The Magistrates Court of Western Australia is located at courthouses across the metropolitan area and throughout regional WA. Being the busiest of all the courts exercising criminal jurisdiction, proceedings in the Magistrates Court are necessarily less formal than in the superior courts.
Criminal lawyers appearing in the Magistrates Court understand that Magistrates have very big lists. Efficiency is the key to success in Magistrates Court, particularly in sentencing proceedings.
All criminal offences under WA State law comprise two types: simple offences and indictable offences. All simple offences are dealt with in the summary courts. The Magistrates Court is one of two summary courts (the other being the Children's Court).
Although most charges for indictable offences are dealt with in the superior courts some indictable offences are regularly determined in the summary courts. Indictable offences which are capable of being determined in a summary court are known as 'either way' offences. An 'either way' offence will be determined in a summary court unless the prosecution applies to have the the charge dealt with in a superior court or if the Magistrate considers the offence is too serious to be dealt with in the summary court. If an either way offence is dealt with in the superior court the offence will carry a higher maximum penalty than if dealt with in the summary court. A criminal law specialist can successfully oppose applications to have an either way charge dealt with in the superior court.
All trials and sentencing proceedings in the Magistrates Court are held before a Magistrate. Unlike the superior courts, a person appearing in the Magistrates Court is not required to be represented by a lawyer. However, to successfully defend charges in the Magistrates Court you will need a specialist criminal lawyer who knows the rules of evidence and is able to identify weaknesses in the prosecution case. Most prosecutions in the Magistrates Court are conducted by police prosecutors who are not lawyers. The difference between a good outcome and poor outcome is whether you are represented by a criminal lawyer who knows the technicalities and nuances of the law which must bind a Magistrate in reaching a decision.
Sentencing hearings in the Magistrates Court are brief and you need a criminal law specialist who knows what matters must be addressed and to successfully present persuasive pleas in mitigation.
The lawyers at Perrella Legal appear in the Magistrates Court every day. Our lawyers represent people appearing in the Magistrates Courts at all metropolitan and regional courthouses throughout Western Australia.
If you have been charged with any of the following you will be required to appear in the Magistrates Court. The criminal law specialists at Perrella Legal have extensive experience at representing clients in the Magistrates Court on charges for the following offences: