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hiring criminal lawyer Brisbane

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

drunk driving lawyers Brisbane

Need a Lawyer for Drink/Drug Driving Charges?

By | Criminal Law

Please do not read this article as legal advice. It has been written to offer argument and generalised information. If you would like to speak to someone about your drink driving charges, please contact us.

One of the questions we are  most commonly asked is whether a lawyer is a necessity when going to court for charges of drink/drug driving.

A lawyer isn’t just your representative in court; they’re also your guide to the judicial system. A popular misconception is that a court appearance is a formality and that the outcome has already, at least to some extent, been decided. However, the presiding judge will make decisions based on the merits of the case and individual circumstances. Deciding to plead guilty or not guilty, or present your case in a certain way can have unexpected consequences depending on the nature of the charges.

But I’m Just Going to Plead Guilty

This is often a sensible move, but have you thought about what happens next? You may be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of one month, and a conviction may be recorded against you. This may mean that  you will have to declare a conviction to future employers and that traffic conviction may appear on background checks. Also, remember that drugs offences are indictable in countries like the United States, and could affect your travel plans.

Isn’t Driving Under the Influence a Traffic Offence and Not as Important as Criminal Offences?

It depends. You will have a conviction on your record which future employers and government agencies will be made aware of. You need to consider whether this matters to you – will a future employer hire you or somebody else if you have a conviction? Will you be granted a travel visa? These are the things you need to discuss with your lawyer and your family.

What are the Mandatory Minimum Penalties?

There are mandatory minimum disqualification periods for drink/drug driving offences. They range from 1 month disqualification for a low range drink driving, and can go as high as indefinite disqualifications.  As well as the disqualification period, you will also be fined, ordered to undertake probation or community service, or even gaoled. This is why a lawyer is crucial; they will provide you with the building blocks to prepare yourself, and ensure you receive the best possible outcome.   They are also your mouthpiece in court, trained and highly skilled in advocacy.

Can I Apply for a Work Licence?

You can, but it’s not as simple as filling in a form. A work licence enables those who need a vehicle to maintain their employment to obtain a restricted licence.  The license will only allow you to drive for work associated travel, and will be implemented for a period equal or more to a disqualification.. However, you will need to prove to the court that a loss of license for anytime will cause severe financial hardship.  There are also strict eligibility guidelines, which must be followed for a successful application. In other words, you can’t count on it.

I’m Going to Plead Not Guilty

Then you need to ensure that you have obtained proper legal advice.  A firm prepares a case and gets you a lawyer as soon as possible. Your legal counsel will  determine whether you have a defence and help you understand your rights and obligations,and fight t your case in court..

As you can see, a drink driving charge is not as simple as it may appear. Going to court without being aware of the implications of your decisions can be disastrous and have long-term ramifications. Talk to your family about what is important and speak to a lawyer to find out what may be possible.

Want to talk with us? Click here.

finks bikie

Former Fink Escapes Jail Term

By | Criminal Law

A FORMER Finks bikie who assaulted and extorted the owners of a Gold Coast sex shop has been handed a 12-month suspended sentence more than a decade later.

Richard Michail, also known as Richard Savage, turned up at the Mermaid Beach sex shop in July 2004 after the owners attempted to back out of a sign-writing deal with his partner.

When he approached the couple Michail asked “Do you know who the (expletive) I am?” then said “I’m a member of the Finks gang and we run the Gold Coast”.

Michail then grabbed the man and pulled him off the ladder he was standing on before punching him in the head, leaving him with a twisted ankle and permanent back injuries.

During the disturbance he also pushed the female complainant to the ground.

The former Finks sergeant-at-arms demanded the couple pay $600 for the sign rather than the $500 quoted because of the “inconvenience” then threatened to return if he saw another sign up.

The sign was never delivered to the shop.

In the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday the now 41-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges of assault occasioning bodily harm, demanding property, benefit or performance of services with threats and common assault.

Michail was extradited from Victoria to face the charges last year after serving time in prison on a robbery offence.

Solicitor Chris Hannay, from Hannay Lawyers, said police had shown no interest in his client after the incident in 2004 until a warrant was issued in 2009.

Mr Hannay said on the day of the incident Michail had gone to the shop legitimately to talk to them but he “just got fobbed off”.

“He’s moved on with his life, he resigned from the Finks in 2013 … he’s handed his colours in and he’s got nothing more to do with it,” Mr Hannay said.

“It’s certainly not in the interests of justice or the interests of my client if he’s incarcerated on these matters today.”

Magistrate Jacqueline Payne said the back injuries and psychological trauma facing the victim were ongoing.

Ms Payne said she took into account the significant delays in the case and the significant amount of time Michail had spent in custody since on unrelated matters.

She sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment to be suspended immediately and ordered he pay $2000 in compensation to the victim.

As originally seen on Gold Coast Bulletin by Meagan Weymes on March 31, 2015.

Charges Dismissed for Brayden Mechen

By | Criminal Law

ALMOST a year after Brayden Mechen was allegedly punched in the face by a police officer while handcuffed he still struggles to talk about the “worst experience” of his life.

The softly spoken Upper Coomera man was out with mates in Surfers Paradise on September 28 last year when his first ever run-in with police happened.

The 21-year-old attempted to break up an altercation outside Sin City nightclub then grabbed a police officer’s shoulder while his friend was being taken away.

CCTV footage appears to show a police officer tackle Mechen to the ground, then another officer knee him several times.

The most shocking footage from later that morning appears to show another police officer punch Mechen in the face while he was being walked out of the police station in handcuffs.

Senior Gold Coast police have lodged a complaint about the shocking incident which was captured on CCTV footage.

Mechen was charged with serious assault police, assault police and obstruct police in relation to the incident, with police alleging he spat at an officer’s face.

Court documents show police alleged the constable used a “closed hand tactic” to push Mechen’s face away and “prevent the defendant from spitting at the victim again”.

In the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday, the three charges against Mechen were dismissed after the prosecution offered no evidence.

Mechen, whose eyes welled up as he spoke, said the experience was probably the worst he’d ever had.

“I didn’t expect it to happen that fast — I just got thrown,” he said.

“When they were taking me down they started kneeing me and pushing my head into the ground.

“They kept on saying, ‘Stop resisting, stop resisting’ but I wasn’t resisting. I was just laying and letting them do what they had to do.”

“I never knew that’s what they did — I never knew that’s how they treated people.”

He said he tried to break up a fight then tried to get the attention of a police officer by grabbing his shoulder.

Mechen said he found out while at the watch-house that police were alleging he spat at an officer in the face.

“They said I’d done something serious — I didn’t do anything, I was trying to help my mate.”

“I definitely didn’t spit at anyone, at all.”

The electrical trade assistant, who works at airports around Australia, said he was relieved the charges were dropped but said he still felt nervous and hot when he saw police.

Had he faced a conviction he could have lost his Aviation Security Identification Card and his job.

Solicitor Chris Hannay from Hannay Lawyers said it was “extremely disappointing” this sort of behaviour still happened.

Mr Hannay said he and barrister Alastair McDougall had “never really seen anything as bad” as the CCTV footage in more than 50 years of combined legal and policing experience.

“I really can’t put an explanation on it — it’s just absolute stupid behaviour by police officers,” he said.

“There’s got to be a control and professionalism in their behaviour, particularly when people are handcuffed.

“They’ve got to face the consequences if they misbehave.”

A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said senior police from the Gold Coast District lodged a complaint with the Ethical Standards Command in relation to one of the incidents.

The spokeswoman said video footage was being reviewed.

“If any offences or breaches are detected, an appropriate complaint will be lodged with the QPS Ethical Standards Command and fully investigated,” she said.

As originally seen on Gold Coast Bulletin by Meagan Weymes on September 9, 2015.

Charges withdrawn due to insufficient evidence

By | Criminal Law

A Mormon accused of stomping on the head of a stranger who had just been king hit has walked free after there was insufficient evidence to commit him to trial.

Barrister Angus Edwards, instructed by Hannay Lawyers, pointed to inconsistencies between witness statements. Magistrate John Costanzo said the CCTV footage was “poor to say the least”. Mr Costanzo ordered Mr Taufui be discharged and the charges withdrawn.

Read the full story here

Greyhound Trainer to Fight Charges

By | Criminal Law

Daniel Hannay said the 68-year-old intended to challenge the charges.

They followed last month’s ABC Four Corners expose on the use of live animal bait in greyhound training, which caused outrage and rocked the industry nationwide. ‘We are fundamentally denying the allegations that he is facing,’ Mr Hannay said.

Noble had previously spoken candidly about using live bait to help make greyhounds more competitive, and save them from being put down for lackluster track performances.

Read the full story here