How will I know about my Court Case?
When you court docket is accepted to the court you will be notified on the government website, it is your responsibility to stay up to date with the proposed and planned dates
I didnt do it - what happens next?
You have been arrested and spent some time in the cells talking with police officers. When you enter a plea of not guilty you will be informed of your charges and the amount of prison time and fine that you would need to pay.
Depending on a number of circumstances (the crime committed, your arrest history etc) you may be presented with 3 options:
a) HUT– Hold until Trial, you will remain in prison until your court date
b) Released on Bail – You will have a bail hearing and conditions and fee’s imposed by the Court/Attorney Generals office. If you breach your bail conditions you will be sent to prison for the time of your charges. Bail hearings are subject to availability of the people required and the charges you are facing. Bail has been shown to range from $1000 to $5,000,000.
c) Released on Recognizance – Similar to Bail but not needing the Courts approval – this can ONLY be used in cases of non violent crimes and for people without a violent criminal history. If you breach the conditions you will be sent to prison for the duration of your charges.
A case against you will then be placed on the Government website within a maximum of 10 days. You will be notified if your court case has been accepted and it is then your responsibility to stay informed of any key dates etc (this is on the Court Docket)
You should if possible try to obtain a lawyer by yourself if you would like one, and if it is not possible you may request the judge on the court docket for assistance. Do not communicate on the Court Docket for any other reason unless you are explicitly requested to by the Judge.
I was sent to prison on a Hold Until Trial Charge - what happens next?
If you have a HUT charge it will be for one of the following reeasons
a) You have pled guilty to a charge that holds a HUT
b) You have pled not guilty to a charge that holds a HUT charge
c) You have pled not guilty to a charge and have been unable to pay Bail
If it is the first situation, then your case will be remanded to court for a sentencing hearing – this will usually take place within 7 days.
If you have pled not guilty then your case will follow the standard court process – although priority is given in terms of review and scheduling for those on a HUT
What is the difference between a Sentencing hearing and a Court Case?
A court case is a trial, during which a verdict of Guilty or Not Guilty will be determined.
A sentencing hearing is used when the defendant has entered a guilty plea and is needing to have their sentence and fine announced.
Whats a Plea deal? and do I want one?
A plea deal is an agreement in criminal law proceedings, whereby a member of the Attorney Generals office provides a concession to you the defendant in exchange for a plea of guilt. This may mean that the defendant will have plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of the several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence
A plea deal can be entered into at multiple stages of the process, it is always advisory to have a lawyer review any plea deal you enter into.
(A) At Pre-filing – A plea deal can be agreed directly with the Attorney Generals Office
(B) At Court Docket – A plea deal can be agreed with the Attorney Generals Office and must be ratified by the assigned Judg
Do i have to attend Court?
In short, YES.
If you do not attend court you are not presenting yourself with an opportunity to defend your case and in addition you will be issued with a “Failure to Appear” charge
If for any reason you can not attend court, you need to notify the court.
Help - I dont have a Lawyer
Lawyers are not essential – but are highly recommended. You are able to represent yourself in court, however should you choose to do so, you must abide by the same standards as a lawyer (as found in the Department of Justice Handbook)
Lawyers are normally found in city via Life Invader advertisements – in addition you can also request one on the government website
I was found Not Guilty - what happens now?
Congratulations, you have been found Innocent of the charges levied against you,
If you have paid any fines, these will be returned to you – you will need to ask a Court Clerk to transfer the funds.
In addition, the Justice for All Act provides financial relief in some circumstances for time served in prison
I was found Guilty - what happens now?
You have had a court case and have been found Guilty of your crimes.
Typically, you will have your sentence and any fine given to you at the end of your Court case.
If the duration of any prison time is greater than the time you have already server, you will be transported back to prison for the remainder of your time. Any fine that you are due to pay will also be requested from you.
If you have already served the time for your sentence, you will need to pay your fine.