Clarity Law

South East Queensland most trusted criminal law firm

Stealing items from a shop (shoplifting) is one of the more common charges Queensland courts deal with on a day to day basis. There is no defined group that commit this charge more than others it spans all genders, races and socio-economic groups.

 

What is shoplifting?

There are actually two different charges under Queensland law for shoplifting, that is shoplifting if the alleged theft involved good less than $150 or stealing where the goods are alleged to have cost more than $150. In this article we are looking at shoplifting under $150. This charge is known as unauthorised dealing with shop goods. The Regulatory Offences Act defines this type of shoplifting as follows;

 

5 UNAUTHORISED DEALING WITH SHOP GOODS

(1) Any person who, with respect to goods in a shop of a value of $150 or less—

(a) consumes them without the consent, express or implied, of the person in lawful possession of them; or

(b) deliberately alters, removes, defaces or otherwise renders indistinguishable a price shown on them, without the consent, express or implied, of the person in lawful possession of them; or

(c) whether or not the property in the goods has passed to the person, takes them away without discharging, or attempting honestly, or making proper arrangements, to discharge his or her lawful indebtedness therefor;

is guilty of a regulatory offence and, subject to section 9, is liable to a fine of 6 penalty units.

(1A) Without limiting subsection (1) (b) , a price may be shown on goods by a bar code or a similar device.

(2) It is a defence to a charge of an offence defined in subsection (1) (c) to prove the taking away of the goods was not dishonest.

As you can see you can be charged with unauthorised dealing with shop goods where the value of the goods is less than $150 and you cannot show that the taking of the goods was not dishonest.

Generally if you are caught shoplifting then the store will ring the police who will attend and seek a statement from you and perhaps seek to look at any CCTV footage available. It is company policy for many retailers to always ring the police when they suspect items have been stolen by someone.

If the police believe that the shoplifting can be proven they will issue a notice to appear in court to the person suspect of shoplifting. The notice to appear commands that the person must appear in the Magistrates court closet to where the offence is alleged to have occurred.

 

What happens in court

What happens in court very much depends if a person is pleading guilty or not guilty.

If a person is pleading guilty then generally at court or ideally before court the prosecutor will give you a document called a police prosecutors court brief which everyone shortens to QP9. The QP9 sets out what the police say happened and the value of the goods taken. The police prosecutor doesn’t hand the QP9 to the Magistrates but reads from it to inform the court what occurred. The police will then hand to the Magistrate any criminal history the person may have.

The Magistrates will then ask the defendant to comment on what the police prosecutor has said and anything they want to tell the Magistrate about themselves and the penalty to be imposed.

The Magistrate will then proceed to impose the penalty.

Where a person says they were not guilty as they were not dishonest in taking the goods or did not take the goods at all then the process is different. In that case what occurs is the court will adjourn the matter to allow negotiations with the police prosecutor to try and resolve the charge. This is known as case conferencing. We have a comprehensive article on case conferencing www.claritylaw.com.au/blog/item/23-negotiating-with-a-prosecutor-in-queensland.html

If the case conferencing is not successful then the court will order that the police provide the defendant will all the evidence and statements. Once that is done then a trial will take place.

 

What are the Penalties

In general, for a first offence the court will be looking to impose a fine or a good behaviour bond.

A fine is fairly self-explanatory. Any fine can be referred to the State Penalty Enforcement Registry (“SPER”) for a payment plan to be sorted out. SPER’s website is at www.qld.gov.au/law/fines-and-penalties/state-penalties-enforcement-registry.

The court might also order compensation for any goods not returned or damaged.

The court may also look to impose a good behaviour bond. A good behaviour bond is a promise that you will not break the law for a period of time.

You will need to sign a document called a recognisance in which you accept that you have an obligation to be of good behaviour for a period of time and it will list an amount of money you must pay to the court if you break the law while under the good behaviour bond.

Good behaviour bonds typically last between 6 and 12 months.

If you break the law while you are on the good behaviour bond you will have to pay an amount money ordered by the court and the court may issue a warrant for you to be arrested and brought back to the court for the original offence and given a different sentence.

If you do not break the law while you are on the good behaviour bond then you pay no money and the bond is finished.

No conviction is recorded for a shoplifting offence where the value of the goods are less than $150.

 

How do I get more information or engage Clarity Law to act for me? 

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

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
  2. Visit our website at www.claritylaw.com.au 
  3. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We cover all courts in South East Queensland from Southport to Gympie and out to Toowoomba. We are also a criminal law firm, we don’t do any other type of law so we are in the courts every day helping people with charges like this.

As part of our ongoing quick guide series we are looking at various criminal charges in Queensland in more detail. Today we are looking at assault occasioning bodily harm mostly abbreviated to AOBH.

 

What is Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm?

The criminal code section 339 lists the offence as

Any person who unlawfully assaults another and thereby does the other person bodily harm is guilty of a crime

The definition of an assault is where a person strikes, touches, moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to another person, directly or indirectly, without the other person’s consent or threatens to apply force of any kind to another provided that the person making the attempt or threat has the ability to carry it out.

Bodily harm means any injury that interferes with the complainant’s health or comfort.

 

How do Queensland police usually investigate this charge?

The police are usually called to investigate after receiving a complaint from the victim or witness. Generally the police will take a statement of the victim and any other person that witnessed the assault. They will then seek out any CCTV or other footage. Finally they will seek out the alleged defendant and see if they will make a statement (if you are asked to give a statement always seek legal advice before agreeing).

 

What do the police or DPP need to prove?

To successfully prosecute the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm the police or DPP must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that;

  • The assault took place;
  • The assault was unlawful; and
  • That the injury amounted to bodily harm.

 

What court hears the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm?

The charge of assault occasioning bodily harm can be heard in the Magistrates court only if the defendant agrees, if they do not agree the charge must be heard in the District Court.

 

What defences to assault occasioning bodily harm exist?

A number of defences may be available to an assault charge these include;

  • provocation
  • self defence
  • accident
  • duress
  • necessity

The defences most often raised for an assault occasioning bodily harm charge is self defence, self defence of another or provocation.

 

Charge this charge be withdrawn or reduced?

It is possible to negotiate with the prosecutor over the charges. This is known as case conferencing Case and usually occurs once the police prosecutors brief (known as the QP9) is provided to the defendant or their lawyer. The QP9 will set out what the police prosecutor intends to tell the court happened. This includes the details of the alleged assault, what injury the victim has suffered and any reason why the assault may have occurred.

Some examples of successful case conferencing we have achieved are;

  • An AOBH charge was withdrawn as our client was acting in their own self-defence after being confronted and threatened by the complainant in a pub.
  • Had the AOBH charge withdrawn as our client was protecting his partner after she was attacked by the complainant.
  • Convinced the prosecutor to reduce the charge to common assault as we were able to show the injuries did not fit the definition of AOBH. Reducing the charge to common assault meant the client was punished with a fine only and no conviction was recorded.
  • Having the prosecutor withdraw the charge after we were able to show our client was provoked by a number of racial remarks were yelled at him over an extended period.
  • Being able to convince the prosecutor to withdraw the charge after convincing them that the complainant’s statement was unreliable and he was grossly intoxicated at the time of the offence.
  • Having the AOBH charge withdrawn by the prosecutor after we showed that the CCTV footage was unclear and that they could not be satisfied that it was our client that assaulted the complainant and that other person’s present could have inflicted the injury.

 

What are the potential penalties if pleading guilty or being found guilty?

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment or 10 years if the assault took place in company with another person or if the defendant was armed or pretended to be armed with a weapon.

The court has a wide variety of penalties it can impose for a person pleading guilty to or found guilty of an assault charge, the type of penalty the court might impose depends on the charge, the circumstance of the offending, the person’s previous criminal history and the injuries suffered by the victim.  The types of penalties the court could impose includes;

  • Good behaviour bond
  • Fine
  • Community service
  • Parole
  • Jail sentence with immediate parole
  • Jail sentence wholly suspended
  • Intensive corrections order (ICO)
  • term of actual imprisonment

In practise the court would rarely impose a penalty less than a fine. In most cases the penalties range from a fine to actual imprisonment. Of the 4,638 assault occasioning bodily harm charges heard in Queensland Magistrates court since October 2014 the results expressed as a percentage were;

 Good behaviour bond      3.6%
 Fine 26.3%
 Probation 19.1%
 Community Service   6.3%
 ICO   1.0%
 Prison (suspended)   13.8%
 Prison (actual) 29.7%

 

As the statistics show in almost one third of cases a person is sentenced to a term of actual imprisonment.

 

Can Clarity Law help me?

Engaging Clarity Law gives you the best chance at obtaining avoiding a jail sentence or not having a conviction recorded. We appear every week in the courts with people charged with assault, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do.

  1. we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome
  2. we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek a jail sentence
  3. we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court
  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
  5. your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
  6. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
  7. unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

 

Do you have an office near me?

We appear in every court in south East Queensland between The Gold Coast and Bundaberg and out to Toowoomba and beyond. We also have a 5 star rating on Google and Facebook. We have offices at:

Sunshine Coast

Level 3, 14-18 Duporth Avenue

Maroochydore 4558

 

Brisbane

Level 1, 16 McDougall Street

Milton

Phone: 0730677017 

 

Southport

Level 15, 2 Corporate Court

Bundall

Phone: 0756132683 

 

Loganholme

Level 2, 3972 Pacific Highway

Loganholme

Phone: 0736680683 

 

Ipswich

16 East Street

Ipswich

Phone: 0734850147 

 

Brendale

3/22-24 Strathwyn Street

Brendale

Phone: 0734850184 

 

Need more Information or legal help?

CALL:                     You can call us on 1300 952 255 - seven days a week

EMAIL:                  Email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WEBSITE:            Visit our website at www.claritylaw.com.au

                                    Visiting our assault page at www.claritylaw.com.au/services/assault.html

Whenever you are charged with a criminal offence there is usually the scope to try and negotiate those charges with the police prosecutor or the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”). This is known as case conferencing in Queensland.

For the purpose of this article, we will use two examples. One is an assault occasioning bodily harm charge, the other is a trafficking in drugs charge.

Negotiations with the police prosecution unit or DPP are almost exclusively done by lawyers. You can of course self-represent yourself and negotiate with the prosecutor and prosecutors are always willing to listen to unrepresented people, however, most people simply don't have the skills to properly negotiate with the prosecutor as it is simply not skill that they have learnt or indeed would want or need to learn.

So let's first take the first example of assault occasioning bodily harm charge (“AOBH”). AOBH is a charge that can often lead to a prison sentence. The prosecutor must prove that;

  • The assault took place;
  • The assault was unlawful; and
  • That the injury amounted to bodily harm.

Bodily harm means any injury that interferes with the complainant’s health or comfort.

Case conferencing often occurs once the police prosecutors brief (or most commonly known as the QP9) is provided to you or your lawyer. The QP9 will set out what the police prosecutor intends to tell the court happened. This includes the details of the alleged assault, what background or build up to the alleged assault occurred and the alleged injury to the complainant.

The charge of AOBH can be heard in the Magistrates court only if the defendant agrees, if they do not agree the charge must be heard in the District Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment or 10 years if the assault took place in company with another person or if the defendant was armed or pretended to be armed with a weapon.

When looking at negotiating with the prosecutor we would in most cases take a detailed statement from the client, see if any CCTV exists, check social media to see if the complainant has posted anything about the alleged assault, check medical records of the complainant and take statements from any person who may have seen the alleged assault. We would then see what, if any, negotiations with the prosecutor could take place.

Some examples of successful case conferencing we have achieved are;

  • Had the AOBH charge withdrawn as our client was acting in their own self-defence after being confronted and threatened by the complainant in a pub.
  • Had the AOBH charge withdrawn as our client was protecting his partner after she was attacked by the complainant.
  • Convinced the prosecutor to reduce the charge to common assault as we were able to show the injuries did not fit the definition of AOBH. Reducing the charge to common assault meant the client was punished with a fine only and no conviction was recorded.
  • Having the prosecutor withdraw the charge after we were able to show our client was provoked by a number of racial remarks were yelled at him over an extended period.
  • Being able to convince the prosecutor to withdraw the charge after convincing them that the complainant’s statement was unreliable and he was grossly intoxicated at the time of the offence.
  • Having the AOBH charge withdrawn by the prosecutor after we showed that the CCTV footage was unclear and that they could not be satisfied that it was our client that assaulted the complainant and that other person’s present could have inflicted the injury.

Negotiations are an informal process referred to amongst lawyers and prosecutors as case conferencing. It is not specified how case conferencing or negotiations need to take place, however, typically it is either face to face, over the phone or where the lawyer sends written submissions to the prosecutor to consider.

What would typically happen is if the charge is reduced or withdrawn than on the next court date or on the first date if the first court mention date has not occurred yet the prosecutor would seek to amend the current charges to that reduced charge or if they are withdrawing the charge they will offer no evidence in regards to the charge and the court will dismiss the charge and the client is free to go without any punishment.

It's like take a look at another example, that is trafficking in drugs. This is a very serious charge and will almost certainly lead to a person serving time in prison if convicted. Trafficking is where a person carries on the business of selling or supplying drugs. The critical question is whether the defendant was in the business of trafficking drugs and this usually means a course of conduct engaged over a period of time for commercial reward. However even a single supply or sale could technically be charged as trafficking and the reward does not have to be money or might be for instance a payment of drugs for the defendant’s personal use. The prosecutor might build their case on informants, telephone intercepts, downloads of messages or surveillance of the defendant.

Negotiating this charge usually involves getting a full brief of evidence and going through that brief carefully to look to see if we can convince the prosecutor that;

  • It was not our client that was the one trafficking the drugs
  • That if our client sold drugs it was not trafficking and the charge should be reduced to supplying drugs
  • That the evidence is not sufficient to convince a jury our client is guilty and the charge should be discontinued.

Always ensure you engage experienced criminal lawyers if you are charged with a crime as we have found negotiating with the prosecutor after the client first tried by themselves and failed or less experienced lawyers were engaged and they had a failed negotiation can be difficult to correct.

If you need any advice on a criminal charge in Queensland and have a court appearance in any South East Queensland court we can help you. We can be contacted on 1300 952 255 seven days a week. Our website is at www.claritylaw.com.au

The law provides that for certain offences committed where a person is intoxicated, when setting a penalty the court must impose some period of community service as part of that order. The changes were made with the Safe Night Out Legislation Amendment Bill in 2014. It provides that where a person is charged with an offence such as obstructing or assaulting police, or common assault where a person is intoxicated and in a public place then the court must make an order for community service ordering the offender perform unpaid community service unless they're convinced the person suffers from physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability. The maximum amount of community service that can be imposed is 240 hours, while the minimum amount that must be imposed is 40 hours.

A community service order requires that the Department of Corrective Services arrange with a person to conduct the community service work within a set period, generally 12 months. This type of work is tailored as much as possible to the person doing the community service work, and the area in which they reside. The other requirements of the community service order include the person must not commit another offence during the period of the order, must generally report to an authorised Corrective Services officer within one to two business days of the order being made and must perform in a satisfactory way the community service order as directed by an authorised Corrective Services officer.

The other requirements are that the person must comply with every reasonable direction of an authorised Corrective Services officer, must not leave or stay out of the state without the permission of that Corrective Services officer, and they must notify of any change in their place of residence or employment within two business days.

Where a person is facing the possibility of a community service order and does suffer from any medical problem that might prevent them from doing that order, it's important that those medical documents are brought before the court before they sentence that person.

The types of offences that are now included within the mandatory community service order include;

·         affray

·         grievous bodily harm

·         wounding

·         common assault

·         assault occasioning bodily harm

·         serious assault

·         assault or obstruction of police.

 

As noted above the mandatory periods of community service only applies where the offence has taken place in a public place, and while the person as adversely affected by an intoxicating substance. That intoxicating substance could be alcohol or a drug.

If you need any additional information you can contact clarity law on 1300 952 255 or visit our website at www.claritylaw.com.au.  We appear in all South East Queensland courts assisting people charged with criminal offences, if you need a criminal lawyer please give us a call to discuss your charges.

 

This article provides general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The law may have changed since this article was written.  Always obtain legal advice when you are charged with a criminal offence.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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;

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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