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Going To Court

Going to Court Can be a daunting experience, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

Cases that are heard in the Magistrates’ Court are described as Summary Crimes. A case in the Magistrates’ Court either begins with a Charge and Summons or you are on Bail. Charge and Summons means that you were given the charges after the date of the alleged incident.

There are limits to what can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court. Many serious allegations like Sexual Offending, serious violence or commercial drug charges commence, but do not conclude in the Magistrates Court. A Magistrate does not have the power to hear the case and sentence you, so it will move on to be heard in a higher Court.

If your matter is entering committal proceedings, then generally it is because it is considered too serious to be heard by the Magistrate’s Court and must progress to either the County or Supreme Court.

The test for seriousness is generally where committal proceedings in the Magistrates Court are needed because either the amount involved is more than $100,000 or the offence is considered serious, such as a sexual offence or an assault causing serious injury or death. Whether there will be committal proceedings in the Magistrates Court is an fairly simple matter for a criminal lawyer to give you advice about.

There are also matters that the Office of Public Prosecutions push to be heard in the higher Courts because of their perception of the case. Generally, avoiding committal proceedings and the higher Courts is a good thing for a defendant, as they are not as limited in sentencing as the Magistrates Court is. Beyond a committal proceeding, the County Court or Supreme Court can impose much higher penalties than the Magistrates Court can.

The following is step-by-step guide through the Magistrates’, County and Supreme Courts:

Pleading Not Guilty to an Offence in the Magistrates’ Court
Pleading Guilty to an Offence in the Magistrates’ Court
Pleading Not Guilty to an Offence in the County or Supreme Court
Pleading Guilty to an Offence in the County or Supreme Court

 

If you have are due to appear in court for either a criminal or driving offence it is important to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in this area.

Call us on 1300 331 331 or book an appointment to see one of our lawyers.

Courts, Police Stations and Correction centres in Victoria

If you want to find details on a court, police station or correction centre in Victoria, see the list below:

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