​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 |

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Responding to a charge

This section has information to help you after you have been charged with a driving or criminal of​fence and given a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). The CAN will tell you which court you have to go to and on what date.  Before you go to court, you should check what you have been charged with and consider how you want to respond to those charges.

    ​​Checking what you have been charged with

    After you are charged, depending on the offence you are charged with, you may be given a number of documents, including CAN or a field CAN, Police Facts Sheet, Certificate of Blood Alcohol Concentration, Application for an Apprehended Violence Order.

    If you were arrested and released on bail you may also get a custody management record, Bail Undertaking, a Property Docket.

    Sometimes it can be difficult to understand what offence you have been charged with, the allegations against you, and what you have to do next.

    For more information, see Checking what you have been charged with.

    Negotiating with the police

    If you believe there is evidence that shows you did not commit an offence or you have been charged with a number of offences and you are happy to accept some but not all of them you can ask the police to withdraw (drop) the charges. If you want to plead guilty but disagree with some of the facts, you can ask the police to change the Police Facts Sheet. This is called 'making written representations to the police'.

    You should make representations before you go to your first court date. There are certain ways you have to make your representations.

    For more information, see Negotiating with the police.

    Pleading guilty or not guilty

    Before you go to court you should decide how you want to respond to the charge.

    On the first day of court the registrar or magistrate will ask you how you want to plead. When you 'enter a plea' you are telling the court whether you are guilty or not guilty to the offence you are charged with. 

    If you plead guilty it means you agree with the police facts and that you committed the offence. The magistrate will usually decide your sentence on the same day unless your matter is serious, or if you agree or are ordered to participate in a course or program. 

    If you plead not guilty it means you didn't commit the offence or you have a defence. The magistrate will set another day for a hearing.

    If you enter a plea and you change your mind, it may be possible to change your plea.

    For more information, see Pleading guilty or not guilty.

    Applying for a mental health order

    If you have a mental health impairment or cognitive impairment or are mentally ill or mentally disordered, you may be able to apply for the court to dismiss your charges. 

    If you have a mental health impairment or cognitive impairment 

    If you have a mental health impairment or a cognitive impairment, or both, you can when you go to court, you can ask the magistrate to dismiss the charge and release you: 

    • into the care of a responsible person with or without conditions
    • on the condition that you attend a place for assessment, treatment or support for your mental health impairment or cognitive impairment
    • unconditionally.
    A court can make this order if it appears to the magistrate that:

    • you have, or had at the time of the alleged offence, a mental health impairment, cognitive impairment or both, but are not a mentally ill or mentally disordered person and
    • it is more appropriate for the charge to be dismissed and for you to be discharged, rather than to have the criminal charge decided by the court.

    You will have to ask a psychologist or a psychiatrist to prepare a report. This report should state the mental health impairment or cognitive impairment you have and other information relevant to the application. It will usually also include a treatment or support plan.

    It can take several weeks to get a report. You may be able to get financial help to pay for the report.

    If an order is made and you don’t comply with the conditions, you can be brought back before the court within 12 months.

    If you are mentally ill or mentally disordered

    If you are a mentally ill or mentally disordered person, you can ask the magistrate to make an order for you to be:

    • taken to, and detained in, a mental health facility for assessment
    • taken to, and detained in, a mental health facility for assessment and if found not to be mentally ill or mentally disordered, to be brought back to court
    • discharged unconditionally or subject to conditions into the care of a responsible person.

    If the magistrate decides you are not mentally ill or mentally disordered, they can dismiss the application and carry on with the proceedings.

    If you need want to apply for a mental health order, you should get legal advice as soon as possible.

    The first court date

    The first day you have to go to court is called a 'mention'. The registrar or magistrate will ask you how you want to plead. Depending on what you do you may be at court for a few hours or all day.

    If you need more time to get legal advice before entering a plea, you can ask for an 'adjournment'.

    If you can't make it to court you may be able to call the court and ask for an adjournment, have the case moved to another court or send a Written notice of Pleading.

    For more information, see The first court date.

    If you miss court

    If you miss court, the magistrate may make a decision to find you guilty without you being there. The magistrate may also issue a warrant for your arrest.

    If this happens, you may be able to apply to the local court to have the decision annulled (cancelled) and your case re-heard.

    For more information, see If you miss court.

    FAQs

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