Criminal Law Offences 2018-08-31T00:40:17+00:00

Criminal Law Offences

By “criminal law” we mean here all those alleged offences that are not traffic incidents.

This is definitely the best position to be in – charged with a first offence instead of your tenth. Generally the opportunities for getting you off without a conviction are greater. It can sometimes be, done without having to fight the case through to a trial. You may be eligible for a relatively informal process known as diversion or it might well be that we can plea-bargain your case and resolve it at what’s known as a case review hearing.

Diversion a process where the police and the defendant agree that if the defendant completes an undertaking then the charge will be withdrawn. For example it might be that you promise the police that you will attend counselling for an addiction problem, do some community work or make a charitable donation etc. It is generally only possible to get diversion once in your life.

A case review hearing is a relatively informal court hearing in front of a judge. Such a hearing usually occurs several weeks to several months after the first appearance date. The objective is to see if the case can be resolved without going on through to a much more formal and ‘real’ court hearing called a ‘defended hearing’ (also called a ‘judge alone trial’ or ‘JAT’) which would probably be several months later again.

Patrick likes to call the case review hearing court “the deal court”. It’s often a very suitable forum for plea-bargaining the case. A plea bargain is a deal between the police and the defence which can then be put before a judge ideally at a case review hearing. The objective is to have the judge approve the deal.

If you do have previous convictions don’t despair. Frequently, very good outcomes can be achieved. Indeed a case review hearing can often be the perfect place to resolve a ‘non-first offence’ case

The Crimes Act and other acts list offence after offence. There are alas too many to go into here. Contact us for a FREE assessment of your actual situation.

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FAQs about Criminal Law

Highly unlikely. At least not at an early stage of the proceedings. We usually have to take these cases through the process some way to get a successful outcome.

Because the offence of burglary is all about having an intention to commit a crime before one enters the premises. There can be all sorts of crimes that a person might allegedly intend to commit – not just theft.

Probably because of the amount. Over 28 grams (one ounce) and they tend to think “drug dealer”.

We’re afraid not. Convictions are permanent and will be there for the rest of your life.

This depends on the conviction and where you want to go. We are most often asked about the situation in entering the United States. Most New Zealanders can enter the U.S. on the “visa waiver program” and are not required to seek a visa. But you will need to approach a U.S. consular office before you travel to the U.S. if you have been in trouble with the law. For more advice or information on travelling to other countries, seek our advice before pleading guilty.

It depends on the conviction, the job you want and the employer. Prospective employers will very often ask you to disclose any previous convictions. You can refuse to do so but that’s usually going to take you out of the game before it’s started. Convictions for dishonesty offences – for example theft, theft as a servant (i.e. while working as an employee in a previous position) or fraud are going to have, we suggest, a seriously adverse impact on your chances.

The decisions with which you are now faced, will very likely have consequences that may affect your life for several years,
if not the rest of your life. As with any other important matter, you need to be making your decisions on the best information, which with our expertise, we can give you.

By the way a first appearance is not an occasion on which to give evidence and get your witnesses along – if you want to fight it out you will have to keep going through the system.
See below…

You will probably have the option of fighting your case out at a “defended hearing”. This is a court case where the judge listens to all the evidence and then makes a decision. You may also have the option of having a jury trial in front of a judge and a jury of 12 ordinary people. Here the judge makes rulings and keeps the case on course but the decision on whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty is left to the jury. With some charges there is no option and they have to go to a jury trial.

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