Schoolies week legal issues can impact your future.

Dancing, drinkingIt is that time of year again when school leavers get the chance to celebrate their graduation at the annual ‘Schoolies’ festival. Although we are hopeful that it is a week of fun, laughter and celebration we understand that there may be some schoolies that face legal issues.  Some schoolies week legal issues can have a real and significant impact on your future.

With a number of arrests already made over the first part of the week, we are here to provide advice on your rights and possible outcomes of common legal issues you may face.

Common ‘on the spot fine’ Offences

We understand that many schoolies are under 18 years of age however under Queensland Law you are still considered to be an adult and will be treated the same by the courts.

If you are under 18, albeit the temptation, it is illegal to use or make a fake ID’s. Large monetary fines will be issued on the spot and your ID will be confiscated. These include but not limited to:

  • Using a fake ID – $378.00;
  • Lending your ID to a friend – $630.00.

We all know alcohol plays the main role at schoolies and the majority of the festival are on the streets and beach. These areas are categorised as a public place by law. If you are caught drinking alcohol in a public place you will be issued with an on the spot fine of $126.00. This fine will be increased if you are under the age of 18 to $378.00. Please be wary this will include holding a drink for your friend.

We advise you to consume all alcohol within your apartments or licenced venues.

Serious Criminal Offences

On a more serious note and circumstances where you can be brought before the Court are for drug-related offences. Common offences include:

  1. Possessing a dangerous drug (eg. cannabis, MDMA, ecstasy pills, methyl amphetamine);
  2. Supplying a dangerous drug;
  3. Possession of utensils used for consuming illicit drugs (eg. Pipes, bongs, needles and grinders).

These are serious criminal offences and can range in penalties from fines to imprisonment. Engaging a solicitor who is familiar with this area of law and an experienced advocate on these Magistrates Court matters will enable you to receive a sentence far less serious than if you were to appear self-represented.

More importantly, given schoolies are only 17 and 18 years of age, the effects of a criminal conviction can be extremely detrimental. A criminal conviction may be recorded in relation to any matter before the court. The Magistrate has a discretion whether to record a conviction after hearing submissions by both the Prosecution and the Defence. It is vital to have an advocate on your side to elaborate on any mitigating factors and target the key issues to the Magistrate.

Recording a conviction can affect:

  1. Employment opportunities;
  2. Travel arrangements; and
  3. The ability to obtain various licences (blue card etc.).

Don’t let a mistake ruin your life, we are here to support you every step of the way.

Your rights

The starting point is that you have the right to remain silent regardless of whether you have been placed under arrest or not.

Remember:

  1. If the Police approach you on the street or during the beach party, you do need to provide them with your name and your address. If you do not comply with this direction you may be breaking the law;
  2. The Police must have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that you’re breaking the law, have broken the law, or are about to break the law before placing you under arrest or detaining you for the purpose of a search. You are not required to provide your phone or passcodes unless they have a warrant;
  3. You are not required to attend the Police Station unless you are under arrest;
  4. You should never participate in a Police interview unless you have contacted your lawyer or family/friend. We advise strongly to contact your lawyer or family/friend once arrested. The Police are required to oblige to the same as this is a right under the law;
  5. If you obstruct Police in the course of their duty, this can lead to a criminal offence.

We are experienced in the above and many other criminal matters. We can provide legal advice throughout each step of the process including but not limited to:

  1. Your arrest;
  2. Attendance at the Police Station to provide an interview;
  3.  Sentencing options.

Our role is to answer any questions you have about your criminal matter and make the process less stressful, expedient and deliver the best possible outcome.

If you have been convicted of an offence whilst attending schoolies or you require a lawyer to attend a police interview, please contact Gatenby Criminal Law without delay on (07) 55800120 or send us a message online.

About the Author.

Sam RigbySam Rigby is a Criminal Lawyer at Gatenby Criminal Lawyers.  He is available to discuss any issues that might arise over the Schoolies festival.  You can contact us on 0477800880 or book an appointment at our office on (07)55800120.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice, you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

Life imprisonment for so called “Coward Punches”

Qld criminal Laws

New offence set to attract life imprisonment.

The Government today outlined its new coward punch laws and other increased penalties under its draft ‘Safe Night Out Strategy.  In what seems to be a theme of the current government’s legislative platform, existing charges are to be replicated with newly created offences and penalties increased.  The government has adopted the big stick approach by increasing the maximum penalty for drunken behaviour in an effort to deter outrageous drunken violence.  The problem with this approach is that young, drunken, predominately men, are unlikely to consider the outcome of their actions whilst drunk and accordingly, unlikely to think about the massive penalties the government proposes to roll out.

Coward Punch Laws

The so called ‘coward punch’ deaths will be punishable through a new offence of ‘Unlawful striking causing death’, punishable by a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, with the offender required to serve 80 per cent of their sentence of imprisonment before being able to apply for parole. We look forward to looking at the specifics of the charge to determine where it differs from Manslaughter.

Penalties to rise.

  1. Aggravated serious assaults on public officers, such as ambulance officers, will go up from 7 years to 14 years imprisonment.
  2. On-the-spot fines for causing a public nuisance will go up to $660 or a maximum fine of $2,750 or six months in prison.
  3. On-the-spot fines for refusing to leave licensed premises will go up to $550 or a maximum fine of $5,500.
  4. Penalties for obstructing police will go up to $6,600 or 12 months in prison.
  5. Penalties for using anabolic steroids will be strengthened to make sure they are similar to the heavy penalties that already apply to other dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Key elements:

  1. The establishment of 15 Safe Night Precincts with local boards to safely and effectively manage key entertainment areas across Queensland and continued funding of existing support services
  2. Compulsory alcohol and drug education would be introduced in all Queensland schools from Years 7 to 12
  3. Tougher penalties for people behaving badly or violently around licensed premises including increased on the spot fines for causing a public nuisance, refusing to leave licensed premises and obstructing police
  4. ‘Coward punch’ deaths will be punishable through a new offence of unlawful striking causing death with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and offenders required to serve 80% of their sentence before being able to apply for parole
  5. A 12 month trial of ‘sober safe centres’ in the Brisbane CBD where police can detain severely intoxicated people in a secure, supervised centre for up to eight hours
  6. Empowering police to issue banning orders and ensuring police have the resources to have a presence and ability to respond quickly to alcohol and drug related violence
  7. Stronger and better co-ordinated action to ensure licensees provide a safe environment and comply with liquor licensing rules, including ‘mystery shopper’ style tests
  8. Mandatory ID scanners in venues trading after midnight in ‘Safe Night Precincts’
  9. An awareness campaign, including advertising, to promote clear standards of responsible behaviour for patrons, licensees and police
  10. An extension of the moratorium on decisions about late night trading hours to 31 August 2014 to allow the measures in the action plan to be established and take effect.

To comment on the proposal, follow the link to the survey.

https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi/consultation/2004/view.html

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

BANNING ORDERS – WHAT ARE THEY AND CAN I DEFEND THEM?

BANNING ORDER
A banning order is a order that prohibits an offender, until a stated date, from doing or attempting to do any of the following:
  1. Entering or remaining in a stated licensed premises ; or a stated class of licensed premises;
  2. Entering or remaining in, during stated hours, a stated area that is a particular distance from the licensed premises;
  3. Attending or remaining at a stated event, to be held in a public place, at which liquor will be sold for consumption.
Banning orders can prohibit entry to stated places.

The Court has a wide discretion in relation to the terms of the Banning Order. It may for example prohibit a person from entering or remaining in, between hours of 10pm and 6am, in an area that is within 10 metres of a stated licensed premises. In practice such orders are generally made in relation to a stated “drink safe precinct” under the Liquor Act. The Court can impose an Order, with such conditions as it considers necessary, upon application by the Prosecution where :

  1. The offender has been convicted of an offence that involves that use, threatened use or attempted use of unlawful violence to a person or property.
  2. The offence was committed in licensed premises or in a public place in the vicinity of licensed premises.
The prosecution needs to satisfy the Court that unless the Order is made the Respondent would pose an unacceptable risk to :
  1. The good order of licensed premises and areas in the vicinity of licensed premises; or
  2. The safety and welfare of persons attending licensed premises and areas in the vicinity of licensed premises.
In considering the risk the Court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, including for example the following :
  1. Whether the respondent has been the subject of another banning order under this legislation, section 11(3) of the Bail Act or a Civil Banning Order imposed under section 173X of theLiquor Act;
  2. The respondent’s Criminal History;
  3. The offenders person circumstances and the likely effect of the order on those circumstances;
  4. Anything else that the Court considers relevant

 

The Court has discretion to impose the banning order for not more than 12 months. Where the respondent is sentenced to a period of imprisonment the banning order commences at the conclusion of the sentence. Those facing a banning order need to consider whether the unacceptable risk exists for the whole of the 12 month period or whether it is probable that such risk will be reduced within a shortened time frame.
The banning order may not restrict a respondent from the entering or remaining within the respondents residence, place of employment or place of education. In addition the order must not cause undue hardship on the offender or the offenders family. It is incumbent upon the respondent to establish such hardship.
The legislation also envisages that the order will not be breached were the person is utilising a mode of transport required to be used by the offender. The order must describe the mode of transport in sufficient detail to identify the mode of the transport and state that the respondent is not stopped from entering or remaining in the mode of transport.
While the legislation is wide in its discretion, those who are respondents to an application need to carefully consider the implications of the order upon their ability to enter the particular location. If the unacceptable risk threshold test is reached they need to consider whether undue hardship will be caused and have evidence of such hardship, or in the case of transport requirements, particulars of the mode of transport.
A banning order is not trivial, a contravention carries a maximum penalty of $4,000.00 or 12 months imprisonment.  We recommend that anybody who is the subject of a Banning Order Application, seeks advice from an experienced Criminal Lawyer, before appearing in Court.