Criminal & Traffic Lawyers Newcastle

If you have been charged with a criminal offence or a traffic violation, you might have to go to court. A criminal record can have serious consequences, and affect your career, potential scholarships, and overseas travel. If you are involved in a criminal investigation or have been charged with an offence, we recommend getting immediate legal advice from traffic and criminal lawyers in Newcastle and Raymond Terrace to ensure your rights and interests are protected.

Our Newcastle traffic lawyers can represent you in the Local Court and assist with:

  • Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)
  • Drink driving offences (for low, medium and high-range PCA offences)
  • Traffic offences
  • Criminal / summary prosecutions
  • Committal hearings
  • Juvenile prosecutions
  • Licensing matters
  • Local Court Appeals

Solicitors for Serious Traffic Offences

Driving offences in Raymond Terrace, New South Wales are largely dealt with by fines and the imposition of demerit points. However, if you commit a more serious traffic offence, such as speeding by more than 30km/hr over the speed limit, negligent driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you might be issued a Court Attendance Notice (a CAN).

If you receive a CAN, your matter will be dealt with by a magistrate in the Local Court and you will need to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the prosecutor will need to prove the offence beyond reasonable doubt to get a conviction. As there are sentencing discounts for the early entry of a guilty plea, it is important to get advice on your matter if you are unsure of how to plead or if you are considering entering a not guilty plea.

Traffic Driving Suspensions

Some serious traffic offences also attract automatic suspensions of your drivers licence. For example:

  • speeding more than 30km/hr – 3-month suspension
  • speeding more than 45km/hr – 6-month suspension
  • driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – minimum 3-month suspension

If your licence has been automatically suspended, you may wish to appeal the suspension. To do so, you must lodge your appeal within 28 days of the date you were suspended and pay the appropriate filing fee. The Local Court may grant or dismiss your appeal. They may also decide to vary the suspension period. We recommend obtaining legal advice from traffic offence lawyers in Newcastle if you decide to appeal a suspension.

Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)

An Apprehended Violence Order is an order granted by the court on the application of a person who has reasonable cause to fear for his or her safety. The application can be made privately, through the person’s lawyer or by a police officer.

The court may impose whatever restrictions on the defendant’s behaviour that are considered necessary for the protection of the applicant and any children. This may include preventing the defendant from accessing the premises of, or approaching the person in fear, and attending that person’s place of work.

The issue of an AVO does not constitute a criminal offence. However, breaching an AVO is a criminal matter which can result in a conviction. If you are served with an application for an AVO you can consent to the AVO being made or oppose it. If you do not turn up on the court date, then the AVO is likely to be granted in your absence. If you are served with an application for an AVO, our criminal lawyers in Newcastle recommend you obtain legal advice immediately.

Going to Court and Sentencing

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, your matter might be dealt with in the Local Court if it is a less serious matter. Criminal matters heard in the Local Court are referred to as summary offences.

More serious matters are dealt with in the District Court, and the Supreme Court deals with the most serious criminal offences of murder, treason, and piracy.

If you are found guilty of an offence in New South Wales, or you have pleaded guilty, you will be sentenced by a court according to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. If your matter is being heard in the Local Court and you are found guilty, the longest prison term a magistrate may sentence you to for each offence is two years. If you are sentenced in a higher court, the highest sentence that may be imposed is outlined in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). A court may also choose to dismiss a matter, even though you have been found guilty, or impose a suspended sentence with a good behaviour bond.

Speak to our Raymond Terrace & Newcastle Criminal Lawyers today 

In deciding what is an appropriate sentence, a court will consider ‘aggravating’ and ‘mitigating’ factors. These factors help a judge or magistrate to make a finding about how serious your offence was compared to other offences of the same type. Usually, a person found guilty will have some evidence to give to a judge or magistrate that may be considered in sentencing. The type of evidence provided depends on the charges and the outcome sought.

If you need assistance, contact one of our Newcastle criminal lawyers at [email protected] or call (02) 4987 3344 for expert legal advice.