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Pleading Guilty

If you plead guilty, and you have already had legal advice, your matter can usually be finalised there and then. You may be convicted, or the magistrate may find the charge proved without recording a conviction.

With or without a conviction, a penalty is usually imposed. The penalty may be a fine, good behaviour bond, community service order and/or (for driving-related offences) disqualification of your driver’s licence. For some more serious driving offences e.g. drink driving, a licence disqualification of some duration must be imposed.  

Usually you will also be ordered to pay court costs (which vary depending on whether there is one offence, or two or more offences on the same charge sheet), a Criminal Injuries Compensation levy, and prosecution costs (the amount varies depending on the circumstances). The court can also order that you pay compensation if, for example, you are charged with damaging someone’s property.  

For very serious offences which may incur a penalty of imprisonment, it is unlikely that your matter will be dealt with on the first occasion or without legal representation.   

If your matter cannot be finalised on the first occasion, your case will put off to another date. This is called an adjournment. If you are on bail, it is called being remanded to another date.

Remand or adjournment, it is important that you know and remember the next date you have to appear. Usually the court orderly will give you a note with the next date on it. If that doesn’t happen you should ask the orderly for a written note of the date.

If you have any questions about pleading guilty or not pleading guilty
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