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Legal Blog (6)

Thursday, 27 April 2017 16:18

Degrees of Assault Charges

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Assault is defined as forceful contact or threatening forceful contact with a person. Depending on the severity of circumstances and injuries will determine the degree of assault you are charged with.

The different types of assault charges in Queensland are as follows, in order of most minor to most severe:

 

Common Assault

A Common assault is the lowest of the possible assault charges and can come about from anything as minor as a bodily gesture, poking, nudging or touching someone, and even just threatening to do such acts.

 

Assault occasioning bodily harm

An assault occasioning bodily harm charge occurs when the victim suffers injuries interfering with their health or comfort. Penalties for this charge are increased if there is a statement that the Defendant had a weapon or is in the company of another person.

 

Assault causing Grievous Bodily Harm

An assault causing grievous bodily harm charge occurs when a person is left permanently injured, scarred or impaired as a result of the assault.

 

Serious assault (any charge of assaulting a Police officer will automatically come under this charge also)

Serious assault charges occur when the assault is on a person over the age of 60 or is handicapped or dependant on a remedial device. If an assault is on a Police officer is serious it will automatically be placed under this degree of assault. If biting, spitting or any bodily fluid is involved the penalty can be doubled, resulting in a possible maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

 

Sexual assault

A Sexual assault charge is a result of any unwanted or forced sexual advancement or behaviour towards a person.  

 

When you are charged with any form of assault charge it is extremely important to seek legal representation immediately. Assault charges more than ever are treated very seriously by the courts and can easily result in jail time.

Here at Clarity Law we represent clients in all degrees of assault charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients. We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

For more information visit our webpage or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  Its represents information about the law in Queensland and since publishing the law or the interpretation of that law may have changed.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:59

Court Character References

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Providing written character references for the Magistrate to consider during sentencing may help to ensure a person gets a more lenient outcome.

The purpose of obtaining character references is to provide to the Court evidence about the person’s character and their attitude towards the offence, including how committing and pleading guilty to the offence has impacted upon them. This evidence assists the Court in determining the appropriate penalty.

A Court reference is not a general reference but rather a guide to the Court about a person’s character from someone who can attest to this. The referee needs to make clear to the Court;     

  1. How they know the person
  2. Why the person is of good character
  3. How the offence has impacted on the person
  4. Their views on whether the person would commit a similar crime again

The referee should generally have known the person for a substantial period of time and have a good insight into a person’s character.  While a reference from a Doctor or well established person often carries a lot of weight, references from friends, family or employers can still be quite valuable, especially given that they can often provide the best insight to the person’s character.

It should be noted that the referee must be aware of the offence. It is of no value if they do not mention in the reference that they are aware of the offence and have discussed it with the person. While it is often embarrassing to have to admit the nature of the charges to someone it is essential to ensure the reference carries weight before the court.  A referee could not be expected to be able to judge a person’s remorse and the impact a charge has had without knowing the exact charges.

Generally a reference should include

  • The referee’s name, address and phone number
  • An explanation of how they know the person, for how long and what their relationship to the person is
  • The fact that the referee is aware of the offence and has discussed it with the person
  • The referee’s opinion, based on the relationship, of the person’s character, the impact of the offence on the person and whether the person has changed in any way after the offence
  • Any issues specific to the referee (e.g. an employer may to comment on the effect that a conviction and/or any loss of licence will have upon the person’s continuing employment status)
  • Whether the referee thinks the person is likely to re-offend
  • Anything else the referee considers appropriate

Referees are not required to attend the Court and will not receive a response from the Court about how the reference was treated. It is important to note once a reference is tended in open Court then it becomes a public document and can be seen by member of the general public if they choose to search the Court file.

It is important to remember that references are not essential, but they certainly can assist in ensuring you obtain the absolute best possible outcome for your circumstances.

If you want to engage us or just need further information then you can either;

  1. Visit www.claritylaw.com.au
  2. Use our contact form
  3. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 01:25

10 reasons to engage us for your criminal charge

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Regardless of how serious or minor your charge before the Court is, it is always recommended that you obtain an experienced lawyer to represent you in Court. Whilst the punishment is always decided by the Court a lawyer can influence the Court’s decision on what penalty is handed down to you.

Often our client’s livelihood depends on minimising any penalty imposed by the court.

Here are 10 reasons why you should engage us;

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 01:23

Centrelink Fraud in Queensland

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There are numerous ways a Centrelink charge can occur such as dishonestly under reporting your income or spousal status, not ceasing payments for children or someone who is no longer under your care, claiming benefits under multiple names etc. Centrelink fraud is a Commonwealth charge and is an extremely serious, more often than not resulting in a jail sentence.

If Centrelink believes you are frequently claiming benefits they will launch in internal investigation. You will likely then be contacted by Centrelink and asked to participate in an interview with them. We strongly recommend to all clients and potential clients that they decline to participate in an interview until they have sought legal advice. From there Centrelink will decide whether to forward their findings onto the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions who has the power to charge a person.

Once a charge has been made we can request the charge documents and comparative sentences from the Director of Public Prosecutions and go over them with you. These documents will show the exact dates and amount/s of money which have allegedly been fraudulently claimed. The comparative sentences provided will be cases similar to the amount of money and circumstances surrounding your charge/s.

The penalties vary according to the severity of the offending, the amount of money involved and the person’s criminal history.  For very minor charges the court might impose a good behaviour bond or community service.

If the amount of the fraud exceeds $10,000 or the person has previous similar offending then the Court will be looking to impose a term of imprisonment.

In our experience, should the amount be under $25,000 then the Courts would generally impose a jail sentence of 12 months per offence and with the right submissions would generally allow the person to remain in the community under an intensive correction order (“ICO”) instead of jail. If the court imposed an ICO it would mean the person would not have to serve any time in jail but would be supervised by Queensland Corrective Services and subject to the requirement to;

  1. report regularly to a supervising officer or receive visits from them
  2. not leave Queensland without permission
  3. may be required to attend courses or treatment
  4. advise on any change of address
  5. undertake up to 12 hours of community service each week

If the amount of the fraud exceeds $25,000 then the risk of a term of actual imprisonment is extremely high.  A conviction will be recorded unless the only penalty is a good behaviour bond and this is generally only done in very minor cases.

We have undertaken Centrelink fraud cases throughout Queensland and know exactly what submissions to make to achieve the best outcome for a client.  The things that may help minimise any penalty include;

  • entering an early guilty plea
  • putting appropriate character references before the court
  • putting appropriate precedent cases before the court
  • entering into a repayment scheme to repay the Centrelink debt.

It is extremely unlikely that you would be granted to not have a conviction recorded against you for a charge of this nature.

Here at Clarity Law we represent Centrelink fraud charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice. 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days 

 Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  Its represents information about the law in Queensland and since publishing the law or the interpretation of that law may have changed.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 01:19

Being on bail in Queensland

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When you are charged with an offence you will be, depending on the charge, placed on bail until your court date. This means you are released on the condition that you will appear in court at the specified time and date, to answer the charge(s). In this sense, bail is like a promise or a contract to come to the court and deal with your charge.

Should you not appear in court the Magistrate will take that you have breached bail. In this instance the Magistrate may place a warrant out for your arrest. This warrant will be forwarded to the Police who will then in turn seek to arrest you to bring you before the Magistrate. They do this by attending your home, place of employment, or if you are pulled over in your vehicle you may be taken in from there.

For more serious charges you may have terms included in your bail. This means along with agreeing to appear in court at the allocated time and date you may also have to do things such as:

Sunday, 23 October 2016 12:14

Declining a Police Interview

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There are different stages and circumstances in which the Police may request that you partake in a record of interview or provide them with a statement. This article is for people who may be charged with an offence and the Police have asked you to participate in an interview. This may occur before you are charged or after you have been charged with an offence.

Whilst it is an offence not to provide Police with your full name, address, date of birth and identification, you are not obliged to participate in an interview or provide a statement. It is an offence to provide incorrect personal details to the Police or to resist arrest. If you do either of these things when you are being arrested or charged, you may end up with additional charges.  

You have every right to refuse to participate or provide information. We strongly urge all clients to consider not to participate in a record of interview until all facts and circumstances are known. There is often little benefit to you in participating in an interview or providing a statement, and it can often only benefit the Police. This is due to the fact that, as the saying goes, anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of Law.