If you are looking for the best criminal defence lawyers to represent you in Sydney, contact us anytime on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced, specialist criminal defence lawyer with a proven track record of consistently achieving exceptional outcomes in criminal cases.
We have offices at Museum Towers, 503/267 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, where conferences can be arranged by appointment.
An apprehended violence order (AVO) is a court order directing a person not to engage in specific types of conduct – such as assaulting, stalking, harassing, intimidating, or destroying or damaging the property of the other person.
There are two broad categories of AVOs – apprehended personal violence orders (APVOs) and apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs).
It is important to be aware that an AVO is not a criminal offence, but that contravening an AVO that is in place does amount to a crime.
It is also important to know the prosecution bears the onus of proving, on the balance of probabilities, that the other person has reasonable grounds to fear, and actually does fear, for his or her safety.
Assault offences range from common assault – which is where a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to fear for his or her immediate personal safety, or makes unauthorised contact with another – through to far more serious conduct such as causing grievous bodily harm (very serious harm) with intent.
These offences encompass assault occasioning actual bodily harm (or ABH, which is harm that is more than ‘transient or trifling’, in other words relatively minor), reckless and intentional wounding, assaults against police officers and domestic violence-related offences.
The laws relating to breaking and entering homes, shops, offices and other privately as well as publicly owned premises have been subject to changing interpretations for several years now, with courts struggling to define the acts that constitute the elements of these offences, as well as the circumstances in which they can be established and how various legal defences may apply.
A number of these cases have gone before the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal and even the High Court of Australia with a view to determining the parameters of breaking as well as entering, and a complete knowledge of the elements of these crimes, the available defences including claim of right and duress, and the way in which the laws have been interpreted is vital for being able to have breaking and entering charges withdrawn or thrown out of court.
The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) – which applies across Australia – contains several offences which are used to prosecute people who are suspected of fraud against Commonwealth government agencies, such as Centrelink.
Centrelink fraud offences can carry significant penalties, but it is important to be aware that prosecutors bear the legal onus of proving all of the ingredients of each of these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt before they can be established.
Commonwealth offences are those which apply across Australia, rather than just in a particular state or territory.
These are contained in legislation such as the Criminal Code Act 1995, Customs Act 1901, Corporations Act 2001 and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 and span offences relating to unlawfully importing or exporting goods, those which relate to phone, internet and postal services, tax offences, Centrelink offences, crimes by corporations and a range of other crimes.
Corporate crime covers a range of situations involving companies, as well as unincorporated businesses.
These situations include investigations and prosecutions by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian Taxation Office (AT) and the Commonwealth DPP for a range of suspected violations such as company and director obligations, insider trading, fraud, money laundering, bribery, cartel offences, obligations relating to record keeping, accounts and documents, as well as the general criminal law, including offences under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), and orders by the NSW and Commonwealth Crime Commission including freezing and asset forfeiture orders.
These matters require extensive specialised knowledge of the relevant processes, a good working relationship with regulators and prosecutorial bodies, as well as access to auditors and forensic experts, including forensic accountants.
The New South Wales and Australian Crime Commissions – the latter of which is now known as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission or ACIC -are criminal intelligence organisations that possess wide-ranging power to investigate serious criminal activity, to compel witnesses to give testimony and to apply for the seizure and forfeiture of assets.
Given the breadth of these powers, and the potential consequences of giving compelled evidence and/or having property seized, it is vital to engage lawyers who are experienced in ensure testimony cannot be used in future proceedings and that any property subject to an application for a property seizure order, or property already seized, is protected from forfeiture.
Our dogs are not our ‘pets’, they are members of our family that trust us and give us unconditional love and loyalty.
So, receiving an application for a dangerous dog order and facing the prospect of the compliance requirements that come with it – especially the requirement of your loved-one permanently living in a ‘dog enclosure’ – can be inhumane.
You dog does not know why he or she is now being put outside in a cage, being forced to wear a muzzle and being punished, whereas a human will know why, even if it is unjust and unfair.
Negotiating ‘control orders’ rather than having your family member subjected to a dangerous dog order is vital in these types of cases.
In the case of ‘dog attacks’, your dog believed he or she was doing the right thing in the circumstances – and it is important for your loved-one to be protected rather than unfairly punished.
Drug offences span from relatively minor offences such as drug possession and minor deemed supply through to commercial and large commercial cultivation, manufacture and supply – which are NSW state offences – and federal offences (Commonwealth offences) such as attempting to possess or importing or exporting a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drug.
It’s important to bear in mind that to establish these offences, the prosecution must prove all elements (ingredients) of the alleged offence beyond all reasonable doubt – which include proof of knowledge and exclusive possession – and that in addition to general legal defences, there are several defences that apply specifically to drug cases.
Since at least as far back as 1996, governments across Australia have embarked on a process of disarming the population.
Since at least that time, the breadth of conduct amounting to a firearms offences has expanded exponentially and the maximum penalties for these offences increased significantly, to the point where the maximum penalty for simply possessing an unauthorised attracts a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, and the maximum for a ‘prohibited firearm’ (which covers an extremely broad range of items including firearms, pyrotechnic flares and even paint ball guns) comes with a maximum of 14 years.
Fraud is a broad term that applies to dishonest conduct which are generally intended to gain a benefit for ones self, cause a disadvantage to another or alter or conceal with a view to averting an unfavourable outcome, usually in circumstances where there is physical moving of tangible goods as would occur in the case of larceny or stealing.
Fraud offences can apply in a range of contexts, from social security and employment arrangements to the conduct of directors in large companies, and encompass acts amounting to Centrelink fraud, general fraud (dishonestly obtaining a benefit or causing a disadvantage by deception), embezzlement, forgery, conspiring to defraud, altering or destroying accounting documents, and the list goes on.
The generic offence of intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging property, previously known as ‘malicious damage’ – as well as more specific offences such as destroying or damaging property by fire or as a result of dishonesty – require proof by the prosecution of a list of ‘essential elements’ (or ingredients), and there are also a number of legal defences that may be available to those accused of such acts, including necessity, duress and having a legal claim over what was allegedly damaged or destroyed.
The prosecution will need to prove each of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt, and also to disprove to the same high standard any legal defence raised on the evidence.
Both New South Wales state legislation and Commonwealth legislation contain a range of offences relating to dealing with the proceeds of crime, which includes receiving, possessing and using it, and is commonly known as ‘money laundering’.
Some of these offences require actual knowledge the proceeds were derived from crime while others require recklessness only, and still others cover situations whereby property (such as money or assets) are reasonably suspected of being derived from a crime.
It is important in these types of cases to understand the specific requirements of proof that are borne by the prosecution and any legal defences that may be available in the circumstances, as well as to thoroughly prepare a defence which is adequate to overcome assertions made by prosecuting bodies such as the police and DPP.
Cases involving homicide such as murder and manslaughter are generally regarded as the most serious matters under the criminal law.
These cases can be extremely complex and require the services of an experienced criminal defence team with the specialist knowledge of how to formulate and implement effective defence strategies using meticulous preparation and drawing upon an extensive network of experts, to counter and overcome the resources expended by investigators and prosecutors into these types of matters.
Given the seriousness of how these murder and manslaughter cases are treated by both the law and state agents such as police and the DPP, great care should be taken to ensure the team selected to take on these matters have a long and proven track record of defending and winning such cases.
Offences against public justice encompass alleged conduct which interferes with the integrity of the prosecutorial process, the integrity of courts and the administration of justice more generally.
These offences span the gamut of such conduct, from disrespectful behaviour in court, to contempt of court, making false accusations, hindering investigations, concealing serious offences, tampering with evidence, perverting the course of justice, interfering with, influencing or threatening witnesses, judges, jurors and/or public justice officials, making false statements on oath and perjury.
Offences that are seemingly minor such as using offensive language and engaging in offensive conduct can nevertheless result in a criminal conviction if they are not dealt with seriously.
However, it is important to be aware that for both of these offence-types, the prosecution is required to prove a number of essential elements (or ingredients) beyond a reasonable doubt – and it is not simply a matter of establishing the language was profane or the conduct was distasteful or even vile.
In fact, the courts have made clear the language or conduct must be so offensive as to warrant the inference of the criminal law.
Public order offences are, as the name suggests, intended to criminalise acts which created disorder in the community.
Such offences include violent disorder, affray and riot.
The offences of affray and riot were initially enacted in response to serious civil disturbances in the 1980s, including the ‘Milperra massare’ of 1984 and, as such, carry significant maximum penalties.
However, such charges are increasingly being brought to prosecute far less serious conduct such as bar and street altercations, and even actions many believe should not even amount to a crime, such as unauthorised gatherings which go awry.
Robbery offences in New South Wales are subject to what is known as a ‘guideline judgment’, which is essentially a direction for those who plead guilty to, or are found guilty of, these offences to be given a sentence within a certain range.
In a nutshell, this means any charge involving an alleged robbery – whether it is a charge of robbery, robbery in company or aggravated robbery – must be treated very seriously in order to avert harsh consequences.
These charges require proof by the prosecution of several elements (or ingredients) and a good criminal defence lawyer will often be able to robbery charges withdrawn, significantly downgraded to charges that do not involve robbery or thrown out of court by reason of deficiencies, inconsistencies and/or other problems with the prosecution evidence or the availability of any one of many legal defences that may be available to those who are accused of these offences.
Being accused of a sexual offence – from a sexual act or sexual touching through to sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault – can have an enormous impact on a person’s mental health, their relationships, reputation, careers and financial circumstances.
It is therefore an area where perhaps it is more important than any other area to engage criminal defence lawyers with decades of experience in reducing these impacts, who empathise with clients and provide understanding and compassion, and most of all who will fight to protect the interests of clients and use their specialist experience to overcome the allegations, whether by way of having the charges withdrawn or dismissed in court.
It is important to ensure the defence team has an exceptional track record of defeating sexual allegations.
Offences relating to the alleged taking of physical property which belongs to another, such as stealing and larceny – require proof beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution of several matters – including state of mind factors such as intention and/or recklessness – the absence of any of which will mean a person must be found not guilty.
In fact, recent court decisions have placed a justifiably heavy burden on prosecutors who seek to establish these charges.
There are also several legal defences to stealing and larceny charges, including claim of right, duress and necessity.
There can be a fine line between tax avoidance / minimisation and what is regarded in the law as taxation fraud under the Criminal Code Act 1995 and other legislation, and it is important to be aware federal agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office and Commonwealth Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions are required to not only establish beyond a reasonable doubt the necessary acts that make up an alleged tax fraud, but to also prove to the same high standard the required intention or recklessness in order to establish these offences.
A raft of legislation has been enacted in recent decades with a view to broadening the scope of conduct amounting to a terrorism offence, increasing the penalties for these offences and expanding the investigative and prosecutorial powers of law enforcement agencies when it comes to these offences.
The Criminal Code Act 1995 now contains a broad range of terrorism offences from possessing items connected to terrorist acts, and being a member of or receiving training from a terrorist organisation, to planning and carrying out a terrorist act, the latter of which attract maximum penalties of life in prison.
How can I find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney?
It is important that you find the best criminal lawyer in Sydney for your particular situation.
You can start by undertaking a find a lawyer search on our website, undertaking a search of the Law Society of NSW’s online register of solicitors, contacting the Law Society’s Community Referrals division on 9926 0333 or by conducting an online search.
It is important to ensure your lawyer has local knowledge – having an office in or around your suburb can be a good indicator of this – specializes in criminal defence only, is headed by Accredited Specialists in Criminal Law, has been established for a long period of time, and has a strong track record of client reviews as well as exceptional outcomes in your case-type.
Having a free first appointment and published fixed fees is also important, so you can determine whether they are the firm for you without having to pay them money up-front and are able to have financial peace of mind moving forward.
Do I need a local lawyer to represent me if I need to go to Sydney court?
Finding a local lawyer who is familiar with the specific rules of the court in which you are charged, as well as the magistrates and/or judges who preside there, can give you an advantage in terms of achieving the optimal result in your case.
For those reasons, it can be a good idea to engage a lawyer who has offices in the local area.
Where can I get criminal court advice in Sydney?
If you are going to court for a criminal or traffic offence, you can call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first appointment during which you can obtain expert advice specific to your situation from any experienced defence lawyer without obligation.
How do I find the closest court to Sydney?
What is a criminal offence in NSW?
A criminal offence is one which is prosecuted by the state – whether that be a state or territory government, the federal government or a government department or agency.
In New South Wales, there are many pieces of criminal legislation which contain these offences.
This differs from a civil case which are characterised by disputes between individuals, businesses, companies and other organisations.
Where can I find a list of all criminal offences in NSW?
Here is are the laws, defences and penalties that apply to some of the most frequently prosecuted criminal offences in New South Wales.
And here is a list of the criminal law legislation the sets out many of the Acts of New South Wales and Commonwealth Parliament containing those offences, including the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which applies in New South Wales and the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which applies across Australia.