First Offence Penalties - Summary Offences
Summary offences are simply criminal offences that are dealt with and finalised in the Magistrates Court. They are less serious than indictable offences but they are still criminal offences for which convictions can be recorded and sentences imposed.
What Penalty will I get for a Summary Offence?
There are many penalties available to the Court in sentencing for a summary offence. These penalties include imprisonment for some offences. They may also include a home detention order, community service, a fine or a bond.
Is it Possible to Avoid a Criminal Conviction for a Summary offence?
Yes, but only in particular circumstances. You may avoid a conviction by convincing the Court that you are deserving of the leniency of a section 10 non-conviction order. If you are particularly concerned about a conviction being recorded against you it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Do I Need to Attend Court?
With your court attendance notice you have probably also received a “written notice of pleading”. The police officer may also have told you that you do not really need to attend. However in our experience, you will not receive as good a result from the Court if you do not attend as if you do attend. In our view, it is important to attend the Court to demonstrate to the Magistrate that you understand the seriousness of the matter.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. If you are worried about the penalty that you may receive for your offence, we would advise having a solicitor represent you. For someone who is unfamiliar with the Court system, having to navigate a criminal charge can be daunting. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.