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.

 

Reforms to Youth Justice Laws Brings Qld in Line With UN Convention

Youth Justice Reforms

Teenager under arrestQueensland’s 17 year old offenders are the only youths in the Country being sentenced outside the youth justice system.

By treating 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system, Queensland has been inconsistent not only with the rest of the country, but also in breach the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Under proposed youth justice reforms, 17 year olds are to be considered children.  It is anticipated that all children under the age of 18 year will proceed through the Youth Justice System.  The proposed reforms are hoped to reduce the rate of recidivism by diverting the youths from the Adult system and providing assistance.

Benefits

It is well recognised amongst stakeholders that the youth justice system provides:

  1. Greater capacity for offenders to be diverted away from the Court system;
  2. Access to age appropriate education, training and programs;
  3. Age appropriate support and supervision in custody;
  4. Reduced access to the influence of adult offenders; and
  5. The benefit of sentencing principles with prioritise support and rehabilitation in the community.

Children who do not have their basic health and welfare needs being met are at a greater risk of re-offending.  Youth require greater levels of education, training and engagement in employment if they are to avoid the statistics of returning to custody. The youth justice system is better suited to meeting these needs.

Amendment to Youth Justice Act

On 15 September 2016, the Attorney General, Ms D’Ath introduced the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (inclusion of 17 year old Persons) Amendment Bill 2016.  The purpose of the Bill is to recognise that 17 year olds are youths and not adults.  Importantly 17 year olds are to be included in the upper age of a ‘child’ for the purposes of the Youth Justice Act.  The definition of a ‘child’ will now include a person under the age of 18 years.

Commencement

The Bill will commence by proclamation 12 months after passage.  The delay is to account for the need to ensure that necessary planning is undertaken to facilitate a safe and proper transition.

Application

It is envisaged that there will be broadly three categories of youth that the amendment will apply to:

  1. 17 year old charged after proclamation;
  2. 17 year olds subject to current proceedings; and
  3. 17 year olds currently serving a custodial sentence.

17 year olds yet to be charged

This group will be treated as a child for the purpose of the Act.  The traditional application of part 6, division 11 of the Act will continue to govern the principles where a juvenile offender turns 18 prior to the commencement of proceedings.

17 year olds subject to current proceedings

The Bill proposes that the Court will have a discretion as to how to deal with those who are turning 18 close the finalisation of their sentence. The new subsection 390(3) will provide a broad power for a court to make an order or give a direction of ensure that any unanticipated scenarios can be dealt with appropriately.

17 year olds service a sentence

The Bill does not interfere with Sentence Orders made prior to commencement.  It will however, provide for the administration of those orders as 17 year olds in the Youth Justice System rather than the adult system.

If a 17 year old was sentenced to an adult probation order, that order would continue. The supervision of the Order would however be administered as though it were a Youth Justice Probation Order.

Similarly, a 17 year old, sentenced to imprisonment would serve that term of imprisonment in a youth detention centre.  The detention would be subject to the relevant provisions of the Youth Justice Act.  The youth would be released on a Supervised Release Order in place of Parole and/or would transition to an adult corrective services facility on reaching a certain age.

Further Reading

Click here to read more about the Inclusion of 17- year-old Persons Amendment Bill 2016

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.