​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 |

Pleading guilty

This section has information to help you prepare and present your guilty plea. If you plead guilty, you ​are telling the court you agree with the charges. You may still have an explanation for the offence, or there may have been 'mitigating' circumstances, and you will have the opportunity to tell the magistrate about this.

Icon - alertBefore you plead guilty, you should get legal advice.

    ​​​Pleading guilty in writing

    If you have received a Court Attendance Notice (CAN), you may be able to plead guilty in writing instead of going to court. You can do this by filling out a form called a 'Written Notice of Pleading' and sending it to the court at least seven days before your court date. 

    Icon - alertYou cannot use a Written Notice of Pleading if you are on bail. You must attend court.

    For more information, see Pleading guilty in writing.

    Preparing for court

    Before you go to court, you should think about:

    • whether there are any courses or programs you can do that the court can take into consideration when sentencing you
    • your criminal and driving records (if you have one) and how they might affect you
    • what you want to say to the magistrate
    • who can write a character reference for you
    • any other evidence you might want to show the court.

    If you cannot go to court, you may be able to ask for an adjournment for the case to be moved to a different court house.

    For more information, see Preparing for court.

    Going to court

    When you go to court for the mention, you will need to find the courtroom where your case will be heard.

    After the magistrate has called your name, you will need to tell the magistrate you want to plead guilty.

    The police prosecutor will hand up some documents including the CAN, Police Facts Sheet and your criminal and/or driving record. You will then get a chance to hand up your documents and make your submissions.

    After the magistrate has read all the material and listened to what you and the police prosecutor have to say, they will make a decision about what penalty to give you. This means you will be 'sentenced'.

    Sometimes before the magistrate sentences you they may request a pre-sentence report. A pre sentence report is prepared by an officer of the Probation & Parole service after they have interviewed you. The report will focus on the charges and why you committed the offence, your background and sentencing recommendations. It will tell the magistrate what sentencing options are and are not available. The report can be prepared on the same day or your case may be adjourned to give Probation & Parole time to prepare it.

    For more information, see Going to court.

    Changing your plea

    You can only apply to change your plea from guilty to not guilty after you have entered your plea and before you are sentenced.

    There must be exceptional circumstances for your plea to be changed from guilty to not guilty. Exceptional circumstances could include where you:

    • did not understand the charge/s and did not get any legal advice
    • were pressured or threatened to plead guilty.

    If you have already entered a guilty plea and you want to change this to not guilty, you should get legal advice.

    The decision

    The penalty the magistrate imposes depends on what the law says is the penalty for the particular offence you committed.  However, the magistrate may also:

    • find you guilty but not convict you (called a 'section 10 dismissal')
    • fine you
    • put you on a good behaviour bond
    • order you to do community service
    • give you a term of imprisonment
    • make non association and place restriction orders.

    The court can also make other orders about your licence.

    For more information, see The decision.

    FAQs

    For answers to frequently asked questions, see Frequently asked questions.

    Case Study

    Case study - James Kemp and his guilty pleaCase study icon

    James Kemp was stopped by police in a random breath testing stop on a major highway. James had a reading of 0.06 on the breath test on the side of the road and 0.058 when he did the breath analysis back at the police station. The police gave him a court attendance notice for drive with low range prescribed concentration of alcohol.

    James drives a van for a living. James has previously been convicted of drive while suspended after his licence was suspended for not paying a fine.

    ​He has decided to plead guilty to the offence, but wants to explain to the court his circumstances​. ​