A Court Attendance Notice (CAN) is the document used by police to commence criminal proceedings. A CAN will tell you what you are charged with and will outline the alleged circumstances of the offence.
A CAN also tells you what court you are required to attend and on what date.
What happens if I don’t attend court on the date listed on my CAN?
It is very important that you attend court on the date listed on your CAN. If you don’t attend court, a magistrate may find you guilty of the offence/s alleged on your CAN and you may be sentenced in your absence.
What will happen when I attend Court?
The first time you are required in court is called a ‘mention’. Generally, at a mention you will be expected to enter your plea (guilty or not guilty). However, if you have not yet obtained legal advice, you may seek an adjournment of the matter to allow enough time for you to contact a solicitor.
If I plead guilty, will I be sentenced on that day?
If you plead guilty, you may be sentenced on that day, or you may have your matter adjourned to allow enough time for you to attend appropriate courses. For example, if you plead guilty to a drink driving offence, you may be able to have your matter adjourned so you can take part in the Traffic Offender Program.
Participating in such courses is an important way to show a magistrate that you are remorseful for an offence. See how these programs helped our client in our recent case study.
What happens if I plead not guilty?
If you enter a plea of not guilty, your matter will be adjourned to allow enough time for the police to serve you with a brief of evidence. A brief of evidence contains all the ‘proof’ that the police have against you. You will then be given a hearing date.
At a hearing, both you and the police will present your case and a magistrate will decide whether you are guilty or not guilty.
For FREE initial advice about the prospects of your matter, contact one of our criminal law specialists.
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