early 1980s, the road toll has dropped markedly. It is not uncommon for magistrates to refer to the road toll when sentencing drink-drivers.
Drink driving remains the most prevalent charge before our criminal courts, and what many might say are relatively straightforward matters can be difficult to handle. Legal representation is vital in these matters, especially in a cross-border area like the Canberra-Queanbeyan region.
ACT vs NSW traffic law
The different penalties applying to a mid-range drink driving matter, depending on which side of the border you are on, are marked. So is the application of the Interlock, the device that can be imposed by courts to be fitted to vehicles to ensure that only drivers with zero blood alcohol get behind the wheel.
The interlock is mandatory in most cases in NSW, but not in so many the ACT, where it can, however, be obtained on a voluntary basis in certain matters.
Who is a repeat offender?
The law in the ACT says someone who has had a previous offence at any time in their life is a repeat offender. That is not the case in NSW.
What about drug-driving?
In NSW the penalty range for this offence is much less than the ACT, where a first time drug-driver faces the same disqualification as a repeat mid-range drink-driver.
Don’t risk court on a drink- or drug-drive matter over the holidays, thinking it is simple. If you do get charged with drink driving or drug driving, contact our traffic lawyers for advice as soon as possible. It might be possible to receive a non-conviction order and a good lawyer can flesh out the materials and submissions to work for that outcome.
Christmas Holidays and the Criminal Law: Family violence in the ACT and NSW
Family violence (FV) is treated increasingly seriously by the police, prosecutors and the courts. In the ACT, the police policy on all FV matters is pro-arrest and the public policy of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is pro-prosecution with very little exercise of the discretion not to proceed with a charge.
Handling these matters can be tricky. Many can be defended, but more end up being finalised on a plea of guilty.
Despite the above public policies, representations on behalf of defendants can often succeed in having serious charges replaced with less serious ones, the overall number of charges being reduced and/or having Statements of Facts mollified. Compiling a brace of solid reference material can make a big difference to what happens to a defendant at sentence.
The penalties for breaching a Domestic Violence Order in the ACT range from a Good Behaviour Order without supervision to the maximum penalty of five years imprisonment (Section 43, Family Violence Act 2016. Good legal representation and thorough preparation can make a big difference to the outcome a person receives.
Family Violence or Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders
Applications for Family Violence and Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders are prevalent at holiday time – and there are stark differences in the law and its application between NSW and the ACT.
In NSW, police generally seek an ADVO following the laying of a criminal charge and the two matters travel together. These matters are most often decided “on the papers”, by a magistrate considering an affidavit (written evidence) from both a Complainant and a Defendant. Compiling an affidavit of relevant and persuasive material requires skill and experience and it is advisable to have a solicitor prepare this for you.
In the ACT, FVOs are generally applied for directly by an Aggrieved Person, and rarely by the police. At the first mention, the Aggrieved Person gives evidence ex parte (in the absence of the Defendant) and that evidence is accepted if it fulfils the civil standard of proof (the balance of probabilities). With only one party giving their version of events, the overwhelming majority of orders are made and it is rare that an interim order is not made.
The matter then travels to a first-return date or mediation conference to see if it can be resolved, either by the Aggrieved Person withdrawing the application, the Defendant consenting to the order being made (importantly, without making any admissions) or via Undertakings, which are a solemn promise to the court to abide by the same conditions as the order but without the spectre of a criminal charge being laid for any breach. If that appearance does not resolve the matter, it is set down for a full, contested hearing, with oral evidence from both sides before a Magistrate, just like in a criminal trial. Such a proceeding can be a minefield for the unrepresented.
Christmas Holidays and the Criminal Law: Conclusion
We hope that this season will be a time of joy and goodwill toward all. However, the team at Armstrong Legal Canberra can be contacted if you get caught up in criminal law matter over the festive period.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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