FAQ’S

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Being accused of an offence is a traumatic experience, especially when you are unaware of the process. Not every accused person is guilty. But if you do not choose the experience of a Criminal Lawyer you may end up doing further damage to your case.

An experienced Criminal Lawyer will not only defend your rights in Court, but will also:

  • Reduce or mitigate any penalty or imprisonment: Criminal defence lawyers can assist you even if you are pleading or found guilty of an offence. A skilled advocate can minimise your sentence and fines. It is important to retain a solicitor as soon as you are charged. Your solicitor will be able to assist you with necessary steps to ensure your case is best presented to the court. An experienced Criminal Lawyer will also have a good reputation in Court and this will assist you.
  • Investigate your case: Criminal Defence Lawyers deal regularly with police charges. They are aware of the laws that relate to police investigations and will fearlessly ensure that the police have complied with their responsibilities.
    Defence lawyers are also able to investigate the case against you critically. It may be that the police have not considered an element of the case that will help prove your innocence. Oftentimes it is what is missing from the material that will alert your lawyer to a problem with the police case.
  • Provide peace of mind: No matter how much you know about the law, or even if you are a lawyer yourself, it is a mistake to represent yourself. It is important to retain an experienced lawyer who does not have the emotional ties to your case that you have. A criminal defence lawyer will bring honesty and experience to your defense at one of the most devastating times in your life.

 

What Court Will I Go To?

In Queensland we have the following Court Hierarchy:

  • Magistrate Court: All criminal charges are commenced in the Magistrates Court. Generally for less serious matters this process will be commenced by either a Notice to Appear or by way of a Complaint and Summons. If the charge is particularly serious or the Watch House keeper refuses you bail, you will be produced before a Magistrate to consider bail. The Bulk of Criminal matters are resolved in this jurisdiction before a Magistrate who, in the case of a trial, will decide the facts and the law. In the case of a sentence a Magistrate will also finalise your sentence. Gatenby Criminal Lawyers regularly appear in the various Magistrate Courts throughout the state as Solicitor Advocates. We routinely conduct trials and sentences within this jurisdiction. Where necessary we can brief the matter to an experienced criminal law barrister.
  • District Court: The District Court determines more serious indictable charges. The matters proceed to this jurisdiction from the Magistrates Court, by way of an ex-officio Indictment or Committal Hearing. We regularly provide advice in relation to this election. If a matter proceeds to a trial then the facts will be determined by a Jury and the law by the Judge. The District Court also has the power to deal with more serious examples of possession of dangerous drugs and supply of drugs. Gatenby Criminal Lawyers regularly appear in the various District Courts throughout the state as Solicitor Advocates. We routinely conduct bail applications and sentences within this jurisdiction. Where necessary we can brief the matter to an experienced criminal law barrister. We also prepare matters for trial and appear and instruct Counsel in this jurisdiction. The District Court also has an appellate jurisdiction and can hear appeals of decisions and sentences imposed in the Magistrates Court. We routinely provide advice as to appeal prospects and either appear as Solicitor Advocate or Instructing Counsel.
  • Supreme Court: The Supreme Court determines more serious indictable charges. The matters proceed to this jurisdiction from the Magistrates Court, by way of an ex-officio Indictment or Committal Hearing. We regularly provide advice in relation to this election. If a matter proceeds to a trial then the facts will be determined by a Jury and the law by the Judge. The Supreme Court also has the power to deal with more serious examples of possession of dangerous drugs and supply of drugs. Serious matters such as Murder and Trafficking must also proceed to this jurisdiction. Gatenby Criminal Lawyers regularly appear in the Queensland Supreme Courts as Advocates. We routinely conduct bail applications within this jurisdiction. Where necessary we can brief the matter to an experienced criminal law barrister. We also prepare matters for sentence or trial and appear and instruct Counsel in this jurisdiction.
  • Court Of Appeal: The Court of Appeal determines appeals against sentence and conviction. Matters proceed to this jurisdiction from the District Court or Supreme Court, by way of a Notice of Appeal. We regularly provide advice in relation to this election. We routinely provide advice as to appeal prospects and either appear as Solicitor Advocate or Instructing Counsel.

 

Preparing For Your First Appointment?

It is important to be well prepared for your first appointment with your criminal lawyer. This will allow you to ask any questions you have about the criminal law process and how your matter is likely to proceed. It will also enable you to answer any questions your lawyer may have for you so that they can provide you with meaningful advice.

You should bring all documents that you received from the police or the prosecution to the meeting including:

  • Bail documents
  • Criminal history
  • Police summary of facts (QP9)

You should also bring any material that you have to assist your case,including:

  • Photographs
  • Names, address and contact details for any witnesses.

It is also helpful to prepare a written chronology or summary of your involvement in the matter. If you decide to produce a document like this to your first meeting you should mark it at the top with “PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL – FOR MY LAWYER”. This will ensure that the documents can not be used against you.

It is always the case that you should exercise your right to remain silent and should not discuss your matter with anyone until you have spoken with your lawyer. Unfortunately anyone else that you speak to about your case could be called as a witness against you. Only private communications with your lawyer are protected from potentially becoming evidence against you.