Most criminal offences heard by a local court in New South Wales are commenced by NSW Police.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence by the NSW Police, you will receive a Court Attendance Notice.
If you received a penalty notice or infringement notice, and you elected to have the matter decided by a court, you will also receive a Court Attendance Notice.
A Court Attendance Notice is a document that sets out details of:
the alleged offence
which court will decide your case, and
when to attend court
The Court Attendance Notice issued by the NSW Police will be accompanied by another document titled Fact Sheet. The Fact Sheet includes a summary of the facts relied on by the NSW Police.
It is not uncommon for there to be a dispute about these facts, and the appropriateness of the charges laid, and occasionally there is scope to negotiate facts and/or charges with the NSW Police prosecutor. This is called “charge negotiation” and may lead to a “charge agreement” and/or an amended but agreed Fact Sheet – a statement of agreed facts.
You and your defence solicitor should always be mindful of the possibility of negotiating a plea of guilty to an appropriate lesser charge, than that with which you originally were charged with.
However, the Prosecutor, quite correctly, when so negotiating, will not usually agree to delete a fact, or withdraw a charge, if there is strong evidence in support of it.
There are sentence discounts available to those who plead guilty at the earliest reasonable opportunity. This is in recognition of the obvious benefits to the criminal justice system which result from a guilty plea – the savings in court time, police and prosecutor time, to name a few.
The earlier the plea of guilty, the greater the potential for such a discount.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.