What should I bring with me to the initial consultation?

Please bring all of the paperwork relating to your case, including at a minimum the “Statement of Material Facts” document which you should have been provided by the police.

Please also bring a form of identification with you.

If your matter involves a restraining order, then please bring a copy of the actual restraining order and any court transcripts that you have.

What happens in the initial consultation?

During the 30 minute initial consultation, we will explain the basic legal principles concerning any criminal charge. We will outline the maximum penalty for your charge/s and the likely sentencing range including what sort of discount is available if you plead guilty. If there are any defences to the charge, we will explain these to you. The time to conclude the case, and your options for dealing with the charge, will be clearly explained. We will also outline our proposed defence strategy taking into account your individual circumstances. We will answer any questions you have including on matters such as spent convictions. Finally we will outline our fee structure and provide you with an estimate of the fees in your case. If you wish to proceed with us, we will then provide you with a written costs agreement within a few hours of concluding the initial consultation.

Is everything I tell you in the initial consultation confidential?

Yes, we will outline our duty of confidentiality and legal professional privilege to you in the initial consultation. You can rest assured that everything you tell us in the consultation remains strictly confidential.

Is there parking near your office?

Yes, there is a City of Perth multi-story car park on Pier St, just around the corner from the office.

Directly opposite the City of Perth Pier St parking is a Wilson Parking on Pier St.

There is another Wilson Parking at the Kings Complex on 517 Hay St, a short walk from the office.

There is also City of Perth Parking at Council House, 27 St George’s Terrace, and also the Concert Hall carpark on 158 Terrace Road.

All of these carparks are pay on exit, so you don’t have to worry about your ticket running out.

If you take public transport, the office is a short walk from the Perth Train Station.

If I win my case, can I recover the cost of my legal fees?

If your case involves a restraining order or a Magistrates Court charge, then yes if you are successful you can recover some of your costs. The amount you may be awarded is discretionary and you may not recover all of the costs you have incurred.

Unfortunately if your case involves charges in the District Court or Supreme Court, then you cannot recover any costs.

The police say they want to speak to me. I didn’t do anything wrong. Should I participate in a police interview?

Our answer to this is generally “No”. If you are in a situation where police want to talk to you about an alleged offence, we recommend you immediately call James Jackson Criminal Defence for proper advice about how to deal with the police successfully. This is a critical moment in any potential prosecution and how you deal with the police can sometimes mean the difference between going to prison or remaining in the community with no charges ever being laid.

Why do I need a lawyer? Can’t I just represent myself?

We will always tell you if you don’t need a lawyer, which can sometimes be the case for a minor offence where you aren’t concerned about the effect of a conviction. But for most criminal offences, we recommend you get a lawyer for three main reasons.

Firstly, you are likely completely wrapped up in the process of being charged and don’t have the objective and analytical viewpoint that a lawyer does. That is you probably have ‘tunnel vision’. You may for instance think the offence is not as serious as it actually was and don’t realize you are facing a serious penalty. You might think you have a defence, but don’t know that no court will ever accept it, resulting in losing your discount for pleading guilty earlier. Or, you might not know there is a defence available to you, and you might plead guilty to something for which you could have been acquitted.

Secondly, the law is complex and the court process difficult, even for lawyers who have been practicing for many years. If you want the best outcome, you should generally hire a lawyer who has the skills and expertise to advise you on your options and ensure you achieve whatever outcome it is that you are after.

Thirdly, practically every lawyer who has ever been charged with an offence gets a lawyer to represent them. This is for the same reason that non-lawyers need a lawyer.

I’m worried there will be media coverage in my case. Can I get a suppression order?

The court system in WA is an ‘open court’ system whereby most court cases are open to the public, including the media. It is rare for an accused person to obtain a suppression order to stop the media from reporting their case because of the adverse effect this has on their personal life. A suppression order can be granted in limited cases such as where a person’s safety is at risk. But the odds are you don’t have grounds to apply for a suppression order – we will advise you if you do.

Most criminal cases in WA aren’t reported by the media. You will generally know if the media is covering your case as a journalist will be present in the back of the court, and there will often be newspaper articles confirming your case has been adjourned or listed for certain hearings. We will advise you if there is in fact any media coverage of your case. If there isn’t, you don’t need a suppression order as nothing will be published about your case.

If you represent me, will I get bail?

Unfortunately we can’t guarantee that you will receive bail in a given case. We can however advise you on the prospects of being granted bail, and present a compelling case for bail to the court. Ultimately the grant of bail is at the discretion of the presiding judicial officer. Unfortunately even in cases where it might appear strongly arguable that bail should be granted, it can be refused.

We do take the view that sometimes, judicial officers make wrong decisions about bail. We have a proven track record of successfully appealing bail refusal decisions by Magistrates, both to other Magistrates but also to the Supreme Court. Don’t hesitate to contact us should you feel aggrieved by a particular decision concerning bail in your case.

Do you need to brief a barrister to represent me at my trial?

The answer is no in all but the most serious and lengthy cases, which are fairly rare. James Jackson is an experienced trial counsel and practices as both a barrister and solicitor. He regularly appears in defended trials in the superior courts before juries. Mr Jackson has the ability and experience to represent you at trial in any criminal case. In an appropriate case where the trial is very lengthy or the matter very complex, Mr Jackson may brief a Senior or Junior Counsel to appear with him at your trial. One example of this is in a matter involving 8 co-accused in the Supreme Court which lasted for a month, the firm briefed King’s Counsel to appear for the client along with Mr Jackson.

My ex obtained an interim restraining order against me. Should I just agree to a conduct agreement order?

In some cases, agreeing to a conduct agreement order makes sense both financially and practically, especially if you have no concern about ever breaching the order. But in many cases, agreeing to a conduct agreement order can place you in a position where you unintentionally or unwittingly end up being breached on the order, which can quickly land you in prison.

We strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice as to your options before agreeing to a conduct agreement order or final restraining order.

Can you help me with a family or civil case?

We only do criminal defence cases and don’t practice in any other areas. We can refer you to suitable practitioners in other fields who can assist you.

If I plead guilty to a charge, will I receive a reduced sentence?

If you plead guilty, you are entitled a discount of up to 25% on your sentence. The discount ranges from no discount in rare cases to the maximum of 25%, depending upon the circumstances of your case. We will advise you on the range of discounts that are available should you be thinking about pleading guilty in your case.

Can you negotiate a lesser charge, or get my charges dropped?

Yes, we have considerable experience in presenting submissions both to the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions which result in charges being dropped or downgraded.

Book a Consultation

We offer a no obligation, free 30 minute consultation if you are charged with a criminal offence. During the consultation we will provide you with comprehensive legal advice for the charge(s) you are facing. Contact us now to ensure you get the best possible advice from the outset of your case.

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