Criminal Law

The team at Brooke Winter Solicitors has extensive experience in Criminal Law.

If you’re facing charges or a criminal investigation, an experienced defence lawyer can make all the difference in achieving the best outcome for your case. At Brooke Winter Solicitors, with an ex-police prosecutor on staff, our criminal lawyers know both sides of the law. And we’re on your side.

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A criminal lawyer can work with you to understand your options. This might take the form of legal advice, representation in court, or even just giving you some clarity about where you stand.

Brooke Winter Solicitors can take some of the stress and uncertainty out of this difficult situation. We’ll make sure you are aware of each step in the process, and work together with you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Our criminal lawyers can represent you in Brisbane, the Gold CoastHobart and regional Queensland or Tasmanian courts. To learn more about how we can work with you on criminal law matters, contact us now for a phone consultation.

What Can Criminal Lawyers Do?

Quick and accurate advice from a specialised criminal lawyer is essential to protect your rights. Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you professional advice and representation for all criminal law matters including:

Criminal Charges & Police Investigations

Have you been charged by the Queensland Police?

Criminal and police investigations might happen suddenly – and they can have serious implications. So, what are the next steps?

After Being Arrested

If you are arrested by the police, then you have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer of your choice. Although it might be tempting to contact a friend or relative, it’s a good idea to use the opportunity to speak to a criminal lawyer. When you contact a criminal lawyer, you’ll get legal advice about your situation. You can use this advice to help you with decisions  – such as what you say or don’t say to the police.

Before you speak to a criminal lawyer, you should exercise your right to remain silent. This means that you should avoid saying anything, making statements, or answering questions until you’ve received legal advice.

You should, however, share your name and contact details with police when requested. Also, make sure you comply with their instructions and avoid obstructing them in any way. If you obstruct the police in the performance of their duties, you can be charged.

For more information, contact Brooke Winter Solicitors for a phone consultation. We’ll help you to get a handle on your situation and start working towards the best possible outcome.

The police have a wide range of powers. Generally, the police can approach you at any time and tell you that they want to ask you questions but you are not obliged to answer them all.

If you are approached randomly by police, you must give them your name and address (and sometimes your date of birth) if they ask. The police officer should warn you that it is an offence to provide an incorrect name and address.

The police may continue asking you more questions such as what you are doing in the area, who you are off to see etc even if they are not placing you under arrest. You are not under any obligations to answer these questions. Anything you say to the police can be used against you if they charge you with an offence. There is no such thing as “off the record” conversation with the police.

You have the right to remain silent if the police continue to talk to you and ask you questions. You have the right to remain silent even when you are stopped by police on the street, if you have gone to the police station and if you are placed under arrest. You do not need to participate in interviews with the police.

If you have been approached by police, you also have the right to contact a lawyer or friend.

If you are found guilty of a traffic or criminal offence, you may have a conviction recorded against you on your traffic history or criminal history.

Under section 12 of the Penalties and State Sentences Act in Queensland, the court has the power to consider whether or not to record a conviction in circumstances where a person has not received a term of imprisonment. If you are found guilty of an offence, meaning you have been unsuccessful at trial and the Magistrate finds you guilty, there is a higher chance that the court will record a conviction against you because of the lack of remorse displayed by you for taking the matter to trial.  This however depends on your circumstances and the nature of the charge.

If you wish for the court to consider not recording a conviction against you, you need to make submissions concerning the following factors and why you say a conviction ought not be recorded:

  1. the nature of the offence; and
  2. Your character and age; and
  3. the impact that recording a conviction will have on you including your economic or social wellbeing or your chances of finding employment.

The court must record convictions against you if you receive any term of imprisonment.

If you wish to discuss your matter in more detail, please feel free to give us a call.

In Queensland, the court has the power to consider whether or not to record a conviction in circumstances where a person has not received a term of imprisonment. If you have a received any term of imprisonment, a conviction must be recorded against you.

If you have a conviction recorded against you by the Magistrates Court, you may be able to appeal that conviction by lodging a Notice of Appeal using a Form 27 – Notice to appeal to a District Court judge at your local District Court registry. The appeal will be heard before a single judge. The appeal notice application must be filed with the court registry within 28 days from the date of the original decision that you are seeking to appeal.

If you entered a plea of not guilty to an offence before the Magistrates Court of Queensland and you are convicted of that offence after trial, then you may be able to appeal the recorded conviction or sentence or both.
If you entered a plea of guilty to an offence before the Magistrates Court of Queensland, and a conviction gets recorded against you, you may appeal seek to appeal that decision.
The risks that exist for appealing the decision however may mean that you receive a harsher penalty for the offence than you originally received.

If you wish to discuss your matter in more detail, please feel free to give us a call.

If you have been to court in Queensland and you are sentenced to a period of probation or parole, it is a requirement under the probation and parole order that you attend the probation parole office and sign in.

As part of your probation or parole order, you must attend to your allocated probation and parole office within 24 – 48 hours (depending on what was specified by the Magistrate or Judge) of the date of your sentence.

At the time of sentence, the Magistrate or Judge will specify which probation parole office you are required to attend. This will generally be the probation parole office which is closest to your residential address. The address can be found online.

Once you have checked into the probation parole office, you will complete intake and be assigned a probation parole officer who will take you through the requirements of your order.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact us to discuss your matter.

If you go to court and you plead guilty to an offence or, even if you don't plead guilty but the court says you are guilty, then you are convicted. BUT, the court does not always record a conviction.

The law on whether you have to tell people that you've been to court for breaking the law (even if no conviction is recorded) is complex. If you're not sure about whether you have to tell someone that you've been charged, been to court, been convicted etc, ask a lawyer for legal advice.

The best way to avoid a conviction being recorded is to undergo a number of preparations before your Sentence date. Examples of preparations are: character references, traffic offender programs, courses in anger management or domestic violence, psychologist reports, clean urine samples, etc.

The more that you do in an effort to show the Court that the offending was out of character, the stronger your argument is to convince the court not to record a conviction.

It is important to note that your prior criminal convictions can affect how you are sentenced for any new offences you are convicted of. You may be given a more serious sentence if you have committed similar offences in the past.

When sentencing you, the court may consider what offences you have been convicted of in the past. This includes offences that you were convicted of as a child if a conviction was recorded.

When deciding how your previous criminal convictions will affect your sentence, the court will consider:

  • the nature of your previous convictions
  • the relevance of the previous offences to the current offence, and
  • the time that has elapsed since you were convicted of the offence.

For legal advice in relation to criminal convictions, contact our office on 5554 6622.

You have the right to remain silent whether:

  • you’ve been stopped in the street
  • you’ve agreed to go to the police station, or
  • you’re under arrest.

There are some situations where the police can ask you questions and if you don’t respond you are breaking the law. Some examples include:

  • asking for your name and address
  • stating your place and date of birth for drug matters
  • if the police suspect you've broken traffic laws, or if you’ve seen an accident they have wide powers to get information
  • some other questions they have power to ask under special laws (eg Liquor Act offences, drunk and disorderly offences, organised crime offences).

If you don't want to answer questions and you're not sure if you have to, contact our office on 5554 6622.

If the Police search your home, residence, office or car under an official Search Warrant, you can now be compelled to give the Police the PIN code of your mobile phone.

Recent changes to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act mean that it’s now an offence to refuse to give Police the PIN code to unlock your mobile phone.

Section 154A of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act, make it a criminal offence under section 205 of the Criminal Code (Qld) if you refuse to provide the PIN to the Police. This offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

In a recent decision in the Supreme Court of Queensland about the police’s power to compel you to provide your mobile phone PIN code, it was discussed that access to text messages and phone calls often lay the foundation for the proof of offending (such as supplying or trafficking a dangerous drug). This has to be balanced with your Right to Silence. It was decided in this case, that the suspect had a lawful excuse for failing to provide the police access to her phone which was “her right to insist upon her privilege not to incriminate herself…”.*1

If you find yourself in this position, you need to express that you are exercising your right to silence clearly. If you acknowledge ownership or knowledge of access to the phone and then refuse to provide Police access to the device, it is likely that you will be charged with an offence.

*1 Wassmuth v Commissioner of Police [2018] QCA 290

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