women looking at wardrobe deciding what to wear to court

I’m going to court
what should I wear?

Going to Court can be a very stressful and confusing time.  We often have clients who are unsure of what to wear, particularly if our client has not been to Court before.

It is important to present yourself appropriately, and to dress suitably for Court.  There are a few simple guidelines to follow to ensure that you are dressed appropriately.

Dress Conservatively

You should dress conservatively and make sure your clothes fit you, and that you are modestly covered.  If you are wearing a dress or skirt, you should ensure the length is appropriate for Court.  You should not wear shorts, dresses and skirts that are shorter than knee length.  If you do not have knee length attire, we recommend that you wear stockings underneath or choose to wear pants instead.

Present neatly

You should present as well groomed, with tidy hair and clean clothing.  Facial hair should be neat and any tattoos should be covered if possible.

Avoid certain items of clothing

You should avoid wearing jeans, shorts, t-shirts and thongs.  You should also avoid any item of clothing with logos or slogans that could be deemed offensive or inappropriate.

Avoid being too formal

It is not necessary for you to wear a suit and tie, dress suit or a tuxedo.  You should be aiming to be dressed in smart casual or office appropriate attire.

Avoid buying expensive new clothes

While it is important that you dress appropriately, you should not go to the unnecessary expense of purchasing expensive clothing for your Court appearance.  This would not be practical for many clients.

Many clients have appropriate clothing to wear to Court, without needing to purchase new clothes.  For example, you could wear the following:-

  • A simple ironed button down or polo shirt, dress pants and dress shoes; or
  • A dress or skirt and blouse, conservative in length (knee length or longer) and appropriate footwear.

For more information, or if you would like to speak with someone about your pending court matter, please contact our office.

(07) 4963 2000
ONLINE ENQUIRY
Brittany McIntyre, Law Clerk, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers

Brittany McIntyre
Law Graduate
Criminal Law

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Application for Protection Order
filed by the Police?

If the Police have filed an Application for Protection Order on your behalf you have the right to inform the Court whether you support it or not.

Alcohol Testing in
family law matters

Alcohol abuse is often a very important issue in a family law matter. The abuse of alcohol can lead to issues of risk in some circumstances and decrease the capacity to parent effectively. Where there is evidence of alcohol abuse and potential risk to children the Court may make orders that one or both parties undertake alcohol testing.

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Hands holding domestic violence ribbon

Application for Protection Order
filed by the Police?

The police have filed an Application for Protection Order naming me as the Aggrieved – what can I do?

In Queensland, the Police can file an Application for Protection Order (commonly referred to as a DVO) against an individual (the ‘Respondent’), if they believe that the person has committed domestic violence against another person (the ‘Aggrieved’), and that an Order is necessary to protect the Aggrieved from domestic violence occurring in the future.

At times the Aggrieved does not want the Police to file or proceed with the Application.  An Aggrieved may not want the Order for a number of reasons including:-

  • they do not believe that the Respondent has committed domestic violence against them; or
  • they do not believe a Protection Order is necessary to prevent further domestic violence from occurring;
  • they want to remain in a relationship and are worried about the strain associated with the Application on the relationship;
  • they are being pressured by the Respondent or family not to proceed with the Application.

Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions an Aggrieved may have about a Police Application.

Will the Police withdraw the DVO Application if I tell them I don’t want it?

While the Aggrieved’s wishes will be taken into account, the Police can still proceed with an Application for Protection Order, even if the Aggrieved does not want the Order in place.

The Police may choose to proceed in circumstances where they consider it necessary to protect the Aggrieved from further domestic violence occurring in the future.

Can I tell the Magistrate I do not want the DVO in place?

Even though the Police are making the Application, the Aggrieved can still attend Court and appear before the Magistrate.  On the first Court date, the Magistrate will ask the Respondent what they want to do.  The Respondent can:-

  1. Consent to the Order being made;
  2. Consent without admission to the Order being made;
  3. Contest the Application and have the matter set down for Hearing; or
  4. Request an adjournment.

The Aggrieved will then have the opportunity to tell the Magistrate whether they are supportive of the Order being made.

While the Aggrieved’s wishes can be taken into consideration, the Police can still proceed with their Application.

What if I would like a DVO, but I do not want the conditions sought?

The mandatory conditions for a Protection Order are that:-

  1. The Respondent must be of good behaviour towards the Aggrieved; and
  2. The Respondent must not commit acts of domestic violence against the Aggrieved.

In some circumstances the Police may apply for additional conditions to be included on a Protection Order, for example that the Respondent is prohibited from contacting the Aggrieved or from going to the Aggrieved’s home or place of work.

If the Aggrieved wishes to continue to spend time with the Respondent, but is otherwise supportive of the Protection Order being made, the Police can agree to the inclusion of an exemption clause in the Order, for example that the Respondent is prohibited from contacting the Aggrieved except with the written consent of the Aggrieved.

If you would like more information about your rights and obligations, either as a Respondent or an Aggrieved to an Application for Protection Order, contact our office to make an appointment today on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

Lara Tom, Lawyer, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers

Lara Tom
Solicitor
Family Law

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man asleep at the wheel of a car

Drink Driving Charges

Can I be charged with drink driving, if I wasn’t actually driving?

A person may be charged with drink driving if they are over the legal blood alcohol limit and they are:-

  1. driving a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or
  2. attempting to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or
  3. in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel.

You can therefore be charged with a drink driving offence if you were in charge of a vehicle, not just if you were driving.

What does ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle mean?

A person is “in charge” of a vehicle if the person has the ability to exercise physical control over the vehicle.  This is a broad definition, and may include situations such as:-

  • sitting in an idling vehicle;
  • sitting in a stationary vehicle while in possession of the keys; and
  • sleeping behind the wheel of a stationary vehicle.

What if I wasn’t in charge of the vehicle?

You may be able to contest the charge if you are able to demonstrate that you did not intend to drive and/or that you were not otherwise in charge of the vehicle.  For example, if you were a passenger in the vehicle and had no control over the vehicle.

It is important that you seek immediate legal advice should you intend to contest the charge on this basis.

Penalties

The penalties for drink driving include the imposition of a fine or term of imprisonment and license disqualification.  There are mandatory disqualification periods for drink driving offences in Queensland.  The penalty (and also disqualification) you receive will depend on your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and whether you have been convicted of a similar offence in the past.  You are able to read more about penalties and disqualification periods for drink driving offences in our article, Drink Driving Penalties and Disqualification Periods.

For more information on the penalties for drink driving or to discuss contesting the charge, please contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

Brittany McIntyre, Law Clerk, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers

Brittany McIntyre
Law Graduate
Criminal Law

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Offender Levy

The Offender Levy is a fee payable on sentence and is used to help pay for the costs associated with Court. Every adult sentenced in Queensland must pay the Offender Levy.

How do I dispute a
traffic fine?

If you receive a traffic fine, whether it is a speeding ticket or another traffic offence, you can dispute it if you believe you did not commit the offence.

I’ve Been Caught Hooning –
can my car be seized?

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Remove a Licence
Disqualification Period

Licence Disqualification

The Court must disqualify you from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence if you are convicted of certain offences.  Offences that are subject to a mandatory period of licence disqualification include:

  • drink driving;
  • failing to provide a specimen; and
  • driving with a relevant drug in your system.

There are several other offences that may result in the Court disqualifying your licence.  For example, the Court may decide to disqualify your licence if you have been convicted of careless driving.  However, licence disqualification in those circumstances is not mandatory.

To learn more about whether you will lose your licence, read our article Am I Going to Lose My Licence.

How do I get my licence back?

If you are disqualified by the Court, your licence will be cancelled.  You will need to go to the Department of Transport and Main Roads to apply for a new licence at the end of the specified period.

If you have been disqualified for more than 2 years, you may be able to apply to have the remaining time removed.

Can I remove the remaining disqualification period?

You are only able to make an application to remove the remaining licence disqualification period in certain circumstances.  You must:-

  • Have had a licence disqualification period of more than 2 years imposed; and
  • Have served at least 2 years of the licence disqualification.

You may then be able to apply to remove the remaining disqualification period.  If you are successful, you can apply for a new licence.

How do I make an application to have the licence disqualification removed?

You must make an application to the Court that has disqualified you.

You complete your application and supporting material.  Your supporting material should include your traffic history, criminal history and an affidavit setting out your personal circumstances.  You will need to show that there are good grounds for the licence disqualification being removed.

Your application must be filed at the relevant Court and you will be required to pay a filing fee.  You may also need to serve the application on the prosecutor.  Your application will then be allocated a hearing date, when the Court will decide your application.

What happens if I am successful?

If you are successful, your application will be granted, and the remaining licence disqualification period will be removed.  You will need to attend the Department of Transport and Main Roads to apply for a new licence.  You are not able to drive until you have been issued a new licence.

What happens if I am not successful?

If you are not successful, your application will be dismissed.  You will be required to wait 12 months before bringing a further application to remove the remaining licence disqualification period.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our local experts on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you are considering applying to remove a disqualification period.  We will be more than happy to assist.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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Policeman with man

What is a Police Banning Notice?

A Police Banning Notice may be issued by the police if you are behaving in a disorderly, offensive or violent manner in proximity to a licensed venue.  The Police Banning Notice will ban you from a specific area or event, by stopping you from entering or remaining at:-

  • a licensed premise (such as a bar or nightclub);
  • a safe night precinct (such as the CBD of Mackay or another town);
  • a public event where alcohol is sold; or
  • an area surrounding one of the above areas.

The police are required to explain the notice to you.  The Police Banning Notice will then take effect immediately.  The notice will generally remain in place for a period of 10 days or until the event you are banned from is finished.  However, in some circumstances the Police Banning Notice can be extended for up to 3 months.

What is the Mackay Safe Night District?

If you are issued a Police Banning Notice while in the Mackay CBD (at a nightclub or hotel), you will often be banned from attending the Mackay Safe Night District.  The Mackay Safe Night District is bordered by Milton Street, Shakespeare Street, Tennyson Street and the Pioneer River.  If you are subject to a Police Banning Notice, you are not able to enter this area.

The Police Banning Notice will usually only prevent you from entering the area at night  and you will generally be able to enter this area during the day.  However, this is not always the case and it is important that you understand and comply with the conditions of your Police Banning Notice.

What happens if I do not obey the Police Banning Notice?

The police can distribute the Police Banning Notice to venues and events, to ensure compliance.  The Police Banning Notice will also be linked to identification scanners at licensed venues.  Should you attempt to enter a premise fitted with identification scanners, the police will be automatically notified.

It is an offence to breach a Police Banning Notice, unless you have a reasonable excuse for failing to comply.

Do I have to go to Court if I ignore the Police Banning Notice?

You will be required to attend Court if you are charged with breaching a Police Banning Notice.

The maximum penalty the Court can impose is a fine of 60 penalty units (as at 1 July 2018 a single penalty unit had a value of $130.55 which equates to a maximum fine of $7,833.00).  You can find out more information about penalty units here.

You will also be required to pay the Offender Levy, in addition to any other fine that is imposed.  You can find out more information about the Offender Levy here.

You can contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you would like to speak to our experienced team regarding your Police Banning Notice.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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Disqualification Period

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What is Public Nuisance?

If you have been charged with public nuisance, it is important to seek legal advice before your matter is mentioned before the Court.

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The Offender Levy is a fee payable on sentence and is used to help pay for the costs associated with Court. Every adult sentenced in Queensland must pay the Offender Levy.

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Public nuisance sign

What is Public Nuisance?

Public nuisance is described as a person behaving in a disorderly, offensive, threatening or violent manner that interferes with the peaceful enjoyment of a public area.  There are numerous examples of behaviour that would be considered public nuisance, including:-

  • using inappropriate or explicit language;
  • threatening or disrupting a person or group;
  • encouraging others to engage in a fight;
  • being intoxicated and disturbing others;
  • behaving in a manner that causes another to be intimidated or threatened.

The offence is broad in nature.  You should seek legal advice if you have been charged with this offence.

Do I have to go to court if I have been charged with public nuisance?

Yes, you will be required to attend Court if you are charged with this offence.  It is considered a ‘simple offence’, which means that your matter will be finalised in the Magistrates Court.

What is the penalty for public nuisance?

The maximum penalty is a fine of 10 penalty units, or a period of imprisonment of 6 months.  The current value of a penalty unit is currently $130.55 (as of 1 July 2018).  Therefore the maximum fine that is able to be imposed by the Court is $1,305.50.

You will also be required to pay the Offender Levy on conviction.  You can find out more information regarding the Offender Levy here.

Will I go to jail?

The penalty will be reliant on the facts of your particular matter and your previous history.  If you have prior criminal history, it is particularly important that you receive legal advice as to the penalty that is likely to be imposed by the Court.

What do I do if I get charged with public nuisance?

We recommend that you seek legal advice if you have been charged with this offence.  Court can be stressful, and it is important that you receive legal advice before your matter proceeds.

Getting legal advice, and representation at Court, will ensure the Court understands any mitigating features in your favour.  This can result in a lesser penalty being imposed.  We are also able to seek (in some circumstances) that no conviction be recorded on your criminal history for the offence.

You can contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you would like to speak to our solicitors regarding public nuisance.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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Offender Levy

The Offender Levy is a fee payable on sentence.  The Offender Levy is used to help pay for the costs associated with Court.

Every adult sentenced in Queensland must pay the Offender Levy.  You are not able to appeal the imposition of the Offender Levy, as it is a mandatory levy applied to all adults who are convicted of an offence in Queensland.  You must pay the Offender Levy whether or not a conviction is recorded for a particular offence.

The payment of the Offender Levy, and its impact on you, cannot be taken into account in determining your sentence.

How much is the Offender Levy?

The Offender Levy is prescribed in section 10 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2005 (Queensland).  The current prescribed Offender Levy (as at April 2019) is $123.00 if you are convicted in the Magistrates Court and $368.90 if you are convicted in the District or Supreme Court.

How do I pay the Offender Levy?

You are able to pay the Offender Levy at the Court Registry following your sentence.

If you do not pay the Offender Levy at the time of sentence, you will receive an enforcement order from the State Penalties Enforcement Register (SPER).  SPER will provide further payment options for your Offender Levy.  It is likey that you would be able to negotiate a payment plan with SPER, if you are unable to pay the Offender Levy in full.

If you would like more information regarding the Offender Levy, please contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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traffic fine?

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can my car be seized?

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Offences in Queensland

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How do I dispute a
traffic fine?

What is an Infringement Notice (or fine)?

Infringement Notices are tickets issued for particular offences.  An Infringement Notice is commonly referred to as a fine.  Common offences for which a fine is issued include:-

  • speeding;
  • running a red light;
  • toll evasion; and
  • parking fines.

The fine will be issued to you and will be handed to you at the time.  It may also be sent to you by email or post.

The fine will contain information about the alleged offence, including:-

  • the type of offence; and
  • the monetary penalty for committing the offence.

If you agree with the Notice, and admit that you committed the offence, you simply pay the monetary fine.   The details for payment will ordinarily be contained in the Notice.

Can I dispute a traffic ticket?

Yes, you can dispute the ticket if you do not believe you have committed the offence alleged in the Infringement Notice.  You must:-

  • dispute the ticket before you pay the fine.
  • notify the organisation that you intend to contest within 28 days from the date of issue of the ticket.

If you do not contest the Notice within 28 days of the date of issue, you will be unable to contest the fine.  The fine will be referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) for payment.

To contest the fine, complete the relevant section contained within the Notice, or alternatively contact the organisation that issued the fine.

Do I have to go to Court?

You will need to go to Court if you are contesting a ticket that was issued by a police officer or transport inspector.  You will also need to go to Court if you are contesting an offence detected by a speed camera.

If you go to Court and are successful in contesting the charge, the charge will be withdrawn and you will not be penalised for the offence.

If you are not successful, you will be required to pay the fine.  You will also be required to pay the Offender Levy.  You can find out more information about the Offender Levy by clicking here.

You can contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you would like to speak to our solicitors about disputing an Infringement Notice.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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Drugs and drug utensils

Is it illegal to possess
a bong or pipe?

Drug Offences?

There are many offences relating to illicit substances.  These offences do not only relate to possession, but also to trafficking, producing and supplying dangerous drugs.  These are serious offences which may carry severe consequences.

There are also less serious offences regarding drug paraphernalia, such as bongs, pipes, needles an scales.  These items are referred to as “utensils” and “things”.

You should seek legal advice if you are charged with any form of drug offence.

Is it illegal to possess a bong or pipe?

Yes, it is an offence to possess “things” that are used to administer (or “take”) illicit substances if the items have been used for a drug offence.  For example, it is an offence to be in possession of a bong that has been used to smoke cannabis.

It is also an offence to be in possession of a thing which you intend to use in connection with an offence. For example, it is an offence to have a pipe that you intend to use to smoke methylamphetamine (commonly known as “ice”).

The prohibition includes any item that is used in connection with illicit substances, and can therefore include clip seal bags, scales and vacuum sealers.

What is the penalty for possession of a utensil?

The penalty for possessing a utensil used to administer, consume or smoke a dangerous drug is 2 years imprisonment (jail).

However, you may be eligible for a drug diversion program.  The programs are aimed at diverting minor drug offenders away from the Court system, by referring offenders to a drug education session.  Diversion is provided as an alternative to the other penalties available to the Court, such as issuing a fine or imposing a community based order.

You can find out more about drug diversion by clicking here.

What do I do if I get charged with possession of a utensil?

You should seek legal advice if you are charged with possession of a utensil.  You can contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you would like to speak to our solicitors or find out more information regarding your drug offence.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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I’ve Been Caught Hooning –
can my car be seized?

I’ve been caught hooning, what can I be charged with?

Hooning is a broadly used term to describe anti-social behaviour while driving, such as speeding, burnouts and street racing.  There are a number of offences that may result from hooning behaviours, including:-

  • making unnecessary noise and smoke;
  • dangerous operation; and
  • racing on a public road.

The penalty imposed will be dependent on the offence you have been charged with, however, will often involve a fine or jail sentence.  Additionally, you may lose your licence for a period of time.  To learn more about whether you will lose your licence, please click here.

Impounding and immobilising your car

The police are able to impound or immobilise your car if you are involved in a hooning offence.  This is in addition to any other charges or penalties that arise from your behaviour.

There are two categories of “hooning offences”, and the police have different powers depending on which category of offence you have committed.  The categories are described as “Type 1 Offences” and “Type 2 Offences”.

Type 1 Offences

Type 1 Offences are considered more serious than Type 2 Offences.  Type 1 Offences include:-

  • evading police (not pulling over when required);
  • dangerous driving;
  • making unnecessary noise or smoke;
  • careless driving; and
  • participating (or organising) speed races.

The police can impound or immobilise your vehicle if you commit a Type 1 Offence.  If you commit a further Type 1 Offence, the police can impound or immobilise your car and seek that your car be confiscated at the end of any legal proceedings.  This is in addition to any other penalty that is imposed.

Type 2 Offences

Type 2 Offences include the following:-

  • driving without a licence;
  • high speed offences (more than 40km/hr over the limit);
  • drink driving (high range);
  • driving a modified vehicle that does not meet safety standards; and
  • driving an uninsured and/or unregistered vehicle.

The police will not impound or immobilise your vehicle the first time you are charged with one of the above offences.  However, if you are charged again, it will be impounded or immobilised.  The period of impoundment or immobilisation depends on whether it is your first, second or subsequent offence.  Ultimately, repeat offenders can have their vehicle confiscated.

Therefore, although Type 2 Offences are not considered to be as serious as Type 1 Offences, continued offending will result in a lengthy period of impoundment or immobilisation.

Where does my car go if it is impounded?

Your vehicle will be towed to a holding yard if it is impounded.  Your number plates will be removed if your car is immobilised.

Will my car be impounded if I don’t own it?

The vehicle you were driving may be impounded or immobilised, regardless of whether you own it.

Who pays for my car to be impounded?

You will be responsible for the cost of towing and storing your vehicle.  You may need to pay these costs in full before your vehicle is released.

Can I get my vehicle released early?

In some circumstances, you can make an application to have your vehicle released early.  These circumstances include:-

  • financial hardship caused by the impoundment or immobilisation;
  • you are the owner of the vehicle;
  • the impoundment or immobilisation was not reasonable.

You should seek legal advice prior to making any such application.

What do I do if I get charged with a hooning offence?

Getting legal advice, and representation at Court, will ensure the Court understands any mitigating features in your favour.  This can result in a lesser penalty being imposed.

You can contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you would like to speak to one of our solicitors in relation to hooning offences.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi Lawyer

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Associate
Criminal Law

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