FAQs

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about Michael McMillan Law’s criminal defence services and what to do if you are faced with a criminal charge.

When should I seek legal advice in criminal matters?

For criminal matters, including traffic offences, it’s crucial to consult a criminal defence lawyer at the earliest opportunity. Time is often of the essence, especially when there are specific deadlines for lodging appeals.

We strongly recommend seeking legal advice before making any decisions, such as entering a plea of guilty, electing to have an offence handled by the Court, or participating in a police interview.

Early consultation with a criminal defence lawyer ensures that you are well informed and empowered to make the best choices for your situation.

How much is a consultation?

An initial consultation costs $150.00 for a maximum of 1 hour. Often this is incorporated in the total being charged. 

Is it advisable to speak to the police?

As a general rule, no one is required to answer any questions asked of them by the police. In fact, answering an investigating police officer’s questions will generally never assist you. More often than not, it will land you in more hot water.

Whenever spoken to by police remember your right to silence and immediately contact an experienced criminal lawyer.

Do I have the right to remain silent?

Yes, individuals have the right to decline to answer questions from the police, except for providing their name, address, and date of birth, or driver’s license information in certain cases.

Exercising the right to remain silent cannot be used against you as evidence of guilt. It’s important to recognise the power imbalance when dealing with the police, as you may inadvertently share information that could be used against you later. Talking to the police rarely benefits you, and it’s advisable to consult with a criminal defence lawyer before engaging with them.

What Court will hear my case?

Legal matters progress through different levels of courts based on the seriousness of the charges:

Magistrates Court: This is where all criminal charges begin, usually initiated by a Notice to Appear or a Complaint and Summons. Less serious cases are handled here. Bail decisions are made by a Magistrate, and they preside over trials and sentencing.

District Court: More serious indictable charges are heard here, following a transfer from the Magistrates Court. This can be done through an ex-officio Indictment or Committal Hearing. The District Court has the power to deal with severe drug-related offences. Appeals from lower courts are also heard here.

Supreme Court: Similar to the District Court, the Supreme Court handles serious indictable charges, including cases like murder and trafficking. Cases are elevated from lower courts through an ex-officio Indictment or Committal Hearing. The Supreme Court also deals with major drug offences.

Court of Appeal: This court handles appeals against both conviction and sentence. Appeals come from the District Court or Supreme Court through a Notice of Appeal. 

Do I have to attend court?

In most situations, you’re not required to be present in court if you have legal representation unless specific conditions apply. These conditions include receiving a Notice to Appear (NTA), missing a court appearance, or requiring changes to your bail terms.

However, if you’re facing sentencing or a trial, your presence in court will be necessary. In all other instances, our legal team handles court appearances on your behalf, relieving you of the burden and inconvenience of attending personally.

The police have told me I don’t need a lawyer, is that true?

This is one of the strangest questions I am ever asked. I wonder why anyone who has been charged by the police would think any advice then given to them by the police would be in their best interests. If the police are prosecuting you, they are the last people you should be taking advice from.

Everyone who has been charged with an offence should seek the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer. Without one, you are maximising your chances of a disaster that will last a lifetime.

When is a criminal record 'cleared' in Australia?

In Australia, including Queensland, certain criminal records can become spent or “cleared” after a specified period, usually after a period of 10 years for adults and 5 years for juvenile offences.

This means that minor offences might not need to be disclosed in certain circumstances, such as when applying for certain types of employment or obtaining insurance. However, the rules regarding spent convictions can vary based on the jurisdiction, the seriousness of the offence, and the specific legislation in place.

It’s recommended to seek legal advice to understand how this concept applies to your situation and jurisdiction.

Can any lawyer handle my criminal matter?

Here is the short answer to this; Would you consult a podiatrist to fix a problem with your heart? Of course not.

Like most things in life, specialists are trained to deal with problems that others are not experienced with. If you consult a non-criminal lawyer to deal with your criminal matter, you are putting your life in the hands of someone who might not know what they are doing.

Will I have to speak in court?

Unless it is a matter where I intend to take evidence from you in the witness box, I will ensure that you are not required to speak.

Those who aren’t familiar with court procedures might inadvertently say the wrong thing. My years of experience mean that I will express all that needs to be said without asking you to speak in court at all.

How to prepare for my first meeting with a Criminal Defence Lawyer?

To effectively prepare for your initial meeting with a Criminal Lawyer, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare Questions: Compile a list of questions you have about the criminal law process and how your case is likely to proceed. This will help you better understand the situation and allow your lawyer to provide you with relevant advice.
  2. Share Information: Be ready to share any information your lawyer might need. Answering their questions will assist them in providing meaningful guidance.
  3. Bring Documents: Gather all documents you’ve received from the police or prosecution. This includes bail documents, your criminal history, and the police summary of facts etc.
  4. Supporting Material: Bring any materials that can support your case, such as photographs or contact details of potential witnesses.
  5. Written Chronology: It’s helpful to prepare a written chronology or summary of your involvement in the matter.

These steps ensure you’ll be well-prepared for your first meeting with your lawyer, enabling them to provide you with informed advice and representation.

Will media find out about my case?

To effectively prepare for your initial meeting with a Criminal Lawyer, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare Questions: Compile a list of questions you have about the criminal law process and how your case is likely to proceed. This will help you better understand the situation and allow your lawyer to provide you with relevant advice.
  2. Share Information: Be ready to share any information your lawyer might need. Answering their questions will assist them in providing meaningful guidance.
  3. Bring Documents: Gather all documents you’ve received from the police or prosecution. This includes bail documents, your criminal history, and the police summary of facts etc.
  4. Supporting Material: Bring any materials that can support your case, such as photographs or contact details of potential witnesses.
  5. Written Chronology: It’s helpful to prepare a written chronology or summary of your involvement in the matter.

These steps ensure you’ll be well-prepared for your first meeting with your lawyer, enabling them to provide you with informed advice and representation.