In NSW, the Local Court is responsible for processing a variety of offences which range from serious criminal charges to petty crimes, along with civil matters.
In this article we look at how to prepare when facing a criminal charge.
Preparing for your court date is extremely important. Being unprepared will not assist you in obtaining the best possible result.
On the day of your Local Court appearance you should make sure you show up early. If you arrive late or don’t turn up at all – the Magistrate can either in some cases issue a warrant for your arrest or deal with your case without you being present.
Prior to your court date you should have a lawyer that specialises in Criminal Law, who is prepared and familiar with your case.
Lawyers who know your case, your circumstances and a strong understanding of the Law will help you to achieve the best possible result.
Make sure you have detailed information with you that relates to your case to assist any questions the Magistrate or lawyer may have. Every piece of information is crucial in your case, and it is best to have it documented and organised to present in the Local Court if necessary.
If you are familiar or unfamiliar with your criminal charge, learn the penalties and know what to expect such as fines, bonds, community service, disqualification of license and imprisonment.
Penalties are determined by how serious the offence is, your previous record weighed up against your explanation and your personal circumstances.
Dressing smart for attending the Local Court is also important. You need to present well and respond to any questions in a clear tone of voice and professional manner. You will need to give your full undivided attention to the Magistrate at all times and respect his or her decision.