Project Description

Guilty Pleas

Guilty Pleas

If you have been charged with a criminal offence you may choose to plead guilty. This means that you agree that you are guilty of the offence with which you are charged.

Over many years representing clients at guilty plea submission hearings, our Parramatta and Fairfield criminal solicitors have gained extensive knowledge of what is and isn’t effective.

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    We can help by:

    • Giving you advice on what the likely penalty or range of penalties for your particular charge is likely to be.
    • Helping you decide whether to enter a guilty plea.

    • Developing a compelling argument as to why the penalty should be discounted or dismissed in your case.
    • Obtaining effective character references to support your submission.
    • Appearing for you and arguing in support of your submission.
    • Giving you insight into the particular Judge or Magistrate who will be hearing your case and tailoring your submissions effectively.

    Pleading Guilty May Help Your Case

    There are a number of reasons why it might be a good idea to plead guilty. If you enter an early guilty plea, the court may discount the penalty that you receive. If the charges are minor, in some circumstances the Magistrate may even decide to dismiss them altogether so that you don’t receive a penalty. In other cases, the discount will depend on the type of offence you have been charged with.

    In general, the earlier you enter a guilty plea, the greater the potential for a discounted penalty.

    It’s important to understand that in some cases, for example traffic offences, the penalties are mandatory and the Magistrate does not have discretion to discount them. However, in most cases they do have the ability to give you a lesser penalty. We will explain to you what your charges mean and whether the Judge or Magistrate has any discretion over your penalties before you decide whether to enter a guilty plea.

    If you plead guilty, the court will usually proceed straight to sentencing. As part of the hearing, they will accept submissions from us on how you should be sentenced and what discounts should apply. It will help your case if you can:

    • Show genuine remorse for your actions;
    • Demonstrate that you have taken steps to avoid reoffending; and/or
    • Show that there were mitigating circumstances that should be taken into account.

    For example, if you’re charged with driving under the influence, the court may take into consideration any rehabilitation program that you have entered into.

    It’s also important to be careful that you don’t appear to be ‘making excuses’ for your behaviour. This is why it’s so crucial to have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side. We’ll be able to help you construct an argument that the Court is likely to view sympathetically. We can also give you advice on how to act before the hearing which may help your chances later. For example, if you take an anger management course before answering an assault charge you can show the court that you are taking responsibility for your actions and that you are unlikely to do the same thing again.

    If you have any character references in support of your submission, these may also carry some weight. Character references are important but need to be prepared in a way that they support the rest of your case. For example, if you are arguing that your offence was due to an addiction then it’s a good idea for your character references to support that you have sought help for and conquered your addiction. This may include a character reference from your addiction counsellor to show the work you have done. Our experienced criminal solicitors can help you get those references, and guide you on how they could be worded to help your case.


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