Pleading Guilty in the Magistrates Court – A Handy Tip

Pleading Guilty in the Magistrates Court – A Handy Tip

If you (or perhaps someone you know) is going to be pleading guilty to a charge being heard in the Magistrates Court of WA, then you may like to read on.

It is common in the Magistrates Court jurisdiction to provide supporting documents such as character references or proof of attendance at courses or programs to show that you have taken the matter seriously and are trying your best to make amends for your offence or change your behaviour etc.

However, Magistrates are often very busy, and some days have very long lists of matters to deal with. As such, if you arrive at court with a lot of supporting documents and expect the Magistrate to read all of them then and there, you may in fact end up frustrating the Magistrate. In some instances this approach may also result in your matter being adjourned to a later date, requiring a further court appearance, which can be frustrating for you.

The better way to approach things is to file your supporting documents with the court a few days before your court date. That way, the Magistrate who will be hearing your matter will (hopefully) have an opportunity to review your documents in his or her office beforehand. As a result, the Magistrate will be better informed about your matter, your circumstances, and potentially may even call your matter on sooner than it otherwise would have been as he or she will likely have a rough idea of the amount of time your sentencing will take. In other words, you may well spend less time sitting in the waiting area hoping that your matter will be called next.

If you’ve read this far and still have queries, or if you think that you may actually need someone in your corner for your matter, then now is probably the time to obtain some practical advice. Austral Legal can help and we offer an initial discounted 30-minute SmartMove appointment for $80 (by phone or in person). Beyond that initial appointment we will be able to offer you a fixed fee to prepare for and represent you in court, so that you will know what your legal costs will be up front. Bookings can be made online through our website (it’s that easy) or by getting in touch on the phone (08 9745 9550).