What is a Plea Hearing and why does it matter?

ByMyDefence Staff

What is a Plea Hearing and why does it matter?

MyDefence lawyers work hard to either get charges withdrawn or lowered. Sometimes this happens in a plea deal with the prosecutor where our client agrees to plead guilty to lesser or fewer charges in order to get the more serious charges withdrawn.

We will only recommend this if we advise that the evidence that the prosecutor has will prove an offence. A plea of guilty also gets a sentencing discount of around 25% less than if a client ran a case to trial.

Pleading guilty - discretion of Magistrate

Even though a client may plead guilty, that does not mean our job is done. The magistrate or judge has wide discretion as to what penalty to impose at sentence such as whether:

  • the offence is recorded with or without conviction on your criminal record;
  • a good behaviour bond, corrections order or jail sentence should be imposed;
  • the maximum penalty or a very small penalty such as a fine versus a jail sentence should be imposed;
  • to defer a sentence to see how the accused person behaves over a period of time before imposing the sentence.

The Plea Hearing

For the court to make this decision, a Plea Hearing is held. We get an opportunity to inform the court about the circumstances of the offence and the background of our client. Factors that the court looks for are:

  • Where the client acknowledges and admits their wrongdoing;
  • Is apologetic and remorseful;
  • A client's prior criminal history;
  • Takes steps to make amends such as undertaking courses that provides insight to the offending, e.g. drug rehabilitation, anger management;
  • Character references from employers, family, colleagues;
  • Support from family and friends.

MyDefence lawyers have pleas down to a fine art. We connect our clients with services and character reference templates to get all the information aimed at securing the most minimum penalty.

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MyDefence Staff editor