​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Going to court

If you are pleading guilty, the magistrate will usually s​entence you on the first date you go to court, unless the matter has to be adjourned.

Icon: Page with numbered list  Going to court - Step by step guide

​Step 1: Find your courtroom

When you go to court for the mention, you will need to find the courtroom where your case will be heard. The court will usually put up a list of all the cases being heard that day. You should look for your name on the list, and it will tell you the courtroom you need to go to.

Step 2​: Speak to the police prosecutor (if you need to)

You may want to speak to the police prosecutor about getting a copy of the Police Facts Sheet and your criminal and/or driving record, if you don't already have it.

You may also want to talk to the prosecutor about any changes you want made to the police facts sheet. It is best to write to the police about any problems you have with the facts sheet, or about getting your charges dropped, before your court date. If the change you want is minor, it is possible to negotiate this with the police prosecutor when you are at court.

The prosecutor will be wearing a suit not a uniform. They will be sitting on one side of the bar table in the middle of the courtroom, and they will usually have a large pile of files with them.

For more information on talking to the police prosecutor about changes to the facts sheet, see Negotiating with the police.

Step 3: Ente​​r your plea

The magistrate will ask you 'how do you intend to plead' or 'what do you say to the charges'. If you have decided to plead guilty, this is the time when you need to tell the magistrate you are pleading guilty.

Icon - hintMake sure you are polite and wait your turn to speak. You should also refer to the magistrate as 'your honour'.

Icon - alertIf you want to do an intervention program, or if you have already enrolled in one, this is when you should tell the magistrate. The magistrate may adjourn your case at this point until after you have completed the program. For more information about getting ready for court, see Preparing for court.

Step 4: The prosecutor hands up the facts sheet an​​d your record

After you have entered your plea of guilty, the police prosecutor will hand up (give) the 'facts and record' to the magistrate.  These documents are the Police Facts Sheet and your criminal and/or driving record. The magistrate may ask you if you have read the police facts sheet. The magistrate will then read both these documents. 

Make sure you have read the police facts sheet and your criminal and/or driving record (if you have one) before it is handed up to the magistrate. These documents can only be handed up to the magistrate by the prosecutor, if you consent. If you don't agree with what they say, you do not have to consent. If you decide to object, you should be ready to explain your objection to the magistrate.

Icon - hintIf you don't have a copy of these documents, you should ask the prosecutor for a copy. You should read them carefully and make sure they are yours.

For more information about the documents the prosecutor hands up, see Information from the police.

Step 5: Han​​d up your documents

After the police prosecutor has handed up the Police Facts Sheet and your criminal and/or driving record, the magistrate may ask you if you have anything to hand up.

This is when you can give the magistrate any written submissions, letter of apology, character references, reports or certificates.

Before you hand up the documents the police prosecutor will have a look at them and decide whether to consent to you handing them up. A court officer can pass them to the prosecutor or you can give the prosecutor another copy. If they do not object to anything in them, the court officer will give them to the magistrate.

Icon - hintYou should not approach the bench (the table where the magistrate sits) unless you are given permission.

For more information, see Your documents.

Step 6: Make y​our submissions

After the magistrate has read your documents, you can make submissions to the court. This means you can explain what happened in your owns words and give the court some information about yourself. This is called 'mitigating' the offence.

You should also tell the court about:

  • your personal history
  • your education and employment history
  • your financial circumstances, including your income and expenses (this may help the magistrate decide how much to fine you)
  • your good character
  • your criminal and/or traffic history
  • your need for a drivers licence (if necessary)
  • how sorry you are for your actions.

For more information, see Your submissions.

Step 7: The pr​osecutor may make submissions

After you have made your submissions, the magistrate may ask the prosecutor if they have anything to say. The prosecutor may want to point out to the magistrate any facts which aggravate the offence (make the offence seem worse), or tell the magistrate what sentence they think you should be given.

Step 8: The decision

After the magistrate has read all the documents and listened to you and the prosecutor, he or she will sentence you. The magistrate will usually ask you to stand up when they are reading out your penalty.

You will usually be sentenced on the same day, unless the magistrate adjourns the case so that you can enrol in an intervention program, or the magistrate requests a pre-sentence report.

For more information, see The decision.

For more information about what might happen at court, you should watch the video below. 

You can also read a transcript of this video Microsoft Word Icon(39 kb).

​​This video is available with the audio description.​