​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 not guilty

This section has information to help you prepare and present your not guilty plea. If you plead not guilty, this means that you do not agree with the offence or that you do agree, but you have a defence.

Icon - alertBefore you plead not guilty, you should get legal advice

    ​​​Pleading not guilty in writing

    If you have received a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) and you want to plead not guilty but you cannot get to court for the mention, you may be able to plead not guilty in writing and get the court to send you a letter telling you the next date on which you have to go to court.

    You will need to fill out a form called a 'Written Notice of Pleading'. A Written Notice of Pleading tells the court:

    • you are pleading not guilty
    • what dates you won't be available for a hearing
    • how many witnesses you will have.

    For more information, see Pleading not guilty in writing.

    Preparing for the hearing

    If you are pleading not guilty, you will usually have to go to court on more than one occasion. This is usually for the 'reply date' and the 'hearing'.

    At the mention the magistrate may order the police to serve you with a brief of evidence (documents that make up the evidence against you) and give you a reply date. On the reply date you have to go to court. The magistrate will confirm whether the police have served the brief of evidence and if you still want to plead not guilty.

    If the brief has been served and you still want to plead not guilty, the magistrate will set a hearing date.

    Before you go to court for the hearing you will need to prepare your case. You should:

    • read the brief of evidence, if there is one
    • talk to your witnesses
    • gather any documents, photos or other evidence
    • subpoena documents and witnesses if necessary
    • go to court for the reply to the brief of evidence.

    Icon: HintThe police do not have to provide you with a brief of evidence for some charges. If a brief is not required, then there will be no reply date and the case will be listed straight for hearing.

    For more information, see Preparing for the hearing.

    Going to the hearing

    When you go to court, you will need to find your courtroom. After the magistrate calls your name, the case will start and will usually go ahead as follows:

    • The prosecutor will call its witnesses and ask them questions ('examination-in-chief'). You can also ask them questions ('cross-examination').
    • You give evidence and will be cross-examined by the prosecutor.
    • You call your witnesses (if you have any) and question them. The prosecutor will cross-examine your witnesses.  
    • You and the prosecutor sum up your cases.
    • The magistrate makes a decision.

    For more information, see Going to the hearing.

    Changing your plea

    After you have entered a not guilty plea you can change your plea to guilty at any time before your hearing date or on your hearing date. If you want to change your plea you should do this as soon as possible.

    For more information, see Changing your plea.

    The decision

    After hearing all the evidence, the magistrate will make a decision about whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence. If you are found not guilty your case will be dismissed.  If you are found guilty the magistrate will sentence you for the offence.

    For more information, see The decision.

    FAQs

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

    Case study

    Case study - Camila Gonzalez and her not guilty pleaCase study icon

    Camila Gonzalez runs a small business as a photographer. One day Camila is visited by police who say that she has kept money paid into her bank account in error by her bank, Biggest Bank Australia. The bank says that the day after the money was deposited, Camila withdrew the whole amount in cash from an ATM.
     
    Camila checks her banking records and discovers a payment of just over $4000, which should not have gone to her. She says she has lots of different payments going into her bank account all the time and she did not notice this amount going in. She arranges to pay back the money over time, but the police say she knew the money was there and kept it dishonestly. The police charge her with larceny.

    ​Camila is very upset and wants to plead not guilty to the charges because she feels she made an honest mistake that the money was hers.