If you have been arrested by police and require urgent legal advice, you can contact our Director on her mobile number at any time. Otherwise, in most cases your first contact with a Lawyer will be once you have been charged with an offence and are required to appear in the Magistrates Court at a future date.
It is recommended you seek legal advice prior to the first court appearance for your matter to ensure you have a full understanding of your situation. We will conduct a phone consult with you to obtain relevant information such as:
- Details of the charge and court date
- If it is appropriate, obtain a brief version from you about the incident that led to the charge
- If it is appropriate, obtain your initial instructions as to how you wish to proceed with the matter (ie – whether you want to plead guilty or whether you dispute the charge)
It is not always appropriate to obtain your version of events until we are in receipt of more information about the police allegations against you. The reason for this is that you may provide information that could restrict how your Lawyer can represent you in relation to the matter, particularly if it were to proceed to trial. The onus always rests on the prosecution to prove each element of the charge so we need to ensure they are able do that first.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have in relation to your court matter. The most common topics discussed during a first consult appointment are your options in relation to the charge, your prospects of success in defending a charge (although it is usually too early to give any clear advice on that point), the general court process for the first court appearance and the fees associated with engaging a Lawyer to represent you.
The next step will be to seek your consent to obtain the initial police paperwork that has been completed in relation to your charge. The paperwork that can be obtained prior to the first court appearance is the QP9 document which includes the details of the charge and the summary of the police allegations. If you decided to plead guilty at the first court date, that summary would be read to the presiding Magistrate and would be the basis on which you are sentenced. We will also obtain your criminal and traffic history (if any) and a breath analysis certificate for a drink driving matter. If it is a domestic violence matter, there may also be an application for a Domestic Violence Order or an application to Vary a Domestic Violence Order that can be obtained.
Once those documents have been obtained we will generally be in a position to confirm our professional fees and disbursements in relation to your matter and will provide that information to you in writing. If our professional fees and disbursements are expected to exceed $1,650.00 (inclusive of GST) we will provide you with a client service agreement and disclosure notice. Once you have confirmed you wish to engage us, attended to payment of any deposit requested, and returned the signed client service agreement and disclosure notice we will be formally engaged to represent you.