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
Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
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."
In this section, you will find information about the advantages and disadvantages of plea bargaining, what the Commonwealth DPP takes into account when considering a plea bargain, the advantages and disadvantages of withdrawal of charges, and what should go into submissions to the DPP.
A plea bargain usually involves a plea of guilty to a lesser charge in response to the prosecution dropping other charges, or a more serious charge.
Please select the area that you are interested in or continue to read more information about plea bargaining and a brief outline in what should go in submissions to the DPP.
There may be scope for negotiations between the defence and the prosecution in relation to the charges . This is called “charge negotiation”, and is more commonly known as “plea bargaining”. Such negotiations can result in you pleading guilty to fewer charges or to less serious charges. The other remaining charges are either not proceeded with or are taken into account in sentencing without proceeding to conviction.
The Commonwealth DPP encourages charge negotiations. They may occur at any stage of the matter, and may be initiated by the prosecution.
Forms of Plea Negotiation
There are five basic forms of plea negotiation:
- Attempting to persuade the prosecution to withdraw all charges.
- Where there is a single criminal offence, attempting to persuade the prosecution to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge and to withdraw a more serious charge.
- Where there are multiple criminal offences, arranging with the prosecution to plead guilty to some of the charges if the other charges are withdrawn (or placed on a Form 1, which is a list of charges that you are not convicted of, but which the court can take into account in sentencing for the principal offence).
- Where you plead guilty to the offence, attempting to persuade the prosecution to tender an agreed set of facts on sentence, more favourable to you than the facts initially prepared by the police at the time of charge.
- Persuading the prosecution not to make (or to withdraw) an election for the matter to be dealt with in the District Court, but instead to have the matter dealt with in the Local Court.
What is the Rationale for Charge Negotiation?
Charge negotiation attempts to balance two public interests. The first is the community’s interest in ensuring that criminal conduct is adequately and appropriately punished. The other is the public interest of reducing costs in the criminal justice system and the delay between charge and trial. You will find a list of advantages of charge negotiation below.
What types of situations present opportunities for charge negotiation?
- 1. Where there is a vulnerable or reluctant witness: In addition to other factors, in order to avoid further harm to the witness or victim by forcing him or her to testify, the prosecutor may consider accepting a plea to a less serious charge, or a charged based on a statement of agreed facts which omits or reduces certain matters of aggravation.
- 2. Where the witness is unavailable, uncontactable or unpersuasive: Sometimes it may not be possible to contact the witness to give evidence. In addition, the witness or victim’s evidence may not carry much weight or may not be persuasive (e.g. because it may contain an element of hearsay or some evidence that may be inadmissible at trial for other reasons).
- 3. Where there is an overlap of adequate penalties: You may be charged with a more serious offence (e.g. maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent) and the defence may offer a plea to a less serious offence (e.g. maliciously wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without the intent). The first carries a penalty of 25 years, the second carries seven years. In some circumstances, the judge may decide that a seven-year sentence is enough. Therefore, if the Crown can prove the lesser offence, it may accept that instead of pursuing the more serious offence that would be harder to prove and which would cost more time, money and grief. However, the sentence must adequately reflect the criminality involved.
- 4. Where there are multiple offences: A plea to only some of the charges may be preferable to proceeding on all with the possibility of an entire acquittal and a long and costly trial. If the offences occurred over a longer period of time, it is usually preferable to select representative charges of the activity over that period of time.
Basic Outline of Submissions
- Full name of defendant
- Name of informant
- Police station the defendant was charged at
- Court attendance notice (CAN) numbers
- The last court date and the next court date
- The court location
- The name and address of the defendant’s lawyer
- State what result you are seeking at the beginning.
- Outline why the result you are seeking is appropriate. Refer to the evidence where necessary.
- You can use any reason that might persuade a reasonable and objective third party, but your representations should always be directed at what is contained in the DPP Guidelines.
- Written representations should be marked as being “without prejudice” but you must still be careful in what you write.
- You should base your representations on facts set out in the prosecution brief, or on assertions made in the police interview. However, it is risky to put forward your own version because it may put the prosecution on notice about how you will conduct your defence at trial. Alternatively, your version of the facts may be given very little weight if it is unsupported by other evidence.
- Your representations must be supported by referring to material the prosecution has given you.
- You may point out deficiencies in the evidence as a reason a charge should be withdrawn or a plea to a lesser charge accepted. However, the gaps in evidence may be filled (e.g. if there was no DNA test done previously, the prosecution may go ahead and do one now). If this is done, it may implicate you instead.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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