Pleading Guilty to an Assault Charge in the Local Court
Most assault charges will be finalised in the Local Court. However, the charges of “maliciously inflict grievous bodily harm with intent”, “reckless grievous bodily harm” and “reckless wounding” are likely to be dealt with in the District Court. If you have been charged with any of these offences please contact us and we will explain the court process in the District Court to you.
What Will Happen in Court?
In a guilty plea, your lawyer from Armstrong Legal will confirm that you are pleading guilty to the Magistrate in your presence. The prosecutor will tender some documents (fact sheet, criminal record and sometimes photos of any injuries) to the Magistrate. References will be handed up and your lawyer will make submissions after the Magistrate has read what the prosecutor and your lawyer have handed to the court. In some instances the prosecutor may make submissions as to what the appropriate penalty in your case should be.
Stand up when the Magistrate is speaking to you and refer to the Magistrate as “your honour”. The Magistrate will usually make a decision and impose a sentence. It is unlikely that you will have to speak at any time during your sentence. If you are asked a question by the Magistrate, you should respond honestly to the questions. Your lawyer will assist with all processes.
The Magistrate will consider the facts presented by the police and the submissions made by you or your lawyer when deciding the appropriate penalty to be imposed. The Magistrate may decide to deal with your matter immediately or may want to adjourn your matter for a pre-sentence report.
If you are unhappy with the decision do not argue with the Magistrate or pass comment. Speak with your lawyer outside the court room about your rights to appeal.
Following is a list of penalties that could be imposed by the court:
- Section 10 (matter proven but dismissed) – no criminal conviction and no loss of licence
- Good behaviour bond – A bond to be of good behaviour
- Community service order – Unpaid work in the community
- Suspended sentence – A gaol sentence suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond
- Periodic detention – Part time gaol either mid week or weekend detention
- Home detention – A gaol sentence served at your home
- Gaol – Full time custody in a correctional centre