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Hannay Lawyers

How to Apply for Bail in Queensland

By | 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.

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.

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How to Hire a Family Lawyer

By | Representation

Family disputes can be incredibly strenuous, and cost far more than money. Memories, relationships and emotions can all fall victim when families are torn apart and choosing the right family lawyer is an important decision for multiple reasons.

Firstly, it’s important you find a lawyer that you can talk to openly. Because this is your personal life, rather than a workplace dispute, deeply personal circumstances can come to the surface, and your lawyer will not want any surprises, so find someone you can trust.

Secondly, it’s important to find someone who has experience in your type of case. No family law scenario is “black-and-white,” so ask about your lawyer’s experience, how he or she sees your chances and what approach they will take.

Here are some other points to consider when hiring a family lawyer.

  1. Support

One of the most valuable and understated advantages of having a lawyer is the emotional support they can provide. As a confidant outside of your core group of family and friends, they can be relied upon to tell you the truth, and reduce the level of uncertainty.

Make sure you are comfortable talking to your family lawyer and that you consider them to be someone you can rely on for more than just legal advice.

  1. Management

A good family lawyer will gain an appreciation of the intricacies of the case. This means learning about what everyone wants, and why certain family members feel the way they do. In such an emotionally charged environment, a calm voice acting as an intermediary can reduce the stakes exponentially. Meaning, that the disagreement you end up having could have a much lower financial impact than you originally thought.

A capable family lawyer will work to understand the entire case and resolve certain issues in an elegant and mutually beneficial way. Take the time to learn your lawyer’s approach and talk about how you can resolve some problems early in the process.

  1. Mediator

Often in family legal disputes, there are multiple parties on either side.This could mean immediate family, step-siblings, spouses or close friends. Each of these people have their own agenda, most likely with the best of intentions, but sometimes at odds with others. A lack of consensus across a diverse group of complainants can lead to additional costs and time and jeopardise the case. A crucial role of your family lawyer is sitting down with everyone, explaining the situation clearly from a legal standpoint, and acting as a mediator between the various parties. This may mean helping members of your family find a middle ground, suggesting that a certain person’s involvement is not useful, or explaining the realities of the case for any family members who don’t understand the ramifications of certain actions.

If your side is acting in unison, because they understand not only what they want, but also how they are pursuing it, the chances of success are much higher.

Consider how well your lawyer will relate to various family members and other interested parties. Ask about their experience in this area, and even bring them in on some of the challenges.

drug offence lawyers Brisbane

Your Rights When Charged with a Drug Offence

By | Criminal Law

If you’ve been charged with a drug offence it’s important to understand your rights and obligations. As always, remember that the following points are generic and haven’t taken your situation into account. To talk in more detail, phone us on (07) 3063 9799 or email us here.

Don’t Say Anything Without a Lawyer

Queensland and Australian drug law is intricate and complicated. The police who have arrested you understand the law, and will use any comments you make against you. For example, there is a big difference between possession and ownership – just because you are in possession of a drug doesn’t mean that you necessarily own it. A good example of this is if your house is searched, drugs are discovered and you live with multiple people.

A foolish comment can have a massive impact on your case. Say nothing, do as you’re told and call your lawyer.

Searches

The police are allowed to search you if they reasonably suspect that you are in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. Searches are the one time when you should speak up and make sure you are understood. Explain to the police that you do not give consent in any way to being searched, and ask for written evidence that they understand this. The police are obligated to demonstrate the reasons that they reasonably suspected you were in possession of drugs or drug related products prior to search, unless you voluntarily give permission. “Do you mind if we search you?” Is not just a throwaway comment, it’s a way for the police to gain permission as, to a certain extent, it does away with the police’s obligation to prove reasonable suspicion.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

If police have found you in possession of drug paraphernalia, don’t admit to anything else. While they have the right to charge you for possession of a bong or pipe, they may not be arresting you for drug use or possession. Don’t try and be clever, because every comment you make will be used against you by police.

Drug Driving

The police are able to randomly drug test drivers, and you are obligated to complete the test. Even if you haven’t taken drugs for days, it could still show up on the test. Remember that following the test, the police will ask you when you took drugs – tell them you have nothing more to say and ask to speak to your drug driving lawyer.

Just Chatting

If you’ve been arrested and are driving back to the station, the police may use the ride as an opportunity to get more information out of you. Just because the conversation seems relaxed and friendly, doesn’t mean whatever you say is off the record. Nothing, as far as the police are concerned, is off the record. You are under no obligation to maintain a conversation with a police officer, or to say anything until you have adequate legal representation. This isn’t being rude, it’s a practical reality.

Drug laws are intentionally broad and have been designed with the police, not the offender, in mind. A good example of this is the fact that drug trafficking can involve a single customer and multiple transactions, without any currency exchanging hands. Keep this in mind when dealing with police, and don’t assume to know anything. It only takes one comment to change the nature of your charges, and a single slipup can cost you years in prison.

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Hiring a Criminal Lawyer and What to Look For

By | Criminal Law

Hiring the right lawyer for a criminal case can be the difference between achieving a satisfactory outcome, and a result that can tear your life apart.

Just because you know someone and trust them, doesn’t mean they are qualified to handle your specific matter. Likewise, you don’t want to work with someone who is capable, but unethical.

Here are some points to finding the right person to work with:

Trust

Before you decide who to work with, you may wish to spend some time with your potential lawyer to make sure they inspire confidence.  Prepare a list of questions before you meet for the first time, and be honest and upfront.

“I am speaking to a few lawyers because I want to make sure I have the best possible representation. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.”

Seek their honest opinion on your case, and get their “feel” for how things will play out. Sometimes it’s worth spending a bit of money to make sure you have the right professional on your side.

However, the right lawyer may not be someone you get along with personally, or even like very much. Maybe they come across as brash or condescending – but don’t become distracted by what you see as distasteful personality traits. Your lawyer is not your friend, and just as you don’t choose a doctor based on their manners, make sure you are selecting the right lawyer for your case based on the trust in their specific expertise and experience.

Experience

Begin with experience; does your potential lawyer have experience in cases like yours? What similar cases have they been involved in recently, and were they able to produce good results? Can they produce testimonials or references from satisfied clients?

Process

The legal process will be explained to you, but make sure you ask about your lawyer’s process also. If you decide to work with them, how will the case proceed? Will you need to speak in court, and if so will they provide coaching? How will evidence be gathered? Will they need to be present during police interviews? What do they see as potential opportunities and pitfalls in this particular case? Perhaps most importantly, if you have not been involved in a court case before, then what should you be made aware of that you may not know?

Costs

Go beyond the hourly rate. Ask how much you will likely need to budget for the entire case, and what additional costs may be incurred. If your budget is limited, you can ask your lawyer to tell you when you’ve reached a certain billing level in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. Remember, your lawyer is providing a service at a set hourly rate and needs to know if you have any financial restrictions upfront – complaining about billings after the case is complete is far more painful for both of you than having an open and honest conversation up front.

drug charges lawyers Brisbane

Drug Charges and What You Need to Know

By | Criminal Law

Drug laws in Australia are both strict and complicated.

Numerous legislative changes have meant that it is difficult to write a set of specific guidelines without an understanding of individual circumstances. Therefore, we believe the most important recommendation you can receive is to seek qualified legal advice.

Having said that, here are some points you should be aware of:

  1. Any Quantity is Illegal

In Queensland, it is against the law to possess an illegal drug in any quantity. This is important because saying, “but it was only…” could be seen as more of an admission than a defence. However, if you meet a certain criteria – minor charge, good criminal record, etc – then you may be eligible for drug diversion. This means that you will be released on a good behaviour bond, with certain conditions in place. You can expect to attend some form of rehabilitation and may be required to make yourself available for drug testing.

  1. You May Not Get a Criminal Conviction

This is entirely at the discretion of the court, but there may be an opportunity to maintain your clean record. Importantly, just as will diversion, there is no guarantee of this being an option, and if you have multiple drug offences, a criminal conviction is more likely.

  1. Don’t Try to Work Around the Law

As mentioned, drug legislation is incredibly complex and has been designed to be robust. For example, you can be charged with possession if you have knowledge and control of the drug; meaning that you don’t necessarily have to have it on you to be charged.

The most important thing is not to make assumptions – your lawyer knows what to say, and what could be potentially incriminating.

  1. Know What You’re Being Charged With

It’s important to speak to a lawyer in order to gain an understanding of the specific charges against you. There is a massive difference between being charged with possession of a drug, and being charged with supplying dangerous drugs. In both cases, definitions are intentionally broad enough to ensure there are no gaps in the law. The role of your lawyer is to understand what constitutes a viable defence and to build a strategy based on that.

  1. Intention Matters More Than Action

The law is so broad that it may not even matter if you never supplied drugs to anyone, just that you had the intention of doing so. To take that one step further, you could potentially be charged with supply or possession if you had what you believed to be drugs, and intended to sell them, despite the fact that what you thought were drugs, were not.

Understand that our drug laws have been created by people who understand the types of defences that will be presented to work around the law. If you are arrested and feel the inclination to say something to the police or anyone else, remember that it may be used as an admission of guilt in court, rather than an intelligent defence. Your first call should be to your lawyer, and until they arrive, it may be wise if you politely decline to answer any questions.

If you would like to learn more and speak with Hannay Lawyers please click here.

family law disputes

Resolving Family Legal Disputes

By | General News

Family disputes can be emotionally draining and impact on, not only your life but also those of your extended family.

It’s important to realise that entering a formal legal process with your family should be considered a fall-back position rather than a primary option, but it is available to you if all avenues have failed. Here is what you need to know before you begin the process, and as always, we recommend you seek advice from a qualified practitioner who understands family law before taking any action.

Know What You Want

Before stepping into court, you will likely have to go through a dispute resolution process. This will involve formal mediation facilitated by a court-appointed practitioner. Before you begin, you should define, not only what you consider to be a best-case scenario, but also your fall-back position. While this is often difficult to think about, if mediation is successful and you can find a middle ground that everyone considers acceptable, you can move on with your life and perhaps rebuild relationships. Have a clear picture of what you want before starting mediation.

Dispute Resolution Services

As mentioned, before going to court, you will likely be required to undergo a mediation process using dispute resolution services. This will mean meeting with a mediator and other family members and attempting to find a middle ground. It’s important to seek advice before entering into dispute resolution, as you need to know the strength of your argument and, based on that, the strategy you should pursue. Don’t assume that you have a good case which will stand up in court (if you reach that stage) without having a thorough understanding of your legal requirements and obligations.

Dispute resolution and mediation work well if both parties enter into it with a view to finding a middle ground. This is not the time to be overly aggressive, to alienate any family members or to react emotionally if things start to get personal. Keep a cool head, listen carefully to what everyone has to say, and attempt to have a constructive dialogue. The mediator will make sure everyone gets an opportunity to speak, and you may be surprised to find that you and your family are closer to a resolution than you thought. If you cannot reach an agreement, however, you may need to go to court. Before you decide to do so, however, speak to your lawyer and again discuss the merits of your case.

Going to Court

If dispute resolution doesn’t work and you proceed to court, your lawyer will guide you through the process. They will argue the case and your behalf and lay out what they consider to be the best course of action. Your case will form the basis from which a decision will be made, and it’s important to keep in mind that any decision will be legally binding. This matters because the decision will be based on what is dictated by the law, rather than by what is “fair. “The law is designed to be impartial, so what you think you may be entitled to matters less than what is dictated by legal precedent.

For more information or to start a discussion, please click the link to contact us