Presenting a Plea of Guilty

There is an ‘art’ to presenting a plea of guilty – to individualize the plea and make the client’s case stand out from others. That is why you need a specialist.

The criminal defence lawyers at Nyman Gibson Miralis have the training and expertise to assist clients who are pleading guilty before a court in achieving the best outcome.

Such assistance includes full and proper preparation, including providing advice regarding character references, whether attendance at community based programs such as the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program, Probation and Parole, or upon psychologists or psychiatrists appears warranted.

We have a thorough working knowledge of the relevant sentencing legislation and case law, and can advise whether aggravating or mitigating features apply to a particular case.

We may also be able to assist in the plea bargaining process in certain circumstances where an excessive number of charges have been laid or where it would be appropriate for police to accept a plea to less serious charges.

Sometimes we are approached by clients for a second opinion – and occasionally we find that they are not guilty at all, or may be guilty of a lesser offence, or may need the police facts amended to reflect the truth.

We can advise you in relation to possible and probable penalties, disqualification periods and any other concerns that you may have.

We regard criminal law as being a specialist area of the law. Our lawyers are so dedicated to criminal law that they do not practice any other type of law – unlike some practitioners that we see in court.

If you have a criminal law matter and need advice, particularly if you think that you are likely to be pleading guilty, come and speak with one of our criminal law specialists.

Plea of Guilty FAQs

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.