Will I Need to Go to Court If I Am Charged in Western Australia?
A court appearance may or may not be required if you are accused of committing an offence.If you are accused of an offence in Western Australia, you might need to go to court. Whether you must appear in court depends upon the nature of the offence and the kind of paperwork you received. Studying those papers will usually tell you what you must do. If you read the papers and still are not sure, talk to a lawyer.
An infraction notice is commonly referred to as a “ticket.” It may be given to you on-the-spot after an officer observes a suspected traffic violation, or you may receive one in the mail.
An infraction notice will give you the choice of paying money or electing to go to court. A court appearance is not mandatory. You can avoid going to court by paying the infraction notice. You can also choose to appear in court to fight the charge. If you want to do that, you should ask a lawyer to help you prepare a defence.
Court Hearing Notice
A court hearing notice is issued by the Magistrate’s Court. They are used for minor criminal offences. The notice will advise you that you can avoid a court appearance by pleading guilty in writing. You can do that by completing the form on the back of the court hearing notice and returning it to the court. The court will then impose a punishment (usually a fine) and will send you further instructions.
You can also enter a plea of “not guilty” by mail. If you do that, a court appearance will be scheduled for you at a later date. You should arrange to be represented by a lawyer at that appearance.
If you want to plead guilty but hope to obtain a lesser punishment by explaining the circumstances of your offence in person, you should go to court on the date specified on the notice. A lawyer can help you decide what to say.
A summons is issued by the court if you are facing a more serious criminal charge. The date of your court appearance will appear on the summons. You must attend court on that date. Unless you are able to reschedule the court date, your failure to appear will probably result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest. If you receive a summons, you should get help from a lawyer.
If the police arrest you, they might grant you bail without bringing you to Magistrate’s Court. If that happens, the bail form will tell you the date of your first court appearance. You are required to go to court on that date. If you fail to appear, you could be charged with breaching bail. Get help from a lawyer before going to court if you are released on police bail.