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A police court brief or more commonly called a QP9 (Queensland Police Form 9) is a document prepared by the Queensland Police Prosecutions when someone is charged with an offence. The QP9 lists the exact charge with a brief description of the facts which the Police are alleging against you. Depending on what Court your matter is to be heard in and how busy the Police Prosecutions are the document will be provided prior to your Court date or at Court.

It is essential to carefully go over the document prior to entering a plea before the Court, as you are not only pleading guilty to the charge but also to all the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge that the Police allege in the QP9, this may include the way you acted towards the Police, things that you said or admitted or information recorded by the Police that you believe is incorrect or inaccurate etc. This should be remembered when being charged as harsher penalties or less leniency can apply if the document states that you were rude, unruly, unhelpful etc. Also being aggressive when being charged can easily result in a further charge of resisting arrest or obstructing or assaulting police.

Obtaining the QP9 or having a Lawyer obtain the document for you and having a thorough look over the documents before you enter your plea is essential so that if there is any discrepancies they are looked into.

In Court the Police will read out the charge and a brief rundown of their version of events from the QP9. It is then that your Lawyer, or yourself if you are self-represented, can have your say and voice your version of events if they differ to the QP9. If there are significant factors from the QP9 in which you disagree with it may be possible to draft submissions and put them forward to the Police Prosecutions asking them to reconsider the facts alleged or the charge.   A Lawyer can advise you on, after going over the QP9, the possibility of making submissions and if so what the likely chances of the Prosecution accepting them would be.  It is important to note if what you say is materially different to what the police say in the QP9 then the Magistrate will need to list the matter for a trial or a disputed facts hearing.

In more serious matters, if necessary, it is possible to request a full brief of evidence at the first Court appearance. This document is like a QP9 but much more detailed and will include any witness statements, CCTV or audio footage etc. The Police can take up to 6-8 weeks to produce this material.

Some examples of our success in getting the Police Prosecutions to lower or dismiss charges including:

  1. Our client had been charged with common assault. Upon receiving and reviewing the QP9 we were able to put submissions to the Police Prosecutions and were successful in having the charge downgraded to public nuisance.
  1. Our client was charged with stealing as a servant in the sum in excess of $3,000. Upon review of the QP9 and obtaining CCTV footage we were able to have the Police reduce the alleged amount of money stolen to $750, helping the client to avoid jail time.
  1. Our client was charged with sexual assault. This was successfully downgraded to common assault after submissions to the Police Prosecutions unit.
  1. Our client was charged with supply of a dangerous drug. After analysing and conferring with the Police Prosecutions we were able to have the charge downgraded to possession of a dangerous drug, which is a much less serious charge.
  1. Our client was charged with theft, after reviewing the CCTV footage we were able to show the client had paid for the goods and the charge was dropped.
  1. Our client was charged with Dangerous Driving.  After reviewing the dash camera footage we were able to get the charge reduced to careless driving.

Here at Clarity Law we represent clients 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 by exploring all aspects of their charges and ensuring they do not plead guilty to something they do not need to.  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.

Whenever someone is charged in a Court it is usual practice that a conviction will be recorded on the person’s criminal or traffic history, depending which one the charge related to.

Once a person is 17 years of age any convictions on their traffic or criminal history will stay on record for up to 10 years. Each State has their own records for what charges occurred in that particular State but they can be provided to other States when requested by a Police force or a Court. You may need a copy of your criminal record to apply for a job, work as a volunteer, work with children, apply for insurance or to get an overseas visa.

Although it can be difficult, it is possible to convince the Magistrates not to record a conviction if there are reasonable grounds to support the request. These need to be good reasons such as –

  • You will lose your job due to the nature of your occupation the organisation whom you work for;
  • If it is a criminal charge – that you wish to travel or apply for the Navy etc
  • It is your first offence

If no conviction is recorded you do not need to disclose to anyone that you have been charged with that offence (except if disclosure is required by law for example applying to work with children). If, for example, an employer does a search a non-conviction will not show up on a criminal history, however, the Police and Courts will always be able to see the charge and the fact that no conviction was recorded.

We have had success in obtaining no convictions recorded, even when they were charged with quite serious offences. Here are some examples  –

  1. A client was charged with a large drug offence and owned a car importing business, bringing in cars from America. A conviction would be restricted his ability to travel to America and also to import vehicles to the Country, resulting in him losing his ability to earn an income and keep his business.
  1. A client was charged with common assault. Due to the fact that he was a school bus driver the recording of a criminal charge would have meant to he would have lost his job.
  1. A client from overseas, who is now an Australia Citizen, was charged with a drug charge. A conviction could have prevented him from being able to travel overseas to see his family.
  1. A young client was in the process of applying to the Army and was charged with drink driving. A conviction could have interfered with this application.

If you are charged with any traffic offence (excluding dangerous driving which is a criminal charge) it will only be recorded on your traffic history the same as a speeding fine would be. It is not recorded  on your criminal history. It is generally only criminal history which can effect overseas travel but some countries may require more information from you if you have traffic charges recorded.  

Here at Clarity Law we almost every day appear in the Courts with clients, many of which are seeking that no conviction be recorded. It is this experience 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 Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices for representation in Queensland click here to see what we will charge. 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm or visit our website at www.claritylaw.com.au 

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Supplying a Schedule 1 Drug in Queensland

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Supplying a Schedule 1 Drug in Queensland

Drug laws in Queensland classify drugs into different schedules.  Schedule 1 drugs are the drugs the Government classify as potentially the most harmful, schedule 2 drugs are comparatively less harmful.

What many people don’t understand is that the supply of even a small amount of schedule 1 drugs, even for no money, can have serious consequences for a Defendant.

Schedule 1 drugs include

  • Steroids
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Meth
  •  LSD

Schedule 2 drugs include;

  • Cannabis
  • Methadone
  • Ketamine

While the minor supply of schedule 2 drugs, if the police do not allege a commercial purpose, can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court the supply of any amount of a schedule 1 drug must be dealt with in the District Court.

It is not necessary that the person who supplied a schedule 1 drug to have made money on the deal.  Many of our clients have simply supplied drugs to friends for free or for the repayment of small debts.  The definition of supply under the Drugs Misuse Act is very wide.  In one particular case our client supplied what he thought were ecstasy tablets but they turned out to contain a mixture of legal chemicals including caffeine.  In that case the fact the client supplied the drugs on the basis he thought they were ecstasy was enough to satisfy the definition of supply of a schedule 1 drug.

We have appeared for many clients charged with this type of  offence. Generally if this was the first supply of drugs a person undertook and they have no criminal history (and the drugs were not supplied to a person under 16 nor a mentally impaired person) a Defendant could be looking at probation for a guilty plea. 

The requirements for probation are generally;

  • report to an authorised corrective services officer (“probation officer) when they require it (generally at least initially weekly)
  • must not commit another offence
  • must take part in counselling and programs as directed
  • not allowed to leave the state without permission
  • must notify an authorised officer of any change of address or employment
  • requirements to stay clean and undergo drug tests

The court could possibly also add a requirement for community service to the probation order. 

If the court imposes a probation order the Court has the discretion whether or not to record a conviction.  In all cases we have conducted for similar charges we have had no conviction recorded.  The lack of a conviction being recorded means the clients are generally not prevented from travelling overseas and their employment prospects are not restricted. 

If you have been charged with supplying drugs then take advantage of our free initial advice and call us on 1300 952 255 7am to 7pm seven days a week or visit our webpage.  Remember we appear in every court in South East Queensland.

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

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Stealing as a Servant

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Stealing as a servant means stealing money or goods through your employment.  It is an extremely serious charge and is not dealt with lightly by the Courts.  

In any circumstances where money or goods are obtained deceitfully or fraudulently, whether from an employer, business or an individual client the charge is dealt with harshly and can easily result in you serving jail time and certainly a conviction recorded against you. Stealing as a servant has always tended to result in harsh sentences due to the opportunities for concealment it provides and the betrayal of trust it involves.

When sentencing you the Magistrate will look at the facts and circumstances including the amount stolen, whether it has been paid back, the time span in which the fraud was carried out, your criminal history, personal circumstances i.e. financial hardship, mental health issues, remorse etc.

An example of the severity of the nature of this charge can be demonstrated in a Queensland case, R v Jenkins, wherein a man was found guilty of 3 separate charges of theft of less than a total of $3,000 in cash and liquor from his employment over a period of less than 3 months.

His charges were comprised of the following -

Charge 1 - stealing the sum of $170 from his employer

Charge 2 -  stealing the sum of $1,995 from his employer

Charge 3 -  dishonestly applying to his own use a quantity of liquor belonging to his employer to the value of $765.60 (incl GST).

The total amount being $2,930.60.

The matter was dealt with in the Brisbane District Court and the sentence handed down was 9 months imprisonment for each offence, to be served concurrently and suspended after 3 months (meaning after serving 3 months actual jail time Jenkins was released).

If you are charged with stealing as a servant there are multiple steps we can take to help ensure you receive the best possible outcome such to obtain character references and, depending on circumstances, a psychologists report.

Due to the severity and seriousness of a stealing as a servant charge it is strongly advised that you seek legal advice immediately.

Here at Clarity Law we represent clients facing stealing as a servant charges on a regular basis in Courts across South East Queensland, 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 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.

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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.

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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

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;

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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.

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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:

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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.