ACT Criminal Law
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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.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
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.
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."
Drug Courts (NSW)
A Drug Court is a specialist court for adult offenders who have a drug dependency. These courts aim to help people overcome both drug dependency and criminal offending by diverting them into individual treatment programs supervised by the court for a minimum of 12 months. Drug matters may be addressed in a drug court instead of a Local or District Court.
The Drug Court tailors a treatment program to address the offender’s specific needs and plays a supervisory role during the treatment program. Drug Courts are different from other courts as they have three specific objectives:
- To reduce the drug dependency of eligible persons
- To promote the reintegration of such drug dependent persons into the community
- To reduce the need for such drug dependent persons to resort to criminal activity to support their drug dependencies.
There are three Drug Courts currently operating in NSW. They are located in Sydney, Parramatta and Toronto.
Why attend a Drug Court?
No one is forced to attend a drug court. However, in some circumstances, electing to go to a Drug Court presents significant benefits such as:
- Allowing a person to remain out of prison in order to participate in the Drug Court program
- Enabling the person to improve their long-term quality of life
- Helping the person break the cycle of drug-related crime which reduces their chances of reoffending.
Research has found that the Drug Court is better at reducing the rate of re-offending among offenders who had committed drug-related crimes than prison. In 2008 a study was undertaken that found offenders who completed the program were much less likely to be convicted of an offence than offenders who were not dealt with by the Drug Court. Also, offenders who completed the program showed are more likely to have better health outcomes than those not in the program.
Attending a Drug Court is not an easy option. A person considering doing so must be aware that it imposes onerous requirements on them. However, if you have a strong desire to address your drug dependency it is worth considering the Drug Court program if you are eligible.
Am I eligible to participate in the Drug Court program?
To be eligible to participate in the Drug Court Program you must:
- Be before one of the following Local or District Courts: Bankstown, Belmont, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Cessnock, East Maitland, Fairfield, Kurri Kurri, Liverpool, Maitland, Mount Druitt, Newcastle, Parramatta, Penrith, Raymond Terrace, Richmond, Ryde, Toronto or Windsors
- Have a “usual place of residence” within the Wester Sydney Catchment Area (i.e. Auburn; Bankstown City; Blacktown City; Campbelltown City; Fairfield City; Hawkesbury City; Holroyd City; Liverpool City; Parramatta City; Penrith, or the Hills Shire.); or have a “usual place of residence” within the Toronto Catchment Area (i.e. Cessnock City, Lake Macquarie City, Maitland City, Newcastle City, Port Stephens)
- Be willing to participate.
A person is not eligible if he or she:
- Is under the age of 18 and/or is facing a charge before the Children’s Court
- Is charged with an offence involving violent conduct, a sexual offence or an offence involving a strictly indictable offence of supplying prohibited drugs
- Is suffering from a mental condition that could prevent or restrict participation in the program (this does not prevent referral to the Drug Court. An assessment will be made after referral as to whether the person is capable of participating if properly medicated).
Additional eligibility requirements include:
- Being highly likely to be sentenced to full-time imprisonment if convicted
- Having indicated that they will plead guilty to the offence
- Being dependent on the use of prohibited drugs (excluding a dependency solely on alcohol or prescribed medication such as benzodiazepines other than rohypnol).
If you have already been convicted of offences the eligibility criteria are wider.
Satisfying these criteria does not guarantee you a position
There are usually insufficient positions to service the number of referrals received by the Drug Courts so you may be placed into a weekly random selection process. In addition, the Drug Court has the discretion to exclude a person from the program if the court is concerned the person may behave violently in the program, or the person is incapable of participating because they will remain in custody serving a sentence, or where bail is refused.
If you are not accepted into the program you will continue to be dealt with as though you never sought to be referred to the Drug Court.
What is involved if the court decides that you are eligible?
If the court finds a person eligible, it requires they do the following.
If the court decides that a person is eligible, they are taken into custody for approximately two weeks of detoxification and assessment. All participants, including those who have been granted bail, must enter custody.
Whilst in custody requirements of the Drug Court are further explained to them. They will receive a copy of the undertaking which details the conditions of a Drug Court program. During this time their Drug Court program (known as their Treatment and Case Plan) is drawn up.
Once their treatment plan is ready, you will return to the Drug Court to receive an initial sentence for the charges for which you were referred to the Drug Court. The court suspends this initial sentence upon you entering into your Treatment and Case Plan.
The Drug Court program is designed to meet their specific needs.
Treatment options include abstinence and methadone and buprenorphine programs conducted in either the community or residential rehabilitation settings. Ongoing psychiatric treatment is provided.
All programs involve:
- Evidence-based drug treatment
- Social support and the development of living skills
- Regular reports to the Court regarding their progress
- Regular testing for drug use.
What happens during the program?
During the program, participants work through 3 phase.
Participants are expected to reduce drug use, stabilise their physical health, and cease criminal activity. Participants are required to undergo drug testing at least three times a week and to report back to the Drug Court once a week.
Participants are expected to remain drug-free and crime-free, and develop life and job skills. Testing for drug use is conducted twice weekly and report-back court appearances occur fortnightly.
Participants are expected to gain or be ready to gain employment and to be financially responsible. Drug testing is conducted twice weekly and report-back court appearances are conducted monthly.
Ending the program
A person’s participation in the Drug Court program may end for a number of reasons:
- Successful completion
- At their request
- When the court decides that they are unlikely to make any further progress in the program or that further participation poses an unacceptable risk to the community that they will re-offend.
At the end of the program, the court will consider the initial sentence. The court will take into account the nature of their participation in the program and any sanctions that have been imposed on your son/daughter during the program and any time spent in custody during the program.
When the court finds that a participant substantially complied with a program a non-custodial sentence is the usual order; however, this is not always the case. Importantly, the court cannot increase the initial sentence.
What do participants say?
Research has shown that the participants in the program viewed the manner in which the court treated them as fair. The majority of participants thought that the treatments services were satisfactory and participants were grateful for the opportunity to have taken part in the Drug Court program. Some participants expressed feelings of personal success at being able to abstain from illicit drugs and regain control of their lives. They said that being able to restore family relationships was one of the most rewarding aspects of being on the program.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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