Commonwealth / Federal Offences
Streeton Lawyers are experts in Commonwealth or Federal criminal offences including drug importation, steroid offences, Centrelink offences and Customs offences. Every lawyer at Streeton Lawyers has previously worked as a federal prosecutor with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and is an expert in the area.
Commonwealth or Federal criminal law is a very specific area, with its own rules, processes and legislation. If you have been charged with a Commonwealth offence, including one of the following, a lawyer who has particular expertise in Commonwealth offences can best navigate you through the process.
Will my charge be heard in a Commonwealth or Federal Court?
Commonwealth criminal charges are heard in state courts, for example in NSW, the NSW courts are given jurisdiction to hear Commonwealth criminal proceedings. Much of the NSW procedure is adopted. If you have been charged, you have likely been summonsed to a Local Court where a magistrate (and then possibly a judge) will hear your matter.
What sentencing options are available?
In NSW, all of the state based sentencing options are available to someone who has been convicted of a Commonwealth offence. See here for SENTENCING OPTIONS
Who will prosecute my matter?
In most cases, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) will prosecute your matter. However, the NSW Police can also prosecute some Commonwealth offences in the Local Court. A very common example is the offence of Using a Carriage Service to menace or harass, which is often charged in domestic violence situations. For Customs offences, these are often prosecuted by the Australian Government Solicitor, who appears on behalf of Customs.
If I am sentenced to prison, will I be sent to a seperate federal prison?
No. Unlike the United States, there are no federal prisons in Australia. Federal offenders serve their prison sentences in state prisons.
Are judge alone trials available?
No. Because of Section 80 of the Commonwealth Constitution, a trial for a Commonwealth offence in the District Court must be by jury.
If you would like to discuss your Commonwealth charge with one of our Commonwealth criminal law experts, you can contact us at any time to arrange for a free initial consultation.