On this page:

  • Local Court Plea – How Does it Work?
  • District Court Plea – How Does it Work?
  • Not Sure Whether to Plead Guilty or Not Guilty?

Local Court Plea – How Does It Work?

If you plead guilty to a matter in the Local Court, a set of facts (facts sheet) is handed to the Magistrate together with any existing criminal record (or driving record also if for a driving matter). Submissions are made on behalf of the offender; character references are handed up together with any reports such as psychological or psychiatric reports.

Sometimes it is necessary to seek an adjournment to make sure that the references and reports are ready, or for the client to attend a program (such as the Traffic Offender Intervention Program; Anger Management; counseling; drug/alcohol rehabilitation program etc).

Depending on the seriousness of the offence or the criminal record, the Court might order a Pre-Sentence Report.

District Court Plea – How Does It Work?

A plea to a matter that ends up in the District Court can be entered in the Local court or in the District Court. The earlier a plea is entered, the greater leniency that can generally be given by the sentencing Judge. The Court might require a Pre-Sentence Report from the Probation and Parole Service to outline the background of the offender as well as sentencing options (such as community service and periodic detention).

The criminal lawyer will ensure that character references are prepared – and often a character witness is called to give evidence rather than simply handing up a reference. Psychological or psychiatric reports are prepared, where required. Any other supporting material – such as proof of charity work, qualification, proof of payment of compensation etc is also prepared.

Often the offender will give evidence. Your specialist criminal lawyer will ensure that you are prepared for sentence.

Not Sure Whether to Plead Guilty or Not Guilty?

Seek the expert assistance of one of our criminal law specialists or Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyers for advice. We will advise you in relation to potential defences that may be available to you, potential penalties, likely outcomes, anticipated legal costs etc.