My experience in criminal law spans about 35 years and includes professional experiences that most lawyers in South Australia can not lay claim to, namely, being a Police Prosecutor and then a Defence Lawyer, and then a Magistrate working in the Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Elizabeth and Tanunda Magistrates Courts, to name just a few. If you want a lawyer who really knows their way around the Magistrates Courts then come see me for a free first interview.
If it is important to you to really know about your lawyer, then you can listen to my interview by Richard Fidler on the ABC.
Conversations with Richard Fidler
So yes, I have a vast amount of knowledge and experience to offer you and I can give you low cost, sound legal advice on matters such as:
- Drug related offending – including trafficking or importation. Growing cannabis at home – can you lose your home?
- Sexual offences including historical allegations of sexual abuse.What if an allegation of rape or other sexual misconduct is made against you?
- Serious driving offences involving causing death or injury by dangerous driving or driving without due care.
- Fraud and dishonesty offences of all types including Centrelink fraud.
- Drink / Drug driving offences.
- Murder and manslaughter offences.What if an allegation of serious assault or murder is made against you?
- Assault and other offences involving violence.
- Serious criminal trespass.
- Intervention Orders.
- Firearms offences.
- Asset confiscation.
- Unexplained wealth allegations.
A free first interview with me
Your free first interview with me will cost you nothing at all other than your time. I am confident you will walk away feeling comfortable that I can provide you with excellent and highly experienced legal representation at an affordable price.
At the very least you will walk away with an understanding of the legal issues you face and the ideas of a very experienced lawyer as to how to go about dealing with your matter and an estimate of the legal costs involved.
You will also come away with an informed basis for comparing our legal costs and representation with other lawyers should you wish to do so.
I provide the following information and indicative legal costs in the ordinary case.
The court statistics inform that 95% of all criminal law matters are finalised in the Magistrates Court. With very rare exceptions all criminal matters commence in the Magistrates Court.
All criminal charges are set out on a form called an Information.
The charges on the Information are classified into basically three different forms.
- Summary matters
These matters are always dealt with in the Magistrates Court presided over by a single Magistrate who decides the penalty, if you plead guilty, and decides your innocence or guilt if you plead not guilty.
- Minor Indictable matters
These matters are dealt with in the Magistrates Court unless you elect to have your minor indictable matter dealt in the District Criminal Court.
- Major Indictable matters.
These matters are always dealt with in the District Criminal Court except for murder cases which are dealt with in the Supreme Court.
- Summary matters
Minor Indictable matters (that you might elect to have dealt with in the District Court) and all Major Indictable matters will commence in the Magistrates Court and go through the process that lawyers call a ‘Committal Hearing’.
After the committal hearing is completed the Magistrate will normally refer the matter to the District Court for penalty to be imposed by a Judge (if you have pleaded guilty) or for your innocence or guilt to be established by a Judge and Jury or, if you so elect, by a Judge unassisted by a Jury.
Matters dealt with in the Magistrates Court
Regarding summary matters and minor indictable offences that are dealt with in the Magistrate’s Court, if you are pleading guilty then depending upon the seriousness of the charge, I can say in general terms that your legal cost could be as little $660 or up to about $2,200.
This is a wide range I know, but there are too many variables to consider for me to be any more accurate, including the seriousness of the charge and the location of the court we have to attend.
Please take advantage of a free first interview with me to allow me to give you a more accurate estimate of your legal cost in your particular case. You can walk away afterwards with no obligation and consider it or compare it with other lawyers if you would like to.
District Court Matters
A major indictable offence is one that is too serious to be dealt with in the Magistrates Court and so these are matters that the prosecution will normally consider as warranting imprisonment.
Major indictable offences are dealt with in the Courts in a two-step process:
- The first step is the Magistrates Court ‘committal hearing’.
- The second step is the finalisation of the matter in the District Criminal Court, either:
- finalisation by way of a guilty plea, or
- finalisation by way of a not guilty plea and a trial by Judge and Jury or by a Judge without the assistance of a Jury.
There are some special circumstances where a major indictable offence can still be dealt with in the Magistrates Court, but I will not deal with them here. You will need to consult a lawyer to see if this is possible in your case.
Range of legal costs for a Major Indictable Offence
I said above a major indictable office is a two-step process.
The first step is the committal hearing in the Magistrate’s Court. A straightforward committal hearing dealt with in a timely manner might cost between $1,650 to $2,200 inc GST.
The majority of cases are straightforward committal hearing cases.
A matter that is not what I would call straightforward could cost you about $5,500 inc GST.
You can find out in a free first interview if your committal hearing is going to be straightforward or not – it will cost you nothing to find this out in the circumstances of your case.
Finalising the matter in the District Criminal Court on a guilty plea for a less serious charge in general cases might cost you between $3,300 to $5,500 inc GST in legal costs. Sometimes we might recommend in your case that a medical or psychologist’s report be obtained. Not every case would warrant such a report but if warranted then these reports ordinarily cost about an additional $1,650.
No reasonable lawyer can give you a cost estimate for a not guilty plea in the District Criminal Court until they know of the nature of the charges, the facts that are alleged against you and the issues in dispute. Criminal law defence cases can be presented in very many ways. Whether or not you are going to elect to have your matter dealt with by a Judge and Jury or by a Judge unassisted by a Jury will also make a significant difference to the length of the trial and so to your legal costs. Lastly, you would normally have a specialist criminal law barrister to present your case in court. Barristers’ costs are highly negotiable, depending upon their seniority and experience.
Any estimate given to you absent all the above information would be highly misleading. Please take advantage of the free no obligation first interview. Come in, get to know me and allow me to give you some suggestions for dealing with your matter and a more accurate estimate of your legal cost for a not guilty plea in the District Criminal Court.