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.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
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."
Preparing to Plead Guilty
Having the very best legal representation is a significant factor in achieving the best possible outcome when a person is pleading guilty to criminal charges. Armstrong Legal has a team of lawyers who are experienced in all aspects of criminal law. Our lawyers appear daily in the Local Courts in New South Wales.
This means that:
- Your lawyer will know the Local Court magistrate and how best to approach them;
- Your lawyer has specialist knowledge as to what penalties you face and which orders are appropriate to ask for, to get you the best realistic result; and
- Your lawyer knows exactly what to say and what not to say.
Some things to consider doing prior to pleading guilty
Depending on your circumstances and what you have been charged with, it may be appropriate to do some or all of the following prior to finalising your matter by pleading guilty.
- Draft a letter of apology to the victim or other persons affected by your offending;
- Obtain effective character references;
- Consider rehabilitation programs such as the MERIT program, if your offending was drug or alcohol-related;
- Complete a Traffic Offender Program, if you are pleading guilty to driving offences;
- Complete a course in anger management if anger was a factor in your offending;
- Receive alcohol or drug counselling if you have a specific substance abuse problem;
Agree to a final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) if your offending was domestic violence-related and an AVO is being sought.
Obtain effective character references
In our experience, a well-drafted character reference can have an impact on the sentence that is imposed by the court. We believe that a court character reference must paint a picture of your character. If your character references don’t help you stand out from the other offenders in court then you will be dealt with just like all the other cases. Most court character references make statements like this “James Brown is hardworking, energetic and generous with his time and money”. We believe that these references have very little impact on the sentence imposed by the Court. As some magistrates comment “I have never read a bad character reference.” But by the use of examples, illustrations and stories a referee can bring your character to life.
Draft letter of apology
One of the key factors any Magistrate considers when sentencing a person is whether the offender has accepted responsibility for what they have done and has shown remorse. A heartfelt and genuine apology letter is an effective way of conveying this to the court.
The crucial element to any apology letter is it being genuine. Do not be tempted to download an apology template from the internet and fill in the blanks, as Magistrates have seen versions of these letters many thousands of times and will instantly recognise their source.
It is imperative that you write your letter from the heart and in your own words. The Magistrate does not expecting your letter be perfect.
The elements for an effective apology letter are simple:
- Recognise and accept what you have done wrong;
- Apologise for the offence/s;
- Apologise to any victims;
- Let the court know what you have learnt from the experience of being charged with the offence and/or any rehabilitation or other programs you have undertaken since being charged; and
- Tell the court why you will never commit this offence again.
Pleading guilty to drug offences
Below are some specific recommendations for persons pleading guilty to drug offences.
Receive Drug Counselling
It is common practise where an offender has a number of drug-related offences on their record for a Magistrate to question the offender as to whether they have a drug problem. If you do have a drug problem it is wise to have drug counselling to help you abstain from drugs. Under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act the Court must take into account your attempts to rehabilitate yourself when imposing a sentence. These can include courses such as The Positive Lifestyles Program, SMART Recovery Program or Narcotics Anonymous.
Participate in the MERIT program
MERIT (Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment) is a program based in Local Courts in New South Wales that provides the opportunity for adult offenders who have drug problems to work, on a voluntary basis, towards rehabilitation as part of the bail process. MERIT Teams, based in NSW Health conduct the assessment of participants. Based on the assessment, you may be accepted into MERIT to receive targeted drug treatment. The MERIT treatment program will be developed to match your individual needs. The court can make your involvement in MERIT a condition of bail.
Participants are closely case-managed by the MERIT Team throughout the program and the Magistrate receives regular reports on the offender’s progress. The final hearing and sentence generally coincide with the completion of the MERIT program. Magistrates are then able to consider your progress in treatment as part of final sentencing. It is our experience that participants who commit to the program receive a marked discount in the penalty imposed.
Complete a traffic offender program (drug driving offenders only)
Completing a Traffic Offender Program demonstrates to the Magistrate that you are serious about improving your driving behaviour. The Traffic Offenders Program is designed to increase a person’s understanding of their social obligations, particularly where they relate to traffic laws. When sentencing a drug driving offender, a Magistrate may take into account any changes of attitude displayed since you attended the traffic offender program These courses are offered in a variety of formats, from online to an intensive one day per week for eight weeks. Depending on your offence and your record, our team can advise which is the most appropriate for your circumstances.
Pleading guilty to assault offences
Below are some specific recommendations for persons pleading guilty to assaults and other violent offences.
Complete a course in anger management
Completing a course or counselling sessions in anger management demonstrates to the court that you are serious about ensuring that you will not commit similar offences in the future. Upon completion of the course, you should obtain a report from the organisation providing the counselling/training. We also recommend that you write a letter to the court indicating what you have learnt from the counselling/training.
Receive alcohol counselling
It is common practice where an offender has a number of alcohol-related offences on their record for a Magistrate to question the offender as to whether they have an alcohol problem. If you do have an alcohol problem, it is wise to have alcohol counselling to help you abstain from alcohol or reduce your alcohol intake. Under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act the court must take into account your attempts to rehabilitate yourself when imposing a sentence.
Agree to an Apprehended Violence Order
If you are pleading guilty to an assault offence and the victim of the assault (or the police on their behalf) is seeking an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order, the court is duty-bound to make an order except in some limited circumstances. It is in your interests to agree to the making of an order that the court is likely to make anyway. This demonstrates to the court that you are keen to ensure that the victim is adequately protected in the future.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
People usually associate criminal prosecutions with the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions, otherwise known as the Crown. Although these…
In 2018, the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 was amended so that committal hearings no longer exist in New South Wales.…
Following court etiquette is important when attending court in New South Wales as it displays respect for the courts and…
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.
WHY CHOOSE ARMSTRONG LEGAL?
201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
575 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
91 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
Suite 2, Level 6
17-21 University Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601
22 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000