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."
Penalties and Sentencing
If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the magistrate or judge will consider the facts presented by the police and the submissions made by your lawyer when deciding what penalty to impose.
The court can choose from a range of penalties, depending on the seriousness of the offence. The maximum penalty that you can get is set out in laws made by parliament. In some cases, the court also has discretion whether or not a conviction will be recorded against you. In other cases the court must record a conviction.
Imprisonment (Jail – Full Time)
This is the most serious penalty a court can impose and is considered a last resort. Normally a period of imprisonment will be expressed as time to serve plus a further time on supervised parole. The Court must have considered alternatives and be satisfied that no other penalty is appropriate. A Magistrate can impose a sentence up to five years depending on the offences committed. County Court and Supreme Court Judges are limited by the statutory maximum (what the law says the maximum penalty is). In many cases, time that you have spent in jail before you are sentenced will be counted as already served.
The Court also has the power to order a term of gaol and a Community Correction Order upon being released from gaol.
This is a jail sentence that is ‘suspended’ for up to two years. You do not go to jail unless you commit another offence during the period set by the court. Suspended sentences may be suspended in whole or in part. They only are available for jail sentences of up to two years.
Note: Suspended sentences have been abolished as a penalty in Victoria. They are not available in any court for offences committed on or after 1 September 2014. Please ask one of our lawyers for more information.
Community Corrections Orders
Community Corrections Orders (CCOs) allow you to serve your penalty in the community. They can have one or more conditions attached, such as: unpaid work, supervision, treatment and rehabilitation, bans on going to certain places and/or attending court for the magistrate to check on your progress. If you do not comply with the conditions of the order you may be charged with contravening a CCO, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of three months jail.
The court may record a conviction against you if it imposes a CCO.
Maximum fines for individual offences are described in ‘Penalty Units’. Currently, one penalty unit is about $161.19.
To convert the amount in penalty units into a dollar amount, simply multiply $161.19 by the number of penalty units. For example, if the maximum penalty is 5 penalty units: 5 x $161.19 = $805.95
Therefore, a fine of 5 penalty units would amount to a fine of $805.95.
The court may record a conviction against you if it imposes a fine.
An adjourned undertaking is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behavior (not commit any offences) for a certain amount of time. The court may also impose conditions that you will have to obey during this time such as: seeing a counselor, completing a course and/or making a charitable donation. The maximum duration of an adjourned undertaking is five years.
The court may record a conviction against you if it imposes an adjourned undertaking.
If you comply with the conditions of the undertaking then you are not required to return to court. The court will discharge your case without a further hearing.
A discharge is where the court, after finding you guilty, does not impose any penalty. However, a conviction is recorded against you.
A dismissal is where the court, after finding you guilty, does not impose any penalty and does not record a conviction against you.
Diversion programs are a way to deal with your case out of the court system and for you to avoid having a criminal record altogether. They are usually only available to people who have no prior criminal history and where the offence is relatively minor. The prosecution must agree that your case is suitable for diversion.
Other Penalties and Orders
Compensation and Restitution Orders
Compensation and restitution are orders of the court that you pay money to someone who has suffered physical, emotional or financial injury or loss because of your offence.
Forfeiture is an order of the court that an item found in your possession by police be disposed of or destroyed by the State. These orders are commonly made in relation to things like drugs, firearms and stolen property.
Drug Treatment Orders
These are only available if your case is heard in the Drug Court, which is located at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court. Cases heard in the Drug Court must meet a number of pre-conditions, including that you plead guilty, that you are dependent on drugs or alcohol and this dependency contributed to the offence, and the Court is satisfied a sentence of imprisonment would have otherwise been appropriate. You must also live in an area serviced by the Drug Court.
Forensic Procedure Applications
Upon being found guilty of an offence, the Police may make an application to the Court for a forensic procedure application. The Police will normally make this application upon charging a person with an offence, however, the Police may also make an application up to 6 months after the completion of the matter in Court.
Typically the application will request that you provide a sample of DNA by way of buccal swab to the Police. The Police will then put the DNA on a database as a resource for criminal law investigations.
In determining whether the application should be granted, the Court must consider:
- The seriousness of the circumstances of the offence; and,
- That the making of the order is justified.
The Court may also require evidence to be given on oath or affirmation.
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?
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Canberra ACT 2601
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Perth WA 6000