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Hannay Lawyers

Charged with Grievous Bodily Harm? What You Need to Know

By | Criminal Law

In Queensland a charge of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) is a very serious criminal offence. The Queensland Criminal Code defines three types of GBH offence: intentionally causing GBH, unlawfully doing GBH, and dangerous driving causing GBH.

While a custodial sentence will often be the result of committing one of the offences above in Queensland, it is not inevitable if you are properly advised by an experienced criminal lawyer. The prosecution must prove you committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt and there are other defences available, some of which are outlined below.

What is GBH?

Section 1 of the Queensland Criminal Code defines GBH as:

  1. the loss of a distinct part or an organ of the body; or
  2. serious disfigurement; or
  3. any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life, or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health.

What do the various charges mean?

The most serious charge is that you intentionally caused GBH (rather than that you simply caused it without lawful excuse), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Under section 320 of the Queensland Criminal Code, unlawfully doing GBH carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment of 14 years. ‘Unlawful’ is generally defined as “not authorised, justified or excused by law”. It should be noted that a charge of unlawfully doing GBH does not require any proof of intent. It is also important to note that it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the defendant was the sole cause of the injury. As the High Court decided in 1991 case Royall v The Queen, conduct that constitutes a significant or substantial cause of the injury can be enough.

In Queensland, dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm is a serious criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. In order for you to be convicted of an offence of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, the police must prove that:

  • You were driving a motor vehicle, or you interfered with someone who was, and;
  • your driving, or interference, was dangerous, and;
  • as a result of your driving or interference, another person was killed or suffered grievous bodily harm.

Aggravated circumstances

In some cases certain facts will be treated as ‘aggravating’ and therefore deserving of increased punishment. In GBH offences, aggravating circumstances includes where:

  • A person is a participant in a criminal organisation and is convicted of causing GBH. This can result in the imposition of a minimum of seven years’ imprisonment in actual custody, on top of the sentence for unlawfully causing GBH.
  • If the GBH offence was committed in a public place while the person was adversely affected by an intoxicating substance. In this event, community service must be ordered as part of the punishment, whether or not the court imposes another punishment.
  • If the GBH is part of a ‘domestic violence offence’, the court will treat this fact as an aggravating factor unless it is not reasonable because of the exceptional circumstances of the case.

What are the defences to a GBH charge?

There are a number of possible defences available to someone charged with a GBH offence. The guidance of a criminal lawyer with experience in this area is highly advised in order to work out the best strategy to defend any charge.

It is up to the prosecution to establish all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘default’ defence in criminal matters.

Other common defences to GBH include:

Accident: If an ‘event’ occurs that the person does not intend or foresee as a possible consequence, and an ordinary person would not reasonably foresee as a possible consequence, then a person may have a defence to a charge of GBH. But a person is not excused from criminal responsibility for GBH that results to a victim because of a physical defect, weakness or abnormality, even though the offender does not intend or reasonably foresee the death or grievous bodily harm.

Self-defence: This defence is divided into whether you were subject to an unprovoked assault, or provoked an assault. In terms of the former, Section 271 of the Criminal Code makes it legal for a person to use such force as is reasonably necessary to defend them against an unprovoked assault. The force used must not be intended or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm, and must be proportionate. If the person being assaulted reasonably fears that their attacker may cause death or grievous bodily harm, that person can use necessary force to defend themselves (or the person being attacked) even if the force causes the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, the attacker.

Mistake of fact: A person is not criminally responsible if they did something based upon an honest and reasonable mistake of fact.

Extraordinary emergency: A person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission done under a sudden or extraordinary emergency that an ordinary person, possessing ordinary powers of self-control, could not reasonably be expected to act otherwise.

Insanity: A person is insane and not criminally responsible if they are deprived of one or more of the following capacities: understand what they are doing; control of their actions; know that they ought not to be doing it.

There are other defences as well and again, an experienced criminal lawyer will be able to determine which may suit the offence you’ve been charged with.

The need for good representation

Clearly, a charge of GBH is a very serious matter and requires expert legal advice and guidance. Hannay Lawyers has many years of experience dealing with the Queensland criminal justice system, calling on an extensive knowledge of relevant laws and the vital practical experience of appearing in many Queensland courts on behalf of people charged with such offences.

If you’ve found yourself in the difficult position of facing a GBH charge, or are trying to help someone who is, contact our Brisbane or Gold Coast offices today on (07) 3184 2323 for a free initial consultation.

What You Need to Know About ASIC Investigations

By | General News

While most business owners strive to run their enterprise with minimum distraction from external agencies, the fact is we live in a highly regulated, legalistic society. For businesses, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s top company regulator and is responsible for investigating company misconduct and enforcing company law.

If you run a business and are served with a notice under Section 19 of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act, ASIC is asking you to provide it with information and may subject your enterprise to a compulsory examination. This is no trifling matter. Failing to reasonably cooperate in accordance with a Section 19 notice issued by ASIC can be a criminal offence that may be punishable by a term of imprisonment. For this reason, expert legal advice should immediately be sought.

How does an ASIC investigation start?

A complaint (usually about misconduct) is generally the starting point for an ASIC investigation into a company. There are a number of ways ASIC may receive these complaints, including:

  • From a member of the public, often a client or customer of the business who is dissatisfied with an aspect of the company’s handling of a particular matter.
  • A referral from other government agencies and regulators who may report misconduct to ASIC.
  • From reports ASIC receives as required by law, such as those from auditors, insolvency practitioners and licensees.

Once a complaint is received, ASIC will go through a process to work out whether it should investigate based on the scope of its powers, taking into account:

  • the extent of the harm or loss;
  • the benefits of pursuing the misconduct relative to the cost of public monies;
  • the type and seriousness of the misconduct alleged and the strength of evidence supporting the complaint;
  • alternative courses of action other than formal investigation;
  • whether the alleged misconduct includes a particular impact on market integrity or the confidence of investors and financial consumers;
  • whether or not the misconduct is a widespread concern or part of a growing trend.

What will happen during an investigation?

ASIC has a number of powers by which it will conduct an investigation to gather evidence, including requiring a business to produce documents and disclose other information for its inspection, requiring company officers or employees to attend compulsory examinations, and employing search warrants.

It should be noted that under a Section 19 notice, people other than company directors or employees such as the company’s lawyers and accountants can also be required to provide information and assistance. ASIC’s powers allow it to question people who “on reasonable grounds, [it] suspects or believes … can give information relevant to a matter it is investigating, or is to investigate”.

What are your rights and responsibilities in this situation?

Obviously if an ASIC investigation commences into your business, you should avail yourself of the advice of an experienced corporate law firm. Company officers and employees need to be aware of what they can and can’t do in complying with ASIC’s requests. There may be no legal basis for ASIC to request certain documents from you, particularly if they might incriminate you or the company in relation to your operations. You will not be required to produce documents, for example, which are the subject of legal professional privilege.

Take pre-emptive action

One thing your business can do to avoid or reduce the likelihood of an ASIC investigation is to discuss with your corporate lawyer how to develop proactive, effective and fit-for-purpose governance, risk and compliance processes within the organisation.

This process may include a review of your current documentation and policies in these areas, including asking your legal representative to conduct a legal risk assessment of the business. Undertaking this process will also be of benefit in demonstrating your proactive approach should an ASIC investigation later arise as the result of a complaint.

Penalties

ASIC has a number of remedies and enforcement tools at its disposal if it can prove the alleged misconduct. Most serious of these is punitive criminal penalties, which can include terms of imprisonment, community service orders, financial penalties under criminal law and the possibility of convictions.

Another option is ‘protective actions’ – such as disqualification from managing operations or revocation, suspension or variation of licenses, and public warning notices. While this option avoids the need for criminal penalties, the effects of a protective action can obviously still have terrible effects on the reputation of both yourself and your business.

An effective legal representative will also explore, before ASIC decides to proceed with an investigation, whether alternatives such as engagement with stakeholders, guidance, education and policy advice may be better and more effective options than enforcement action.

If you believe your business is about to become the subject of an ASIC investigation, or need more guidance on how compliant your business really is in terms of internal governance and the wider regulatory environment, contact experienced corporate law firm Hannay Lawyers today on (07) 3184 2323. We’ll be happy to assess your particular circumstances at our Brisbane or Gold Coast offices as soon as possible.

What You Need to Know About Drug Charges in Queensland

By | Drug Charges

Though all of Australia takes punishment of drug offences seriously, Queensland has always been well-known as one of the tougher states when it comes to legal penalties for such offences. If you or someone you know has unfortunately found themselves charged or convicted with a drug offence in Queensland, there are some basic things you should know before contacting a criminal lawyer.

What exactly is a drug offence?

Though seemingly a simple question, the answer is more nuanced than you might think. There are many different levels of drug offence, all of which vary in both severity and penalty type. The seriousness of your offence will likely hinge on: the classification of the substance(s) in question, the amount of the substance(s) in question, and your intended purpose with the substance(s) in question.

Possession: This offence doesn’t refer to the basic meaning of the word ‘possess’. While it will include drugs that are on your person or in your possession, it also includes a variety of other situations where the substances are still considered to be ‘in your possession’. The offence of possession simply refers to a person or party receiving and controlling a drug. This does not require it to be your drugs, and you may not even be required to be aware that the substance in question is an illegal drug.

Possession can involve holding a drug (knowingly or unknowingly) for a friend, illegal substances in your house, car, or personal items, as well as ownership of drug paraphernalia, even when the paraphernalia in question hasn’t been in direct contact with the illegal substance. If you are living with someone who is in possession of drugs, you may be considered guilty of possession as well. The more serious the classification and the larger the amount of the substance in question, the more serious the penalty for a possession charge will be.

Supplying: The charge of supplying isn’t exclusive to selling drugs, though that is a common misconception. You can be found guilty of supplying drugs even when you are receiving nothing in return for the exchange. And, in fact, you may be found guilty of supplying drugs through merely offering an illegal substance to someone.

If you supply, distribute, administer, or offer to do any of the three, you may be found guilty of the offence of supplying. The severity of the penalty levied against you will again be affected by the classification and amount of the substance involved, however the characteristics of the person you were supplying the substance to will also play a large role in your sentencing as well. Supplying to vulnerable individuals such as minors, the developmentally disabled, or unknowing victims will result in much more severe sentencing.

Trafficking: Trafficking drugs differs from supplying drugs in that it must be a commercial act, usually (but not always) at a larger scale and with a higher level of organisation. Trafficking, unlike supplying, must have a financial component and this is the offence most associated with organised crime and gang activity. However, this can still include smaller scale sales like selling to friends. Because there is a commercial gain involved with this crime, the penalties for trafficking are more severe than for those involved in supplying.

Importing: Essentially, importing is trafficking drugs internationally and will be considered a Commonwealth offence with extremely harsh penalties, including the possibility of a life sentence.

Producing: Drug production is as straightforward as it sounds: whether you are cooking or growing, owning the operation or merely participating, you can be found guilty of producing and will be subjected to extremely harsh penalties. Though there will be harsher penalties for more serious classifications of drug, you will still be liable regardless of the scope of your drug production.

If you or someone you know is facing possible prosecution for a drug offence, contact Hannay Lawyers for a consultation today on (07) 3184 2323.

What to Do When Charged with a Criminal Offence

By | Criminal Law

Whether it’s your first time or you already have a criminal record, being charged with a criminal offence can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. An experienced criminal lawyer, however, can alleviate at least some of this burden by lending their knowledge and support to your situation, ensuring that your rights are protected and all legal requirements are met.

Being charged with an offence

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your offence, the charging process can markedly differ. There are three primary methods by which a person may be charged: by notice to appear, through complaint and summons, or via arrest.

Notice to Appear: You may  receive a notice to appear in court. This notice may be issued immediately by the police and will generally describe the alleged offence with which you are being charged, without the particulars.

Complaint and Summons: If you are charged via a complaint and summons, you will likely not need to visit the police station as these charges are sworn under oath by a justice of the peace. When faced with a complaint and summons, you will need to appear in court in the following weeks, depending upon the severity of the charge and the immediacy of the summons.

Arrest: The most commonly thought-of form of charge, an arrest often involves force as it requires taking the accused into custody. Formal charges will be issued after the accused is taken to a police station or watch house.

Types of criminal charges

There are two kinds of criminal charge that you may be served with: simple offences, or crimes and misdemeanours. The type of offence that you are charged with will affect the method by which you’re charged. The more serious the crime, the more immediate your charge will be. For instance, an offender who commits assault is likely to be charged while being arrested, whereas an offender who commits a traffic offence will likely receive a Notice to Appear.

Simple Offences (also known as Summary Offences): These can include minor infractions such as disorderly conduct and traffic offences.

Crimes and Misdemeanours (also known as Indictable Offences): These cover more serious infractions, including (but not limited to) robbery, murder, and assault.

How will you plead?

Once charged with a crime, you will need to decide how you will plead: guilty, or not guilty. The way you plead is of crucial importance and at this stage, you will definitely benefit from the professional advice and expertise of a lawyer experienced in criminal law.

Guilty: Pleading guilty is generally a straightforward process, though it is important to make sure that you understand in full the charges being leveled against you and the implications thereof.

Not Guilty: Pleading not guilty is a more elaborate process as, once you enter this plea, you will be required to take the matter to trial. In preparation for trial, you and your lawyer will need to carefully review the details of your case, including the evidence the police have against you and the prosecution documents.

There are strict time limits, legal requirements, and detailed arguments to be made after being charged with a criminal offence. The most important thing you can do to pursue your best interests is to fully understand the charges you are accused of, the implications of these charges, and your potential plea options.

You can count on a professionally trained criminal lawyer to represent your best interests and help clarify your options moving forward. Hannay Lawyers are specialists in criminal matters so contact us today on (07) 3184 2323.

Fraud Lawyers Gold Coast & Brisbane

What You Need to Know About Drug Trafficking Charges

By | Drug Charges

Drug trafficking is one of the most serious offences involving dangerous drugs in Queensland, carrying heavy terms of imprisonment. But given there are many different types of drug offences in Queensland legislation, it’s helpful to know at the outset what ‘trafficking’ and ‘dangerous drugs’ actually means.

In simplest terms, trafficking means you traded in or dealt with dangerous drugs, including selling them. In a court, this will require the prosecution to prove that you were ‘carrying on a business’ in dangerous drugs.

Schedule 1 and 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 list the drugs considered ‘dangerous’ drugs, including (but not limited to) in Schedule 1 amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, lysergide, methylamphetamine and ecstasy. Schedule 2 lists over 100 less serious drugs, including cannabis, codeine, methadone, morphine, opium, oxycodone and Psilocybin (magic mushrooms).

How are drug trafficking charges treated by the legal system?

To be prosecuted for drug trafficking, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you carried on an unlawful business in which you trafficked a dangerous drug.

In order to prove this the police will need to show that you conducted several transactions over a period of time, though you don’t need to have traded indefinitely nor have made a profit from drug sales in order for it to be considered trafficking. Earlier cases suggest you might be carrying on a business to sell drugs if activities such as the following have occurred:

  • Advertising or promoting the ‘product’ by communicating with prospective buyers;
  • setting up lines of supply;
  • negotiating the process and terms of supply and payment;
  • soliciting and receiving orders; and
  • arranging places and times of delivery.

It should be noted that a one-off deal can still be considered trafficking in dangerous drugs, as a business can be said to have been carried on from the point of the first transaction. To determine this the court will look at whether in this particular situation you intended – in selling the drug – to make a financial gain (either for yourself or someone else).

Are there defences to a trafficking charge?

If you are charged with drug trafficking, you may be able to plead a defence to the charge which will either reduce your penalty or, in a best-case scenario, see the charge dropped. The most common defences to this charge are:

  • That the drug was not a dangerous drug;
  • that there was a mistake of fact, meaning you had an honest and mistaken belief that it was not a dangerous drug;
  • that you acted under duress, meaning you were not acting with free will but because someone else had, for example, threatened you.

What are the penalties?

Trafficking in a dangerous drug is what’s known as an indictable offence, meaning a serious crime likely to be heard before a judge and jury in the Supreme Court.

The maximum penalty for trafficking of a dangerous drug specified in Schedule 1 of the Act outlined above is 25 years, and 20 years for a drug specified in Schedule 2.

A number of other factors are taken into account by a court in determining a jail sentence less than the maximum penalty for this offence, including the type and purity of the drug; its street value; the value of the trafficking business and the time frame over which it was conducted; as well as the level of your involvement and your personal circumstances.

The importance of legal representation

As can be seen from the penalties above, being charged with drug trafficking is a very serious matter and requires the guidance and assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer for anyone charged with the offence. Prosecution carries not only jail time but permanent damage to your reputation and restrictions on your ability to work and travel.

The State can also commence proceedings against you under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscations Act 2002, applying to seize or otherwise deal with your property and assets if you’ve been charged with drug trafficking. If this happens you will need immediate legal advice as strict time limits apply in such matters.

In any event, the criminal justice system in Queensland is complex. A law firm like Hannay Lawyers has many years of experience navigating this system, with an extensive knowledge of relevant laws and the vital practical experience of appearing in many Queensland courts on behalf of people charged with such offences.

If you’ve found yourself in the difficult position of facing charges for drug trafficking, or are trying to help someone who has, contact our Brisbane or Gold Coast offices today on (07) 3184 2323 for a free initial consultation.

How to Apply for Bail in Queensland

By | Break & Enter Charges, Drug Charges, General News

Bail is a feature of our criminal justice system that allows a person to continue living in the community after they’ve been charged with an offence.

In precise technical terms, bail is the written undertaking the person charged with the offence signs, promising to appear at court at a date set down on the undertaking, also called a ‘Notice to Appear’. Bail is something a person needs to apply for and the conditions covering such an application are set out in the Bail Act 1980 (Qld).

Bail conditions can include such things as a reporting condition (requiring you to sign in at a police station on certain days of the week) and a residential condition (requiring you to reside at a stated address and not relocate without prior permission of the court or police).

Someone on bail must also undertake not to commit any further offences (that attract jail time) or face more severe penalties.

How does bail work if I’m arrested?

If you’re arrested by police they may then release you on ‘watch-house bail’ after you sign a bail undertaking to attend court on a certain date and comply with any further conditions on the undertaking.

If police refuse you bail, the next step is to apply for bail to the Magistrates Court where the matter will be dealt with more expeditiously and with less cost than in a higher court. If the Magistrate also refuses bail, you will be held in custody until the charges against you are finally dealt with or you then make a formal application to the Supreme Court. Where there are very serious charges involved – such as in domestic violence cases or other incidents of violence – you will need to demonstrate to the court why your detention in custody is not justified. If the Supreme Court refuses you bail, you can apply again, but you may be required to show a “material change of circumstances” – how things have changed before your first application and this one – as to why bail should now be granted.

What factors are taken into account in granting bail?

While there is generally a presumption in favour of bail, in cases where the charges are of a more serious nature the court will consider whether the person applying for bail constitutes “an unacceptable risk”.

This risk is assessed on numerous factors including:

  • The nature and seriousness of the offence;
  • the character and background of the defendant;
  • the history of any previous grants of bail to the defendant;
  • the strength of the evidence against the defendant;
  • whether a defendant will either fail to appear in court as required;

commit further offences; endanger the safety or welfare of a person; or,

interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice.

A person may also be refused bail for their own protection. It’s important to note that at this stage of the process, the onus is on the police to show the court why it shouldn’t grant you bail.

The consequences of breaching bail

By not following the conditions of a bail undertaking, you risk arrest and will likely impair any future bail application you might make. It’s possible to face up to two years imprisonment for this offence alone.

Additionally, any money or other security lodged for the bail may be forfeited and the person who acts as surety for your bail may be ordered to pay the security sum to the court. If the surety fails to pay, the court can actually imprison that person for up to two years.

The court may listen to a ‘reasonable excuse’ for why bail conditions weren’t complied with, but this will require supporting evidence such as medical certificates. In this instance, experienced legal advice is highly advisable.

Certain breaches of bail will place the defendant in a ‘show cause’ position, where the onus is now on you – rather than the police – to show why you should be granted bail. These breaches include when you:

  • Fail to appear at court on the nominated date;
  • are charged with an indictable offence alleged to have occurred after you were granted bail for another offence;
  • are charged with an indictable offence involving weapons or a threat of violence committed whether the offence is alleged to have occurred before or after bail was granted;
  • being charged with an offence that has a maximum penalty of life or indefinite imprisonment, whether the offence is alleged to have occurred before or after bail was granted.

Can bail conditions be varied?

Under section 30 of the Bail Act, bail conditions can only be amended by the court or the police. If it’s by the police, your bail undertaking must state that police may grant variations, such as the condition about residing at a specific address.

If the bail undertaking does not allow variation, a court application must be made. Common requests for variation relate to the police station that you must report at, the days you must report, the number of days that you must report, and to change your residential address. The court will generally not reduce the number of days you’re required to report until your matter is past the committal stage but will take into account work and domestic commitments in making a decision.

Bail can be a complex legal matter which is why seeking prompt guidance from lawyers with experience in criminal matters is highly advised, so all options are explored in securing bail until your matter is properly heard in court.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

drug driving lawyers Brisbane

Charged with Drug Driving in Queensland? What You Need to Know

By | Drug Charges, Traffic Offences

While everyone is well aware that driving a vehicle after drinking alcohol is illegal unless you have a blood alcohol level of less an 0.05, what’s perhaps less well known is that in Queensland there is ‘zero tolerance’ for driving under the influence of drugs.

You can be charged, therefore, if the presence of any illicit drug is detected in your system after a road-side saliva test. It should be noted you are also breaking the law if you drive a vehicle or are in charge of a vehicle while you are under the influence of over-the-counter drugs (including alcohol) or drugs your doctor has prescribed.

What can I be charged with?

The two most common offences relating to drug driving are ‘driving while a relevant drug is present in blood or saliva’, and ‘driving under the influence of drugs’. The second offence is considered more serious than the first.

Again, if you’re charged with driving while a relevant drug is present in your blood or saliva, the police don’t have to prove that having the drug in your system means you can’t drive safely or that you are driving less safely. It’s enough that it’s in your system.

What is a ‘relevant’ drug? At the moment, the saliva sample police collect from you only tests for cannabis, MDMA (ecstasy) and methylamphetamine (ICE). It should be noted the time period in which the saliva test can detect a drug differs from drug to drug, and may also be influenced by the frequency and amount of your drug use.

It should also be noted that it’s an offence for a driver to refuse to provide a sample of their saliva to a police officer upon request. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $4,876 or up to six months imprisonment.

As mentioned, driving under the influence of drugs is a more serious charge reflecting the fact a person’s driving has been seriously affected by drug consumption. The law also allows the police to compel you to take a blood test if they reasonably suspect that you have been driving or have been in charge of a motor vehicle while you were under the influence of any drug.

If you return a positive result on your first saliva test, police will generally require you to do a second test. If this second test returns a positive reading your licence will be suspended for a 24-hour period. If you drive during this period there will be additional charges.

What happens if I’m charged with one of these offences?

If you are charged with driving with a relevant drug present and have no other pending drug driving charges, your driver’s licence will remain valid until the charge is dealt with by a court. If there are other charges pending, your licence will be suspended immediately until your court date.

Penalties for driving with a relevant drug present may include:

  • Disqualification from driving for between one to 9 months;
  • a fine of up to $1,706;
  • a maximum term of imprisonment up to three months.

If you are charged with the more serious offence of driving under the influence of a drug, your licence will be immediately suspended until the charge is dealt with by a court. The penalties imposed may:

  • Disqualify you from driving for up to six months;
  • fine you up to $3,413;
  • impose a maximum term of imprisonment up to nine months.

Repeat drug driving offences (within the last five years) naturally enough draw more severe penalties.

If you’re convicted of the lesser offence of having a drug in your saliva or blood while driving or in charge of a vehicle, you may be able to apply for a ‘work licence’ – a restricted driving licence – during your period of disqualification if you need to drive a vehicle for work. This needs to be applied for before pleading guilty to the offence and so legal advice at this stage is strongly recommended.

The importance of legal advice

Given there is latitude in the sentences and fines a court may impose, the most beneficial reason for engaging an experienced lawyer is that they can potentially minimise your penalty.

By presenting persuasive and relevant information on your behalf in defence, a good legal professional can help mitigate the impact of the offence on you and your family. As discussed above, legal guidance is particularly needed if a work licence is needed or you wish to contest the charges.

Contact our Brisbane criminal lawyers today if you need to discuss any of the issues raised in this article.

Atttaker Jailed

Have you been charged in Australia while on a Visa

By | Assault Charges

Attacker Jailed

A man has been jailed for violently attacking a woman with a chair.

Source

A man has been jailed for violently attacking a woman with a chair.

#9News | http://9News.com.au
Posted by 9 News Gold Coast on Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Farshad regularly deals with and is involved in a number of matters, including but not limited to, traffic matters, drug offences, assault and wounding matters, and sexual offences.

Don’t Delay Contact our team  – CALL NOW 07 3184 2323 or

Do you need representation?

In hot water? Get in touch now!

We’ll get back to you within a few hours. If it’s an emergency, call our 24/7 hotline on 0414 478 551.

Get in touch

teenager assault charges lawyers Brisbane

School Yard Bullying Results in Assault Charge

By | Assault Charges

Assault Charges can Attract Jail Time

Farshad Sarabi | Solicitor appears on 9 News Gold Coast with a client who was charged with an Assault Charge. For these types of offences, you need to seek legal advice urgently.

Source

A teenager who stabbed a father with a beer bottle at Helensvale has smugly walked from court taking photos.

#9News | http://9News.com.au
Posted by 9 News Gold Coast on Friday, May 3, 2019

Farshad regularly deals with and is involved in a number of matters, including but not limited to, traffic matters, drug offences, assault and wounding matters, and sexual offences.

Don’t Delay Contact our team  – CALL NOW 07 3184 2323 or

Do you need representation?

In hot water? Get in touch now!

We’ll get back to you within a few hours. If it’s an emergency, call our 24/7 hotline on 0414 478 551.

Get in touch

pulled by police

Myth Busting – What To Expect If You Are Pulled Over By the Police this Christmas

By | Traffic Offences

There are a number of myths associated with breath testing and it’s important to understand – not only your rights – but also your obligations.

Here are a few of the common breath and drug testing myths:

Myth #1 – You Won’t Be Stopped Unless You Do Something Wrong

The police can pull over anyone and for any reason. You are obligated to provide a saliva sample for a drug test or a breath sample two gauge alcohol consumption. The police do not have to give a reason why they pulled you over, and the fact that you were driving safely is not a defence.

Myth #2 – If You’re in an Accident and It’s Not Your Fault, You Won’t be Breath Tested

In the case of an accident, everyone involved is likely to be breath and/or drug tested. As per Myth #1, the police do not need to provide a reason why they are testing you, and the fact that you didn’t cause the accident directly is not relevant. Even if you are injured, the police will likely ask you to provide a specimen.

Myth #3 – You Can Call Your Lawyer Before Providing a Sample

The cliché American television show, “I’m not doing anything until I’ve spoken to my lawyer,” does not apply to roadside tests. In fact, any attempt to delay the providing of a specimen may result in you being arrested. Furthermore, if you have been drinking or taking drugs, it’s unlikely that a short delay will have any impact whatsoever on your results.

Myth #4 – You Can Choose the Type of Specimen You Provide

The police hear this one all the time; “I’m not prepared to provide a breath sample immediately, but I’m happy to accompany you back to the police station to provideed a blood sample.” This is based on a couple of assumptions – that the delay will have a positive impact on the result (refer to Myth #3) and that the police officer will most likely not have the time or inclination to take someone back to the police station.

You are legally obligated to provide the sample that police ask for and failing to do so will likely result in arrest.

The Christmas season is a time of parties and celebration. It’s also when police are at their most vigilant, so make sure you take every precaution to avoid a drink-driving or drug conviction this festive season.

police search of your property

A Police Search of Your Property – What You Need to Know

By | Criminal Law, General News, Major Criminal Law

The police do not have limitless rights when it comes to searching people or their property.

Laws are in place to protect everyone – including you – from law enforcement officials overstepping their bounds. The following will give you the basics of your rights when it comes to a police search of your property.

The Police Don’t Always Need a Warrant

There are circumstances when the police can enter your home without requiring a warrant. These include –
– Handing over or serve a legal document
– In urgent circumstances, for example, injury to a person
– To investigate a traffic offence, for example, to take a breath test for alcohol
– To catch someone who has escaped from prison or from being arrested
– To search for evidence if they reasonably suspect it may otherwise be hidden or destroyed
– To arrest someone
– To reach a crime scene
– To detain someone under an anti-terrorism ‘preventative detention order’—if they reasonably believe that the person they’re looking for is on your property
But if none of these circumstances applies, and should they not have a warrant, you have a right to refuse entry to the police. All you need to do is clearly state that you do not grant permission for the police to enter your property, and if possible say so in front of a witness. Should the police still insist on entering, or if you disagree with the validity of their claims, contact your lawyer immediately.

Warrants Come with Terms and Conditions

Search warrants do not give the police blanket authority to do anything they want inside your home. The warrant will explain exactly what the police are allowed to do and may include digging up a portion of your property, opening locked items if needs be, searching individuals on the premises, or removing wall or ceiling panels. However, if it is not included on the warrant, then the police are not allowed to do it without additional authorisation. Ask for a copy of the warrant, and contact your lawyer.

The Police Can Only Stay for a ‘Reasonable’ Time

This means, that if the warrant to search your property says that the police can enter your home and arrest an individual, they can only stay for the time required to carry out that activity. It could be said that if the police then sit down and begin questioning the individual, that they have gone past the reasonable allocated time and could be asked to leave. In these circumstances, contact your criminal lawyer and ask their advice.

When you goto Court

What to Expect When You Go to Court

By | Representation

What to Expect When You Go to Court

Going to court involves a lot of rules. While many of them may appear archaic or pointless, they should be taken seriously. There are certain protocols that all members of the public must adhere to, as there are consequences in failing to do so that may include fines or incarceration. The following is a basic list of points on what you should expect when attending court.

You Can Represent Yourself, But It’s Not Recommended

You have the right to represent yourself in any of Queensland’s courts as a ‘self-represented litigant.’ However, there are significant downsides, including not knowing processes, which documents to file, or the legal intricacies of your case. We recommend that you seek initial legal counsel to help you decide whether representing yourself is a wise decision.

A Courtroom is a Formal Setting

When you arrive at court it is expected that you will be on time and well presented. You don’t have to wear a suit, but you should have tidy clothing that is well laundered. Additionally, don’t chew gum or eat food while in the courtroom, and pay close attention when anyone is talking to you. When the judge speaks to you, you should stand and address them as “your honour.”

All of this is important because if you should, for example, miss your allocated start time, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.

Arriving at Court

The courthouse can be a busy place, but there are plenty of people available to help you out, and noticeboards and television screens to point you in the right direction. If you aren’t sure of anything, speak to a member of staff rather than making an assumption that could put you on a negative footing. As a guideline –

If you are attending the Magistrates Court, you should wait outside the courtroom and you will be called.

If it’s the District Court, ask the bailiff when the judge will be ready to hear your case.

In the Supreme Court, you should go into the courtroom and wait. Ask the bailiff for approximate times.

In all instances, your lawyer is there to guide you through the process. They will meet with you, answer any of your questions and make sure you are in the right place at the right time.

If you are attending court and would like some advice, please reach out to us HERE, or call us directly.

falsely accused of a crime

Have You Been Falsely Accused of a Crime?

By | Major Criminal Law

Having false accusations levelled against you can be incredibly traumatic.

Besides the psychological implications – which have been said to include high levels of anxiety, depression and sometimes post traumatic stress – there are the legal aspects to consider. How you handle the allegations will go a long way to setting things right. Here are some points you need to know about false allegations.

Making a False Allegation is a Crime in Itself

Making a false accusation is a crime, as long as the person making the accusation knew the allegation to be false, and intended the accusation to result in the investigation of an offence. This law, of course, is designed to dissuade individuals from using the legal system as a tool to further their own agenda. Common examples of this include using allegations as a strategy to claim custody in family disputes or to settle personal vendettas. It’s important that you seek legal advice and discuss the allegations, evidence and options with your legal counsel.

Just Because the Claim is False, Don’t Think It’s Not Serious

The legal system is there to protect you, but until you know all the details of the case against you it’s important to treat the case as serious. Should your accuser have compelling evidence, corroborating witnesses or some other piece of information that makes their story believable, you should consider it important to disprove the allegations, rather than just claiming your innocence. This approach will be much more useful in a legal setting, where your accuser is attempting to send the case.

Make yourself aware of the law

Regardless of the circumstances, you should familiarise yourself with the law as it relates to your accusation. Too often, people assume that “common sense,” says that they haven’t broken any laws – but this may not be the case. It’s vital that you ascertain quickly whether you have in fact broken any laws, and what actions you should take. Speak to your legal adviser, and tell them all the details; including your relationship with the accuser, your actions during the time of the alleged incident, and any other information that could potentially be brought up by the other party.

The law is there to protect you, but entering into a legal process – even an unfair one – unprepared is not only foolish but dangerous.

 

Want to learn more, click here

caught out drug driving

Drug Driving: Could YOU Be Caught Out 

By | Criminal Law, General News, Major Criminal Law

The number of drivers being charged with drug driving is on the rise.

Queensland Police have carried out a number of ‘blitzes’ and advertising campaigns designed to educate the driving public. Most people are now aware that roadside saliva tests can be carried out by police in the same way as an alcohol breath test. What is less well known is what substances the tests will identify, and what is considered an illicit drug.

1. Saliva Samples Don’t Test for Everything…Yet

At the moment, the saliva sample will test for known active ingredients in certain drugs –

  • Methylamphetamine – Speed or ice
  • MDMA—Active ingredient in ecstasy
  • THC—Active ingredient in cannabis

Of course, this test is always being improved, and it’s unsafe to assume that other drugs won’t be identifiable through a saliva sample in the near future. There may also be other tests introduced to broaden the number of testable substances.

2. Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs

The Queensland Government warns members of the public not to drive under the influence of ANY substance – including some prescription medications.  It’s important to read the warnings associated with your medications and to take them seriously. Importantly, if you are pulled over by the police, and they ask about your prescription medication then do not make any statement that may incriminate you. The police may rely on your admission at a later date.

3. Breath Test Rules Apply to the Saliva Test

The rumour that you are not legally obligated to provide a saliva sample for drug testing is simply not true. In fact, failing to do so will – in all likelihood – make things much worse for you. Failing to provide a sample will result in you being fined and potentially imprisoned. You may also be charged with driving under the influence of drugs, despite no sample being present.

Drug driving charges are serious; in that, they may come with other drugs charges attached, such as possession, or worse.

If you are charged with any drug offence, ask to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible and contact criminal lawyers Gold Coast at Hannay Lawyers HERE.

possessing dangerous drugs

Possessing Dangerous Drugs – What You Need to Know 

By | Criminal Law, Major Criminal Law

Possessing Dangerous Drugs – What You Need to Know

Drug possession laws have been designed, over time, to remove any potential loopholes. They are intentionally broad and include a significant amount of leeway, allowing law enforcement officials to make assumptions when building a case against you.  Of course, the following article is generic advice only and does not take your personal circumstances into consideration. If you require legal assistance, please contact us directly.

Here are just a few things you need to know about the possession of dangerous drugs, and the related laws:

1. Possession Means “Control” and “Knowledge”

In court, the onus will be on the prosecution to prove that you had knowledge of a dangerous drug, and that you also had control of it. Where many defendants get confused is the definition of control. For example, the drug does not need to be on your person in order for control to be proven. Nor does it need to be in your primary residence, or personal motor vehicle. According to the law, control simply means that you have the ability to gain physical access to it.

Dangerous Drugs are Broadly Defined

While you are probably aware that dangerous drugs are, “graded,” for their severity, the law has been tailored to accommodate for drugs that don’t fall into any of the existing categories. For example, if you are found to be in possession of a drug that has a similar chemical makeup, effect, or other pharmacological similarities, then it can still be defined as a dangerous drug. In other words, don’t think that just because the type of drug you are in possession of isn’t a chemical match for any of the drugs that exist on the list, that you won’t be convicted of a crime.

There are Defences Open to You

The law is not one-dimensional, and there are opportunities for you to defend yourself. This may include proving that the drug was not, in fact, dangerous, or that you were forced to possess the substance against your will. You may also be able to take the approach that you weren’t aware that the substance you were in possession of was dangerous.

At Hannay Lawyers, we have extensive experience in drug and banned substance cases.

To talk to one of our team about your case and the avenues open to you, please contact our criminal lawyers Brisbane.

your rights criminal law

Your Rights When Charged Under Criminal Law

By | Criminal Law

If you’ve been charged under criminal law, you will be introduced to a process that can feel overwhelming.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand your rights and to offer some generalistic tips. Importantly, if you are charged with a crime then your first step should be to get legal advice; an experienced criminal lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and explain the implications of any actions you may be considering.

  1. This is Not an American Crime Show

In Queensland, unless the police want to question you in relation to a serious offence, they are under no obligation to “read you your rights.” If arrested, you will be told that you are under arrest and the reason or reasons they are arresting you. Regardless of this, you do have the right to remain silent but you still must tell the police –

– Your name and address

Failure to do so may result in additional charges.

Importantly, they cannot coerce a confession from you by making promises or threatening you, nor can they formally interview without informing you have the right to lawyer, a family member or friend.

Follow the directions of the police officers, tell them who you are, ask for the charges in writing and tell them you wish to speak to a lawyer.

  1. Don’t Assume Anything

If you have been arrested and feel that your rights have been breached, remember there is a time and a place for everything. Do not attempt to rectify the situation in the police car, or – more importantly, resist arrest, as this may result in additional charges. If you have been injured during your arrest, make your Lawyer aware and take pictures of your injuries, you may also wish to ask to see a doctor if your injuries are severe.

Most importantly, pay attention to everything so that you can explain it clearly to your lawyer when you speak with them.

  1. Without an Arrest, Nothing Happens

If the police ask you to accompany them to the police station, you have the right to refuse. In fact, the only time you are obligated to accompany police is when you have been formally arrested. Ask the police to clearly explain whether you are being arrested or asked to accompany them to the police station. If it is the latter, tell them you will speak to your lawyer before taking any further action. it may be that should you refuse to attend, then they will place you under arrest, at which time you are compelled, if you refuse you may be charged with further offences.

In all matters, do your best to comply with police, pay attention to both the charges against you and the circumstances of your arrest, and ask for legal representation as soon as possible.

corporate crime and fraud

Corporate Crime and Fraud – What You Need to Know

By | Criminal Law

Corporate crimes and fraud fall within the remit of a number of law enforcement and government agencies. State and Federal Police, ASIC, the ATO and the ACCC may get involved, depending on the nature of the accusation.

While most cases of white-collar crime that reach the public consciousness have to do with embezzlement or tax fraud, there are many other categories, such as corrupting commission or rewards and obtaining benefit by fraud. Company directors should make themselves familiar with their obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 in order to avoid any unintentional breach.

Every case related to companies and fraud is different and depends on the nature of the business, and the way the business is managed – usually from a financial point of view. The nature of the accusation also has a significant impact on the case. For example, if accused of Obtaining a benefit by Fraud, and the accused is alleged to be director, it must be proven that –

  • The accused was an officer of an organization
  • The accused made or published a statement
  • The making of the statement was dishonest
  • The statement was knowingly false or may be false
  • The making or publishing of the statement was intended to deceive members or creditors of the organization about its affairs
  • The accused obtained a benefit

While this level of complexity provides protections for companies and individuals who arefalsely accused, it also makes the defence of white-collar crime a highly specialised and technical discipline. Many cases, due to the amount of information required which needs to be accessed from what is often many thousands of pages of data, can take a considerable amount of time to conclude.

If you have been accused of a white-collar crime, you should obviously seek legal advice immediately. This is doubly important if law enforcement and government agencies are not yet involved in the process. Misunderstandings and unintentional breaches can be rectified through mediation, without the need to burden the courts. Having legal counsel in place, who can assist both parties in understanding the relevant legislation, and the legal implications of additional action can aid in amicably and gracefully concluding matters. Whether a matter is deemed to be one of professional impropriety, or something more serious can only be determined by referencing the relevant legislation.

To talk to us about your concerns, or if you have been accused of a crime, call or email us directly.

any lawyers

Will Any Lawyer Do?

By | Criminal Law, Major Criminal Law

Whether you are hiring a criminal lawyer, family lawyer or a corporate lawyer, it’s sometimes hard to compare apples with apples.

After all, every lawyer you find will be suitably qualified, come with some experience and will have the ability to talk to you about your case. They will tell you how confident they are when it comes to “this type of case,” and perhaps even mention a few judge’s names to impress you.

And maybe they are the best person for the job – but does the best salesperson necessarily make the best lawyer?

Spend a bit of time online and you will quickly discover that what may appear to be the right decision has the potential to turn into a choice that costs defendants thousands of dollars, years of their life or both.

Specialisation is Crucial

It is not enough for a lawyer to be able to “talk the talk,” and demonstrate an understanding of the merits of the case; your lawyer should be a specialist. In order to understand the true definition of a specialist – beyond generic claims and website boasting –  we need to dig a little deeper.

Your lawyer should be able to discuss your case in detail and relate it to other cases, both those they have taken part in and others that are relevant to your circumstances. They should be able to not only express their confidence but also demonstrate legal precedent that they will refer to during the case. When offering an opinion, it should be backed by a legal argument, without unnecessary bravado.

This is important, because when in court your argument will be put in front of the judge or jury based on the law as it stands today. All the emotional pleading, confidence and empathy in the world won’t make any difference if the underlying legal framework is not solid.

How this Works Practically

When meeting with your lawyer for the first time, take all relevant documentation, and have an open and honest discussion with them. Even if you haven’t formally hired them yet, ask them about the merits of your case, and why they believe they can help you. Hopefully, they will refer to past experiences, other cases and the capacity of their firm to build a solid and robust defence. Many defendants choose to go with a lawyer who demonstrates obvious empathy for their circumstances. While this is a natural human inclination, it also detracts from the core purpose of your legal counsel – presenting your case as it relates to current legal precedent, not just putting on a show.

When hiring a lawyer, take the time to dig deeper by educating yourself with regards to their experience, capability and skill.

find best lawyer brisbane

Finding the Best Criminal Lawyer for You

By | Criminal Law

When it comes to hiring a criminal lawyer, there is no shortage of options.

A quick search on Google will yield hundreds of results in your local area, and many more nationally, all claiming to be the very best criminal lawyers in the country. So how do you select the right criminal lawyer for you?

  1. Specific Experience

Criminal law is a broad discipline. In fact, attempting to name all the crimes in existence and their variants would be an enormous task. When seeking a criminal lawyer, look for someone who has specific and meaningful experience in the area of expertise you require. Ask if they have taken on cases like yours before, and what they see as the key to success in your particular scenario. “Experienced in criminal law,” is far too generalistic, you are seeking someone who understands the specifics of your particular case.

  1. Flexibility and Maturity

Some lawyers are eager to get to court; their speciality may be in litigation or they may enjoy the limelight. Likewise, some lawyers will avoid court at all costs, given the option. Seek out a lawyer who will look at a case, and all the possibilities, and make decisions based on their merits. Perhaps there are more options available to you than going to court and arguing your case. A lawyer with flexibility and understanding will seek out the best possible avenue, rather than have a one-track mind.

  1. Local Knowledge

The very best criminal lawyer with specific experience and an eagerness to get you the best possible outcome may still not be the right person for the job. Do they know the judges? Do they have an understanding of local law? This is especially important in Australia, where different states have different laws, and local lawyers have a knowledge of local judges.

Local knowledge can be the difference between a good result and a disastrous one.

  1. Trust

Your lawyer must be someone you trust. In criminal cases you are going to have to be open and honest with them, talk about uncomfortable scenarios and potentially put your freedom in their hands. Make sure that when you sit down with your lawyer, you feel comfortable talking to them and that they are someone who you could work with. Ask about the case, talk about their approach and experience, and decide whether they are the right person for you.

A good criminal lawyer Gold Coast is someone who can put you in the best position to get a good result. Don’t gamble with your freedom and make the effort to find that person and have them in your corner.

do i need a criminal lawyer Gold Coast

Do I Need a Lawyer?

By | Criminal Law

If you’ve been in a legal scrape and you’ve probably asked yourself this question. After all, lawyers cost money and if you can do it yourself, why wouldn’t you?

Here are some examples of when you should contact your lawyer.

  1. When You Are Not Sure What Action to Take

Perhaps you’ve been charged with a crime that you don’t entirely understand. Maybe law enforcement are insisting that you give some kind of statement, or offer some additional information. Perhaps you feel that your rights have been impinged in some way.

Your lawyer’s job is to clear up legal misunderstandings and offer you some clarity. They will explain the next steps, give you options and tell you what to say and – perhaps more importantly – what not to say.

  1. When You Don’t Trust the Situation

The most common example of this is when you are told, “you don’t have to get a lawyer involved just yet.” Statements like this are carefully worded; of course you don’t have to get a lawyer involved, it’s entirely up to you. But not having legal counsel present gives law enforcement time to talk to you, and get you to say things that could potentially incriminate you or enhance the case against you. Other warning statements include, “of course you can call your lawyer, let’s do that shortly,” and other delaying tactics. Don’t say anything, contact your legal counsel and wait for them to arrive. Remember, you are entitled to have a lawyer present, and asking for one is not in any way an admission of guilt.

  1. When You Need Support

Being arrested, or asked questions by police can be an intimidating experience. Maybe you are worried about what you are going to say, or perhaps you don’t know what to expect. Your lawyer can act as a support person for you, someone who understands the the process and can walk you through it. Sometimes it’s nice having someone in the room with your best interests at heart.

  1. When You are Going to Court

Self-representation is almost always a mistake. Even if you are incredibly articulate, with a good basic knowledge of the law, the advantage always lies with the side who has a professional as their representative.

Litigators salivate at the prospect of not having to deal with an experienced opposition council, because the complexities of the law – rather than just the merits of the case – can be used as a tool. Many good cases have been lost because defendants chose to represent themselves, assuming that their argument required no interpretation or legal precedent. Something that is regarded as ‘common sense’ by a defendant, may not be by a judge or jury.

When deciding whether you need a lawyer or not, consider both sides of the argument. Not only how much money you will save by not having legal counsel, but also how much money or time you may lose through not making the call. For the sake of a few dollars, it sometimes better to have someone by your side, rather than end up in jail or with a crippling fine.