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Pleading Guilty


1. What is a plea of guilty?

A plea of guilty is an acknowledgement that you are guilty of the offence alleged against you by the prosecution, and in particular it is an admission that each of the elements of the offence exist without the prosecution having to prove that each element exists. e.g. a plea of guilty to a charge of driving whilst suspended would be an admission that you were driving a motor vehicle on a road in Victoria on the date alleged, at a time when your authorisation to drive a motor vehicle was suspended, and that you knew or ought reasonably have known that you were suspended at the time you were driving.

2. Why should I plead guilty?

I advise my clients to plead guilty if doing so is more advantageous to them than pleading not guilty. Sometimes you should plead guilty if:
(a) the chance of success is low, and 

(i) if doing so can result in a significantly lower penalty, or
(ii) if doing so is likely to avoid significantly increasing the penalty.


3. How will I know when I should plead guilty?

Your lawyer will usually have to see several documents before advising you whether or not you have any defence: the charge and summons, the police brief, and the court file. Once you know what defences are available, you can then do a cost/risk analysis to decide whether it is worthwhile to you to invest your time and money fighting for an acquittal, or whether it is more beneficial to plead guilty. Pleading guilty is usually the option you choose as a last resort.


4. Do you represent people who plead guilty?

Yes. If you wish to plead guilty I am able to represent you at court to ensure that you get the lowest penalty possible, including reducing or avoiding licence loss, avoiding jail, having the amount of fines reduced or getting time to pay, and to avoid convictions being recorded against your name.


5. If I plead guilty, can I save my licence?

Sometimes you can. Generally you will not be able to save your licence if you plead guilty to drink driving offences over 0.07% (or less than that in some cases), or most cases of speeding more than 25kmh over the limit, or to dangerous driving charges.


6. When can I plead guilty?

You can plead guilty on almost any day that the court is sitting provided that you have arranged with the court and the police for the plea to be given on that day. Usually 24 hours notice is required. You do not have to plead guilty on the court date listed on your charge and summons.


7. What does it cost to get representation on a plea of guilty?

From about $750 for a plea which does not involve much negotiation or research, up to $2000 for a case involving negotiations with the prosecution and significant skill and attention spent on checking for defences and/or developing and implementing strategies to avoid prison or licence loss. Most cases will cost less than $1100 in total for a plea of guilty.



The following pages may help you:

Drink driving
Going to Court



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