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Facing Criminal Charges? Here’s What You Need to Do

"Before you appear in court, you must decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty to the criminal charges laid against you."

No matter which criminal charges you’re facing, there are a number of things you can do to help your case. Here, our expert criminal lawyers advise what you should do next.


Understand Your Rights

If you’re reading this article, you have likely already had your first contact with police. But it is important to understand your rights during any upcoming interactions, such as police questioning, or police searches of your property. The Queensland Law Handbook has written up a guide to your rights when dealing with police.

It’s also important to understand the rights police have with regard to your case, so that you don’t do anything to stand in their way or jeopardise the outcome of your court appearance. We’ve written an entire article on police rights in Queensland.


Understand Your Charges

While criminal charges vary from state to state, in Queensland, there are two types of criminal offences you can be charged with. These are;

  • Simple offences (sometimes referred to as summary offences) which include things like traffic offences, disorderly behaviour and other minor offences, and
  • Crimes and misdemeanours (otherwise known as indictable offences) which include murder, robbery, assault and other serious offences.

For serious offences, police will usually make an arrest and formally charge you at the watch house, where they will give you a full charge sheet with details of your charges. For less serious offences, you will be given a notice to appear in court

Seek Legal Advice

Whether you decide to self-represent in court, or hire a criminal defence lawyer (we’ve written advice on making that decision here), you should always seek legal advice after you are charged. A lawyer can help you understand the details of your police prosecution file, and advise you on the best way forward.

If you cannot afford a criminal lawyer, Legal Aid Queensland offers legal advice for financially disadvantaged Queenslanders.


Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges, it is highly recommended that you hire an expert criminal defence lawyer to avoid obtaining a criminal history. We’ve written about the offences you will definitely need a criminal lawyer to defend here.

Guest Lawyers act for all persons charged with criminal offences who are required to appear before the Magistrates, District and Supreme Court. We also conduct appeals in the Court of Appeal and High Court.

In addition to representing people all over Queensland, we often travel to other states and territories. Our criminal lawyers are admitted to practice all over Australia. For a free consultation (including in prisons), please get in touch either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007.