Pleading Guilty in Court

How to prepare for a plea of guilty at Court

Pleading Guilty in Court

A large part of defence work is negotiating charges our clients face. If we are able to negotiate an acceptable resolution of the charges, your case will be listed for a plea hearing. This general information applies whether you are pleading guilty in the Magistrates’, County or Supreme Court.

It is important to ensure that every effort is made to present your case in the best and most detailed way. The Court will expect evidence to support the submissions made by your lawyer, for example if you instruct your lawyer that you have competed a drug rehabilitation program, the Court will expect to see a report from your treating professionals and evidence of your abstinence from drugs in the form of drug urine analysis results.

In our experience, the amount of effort that you make to prepare your plea hearing is always reflected in the outcome.

A non-exhaustive list of some of the material to obtain in preparation of the plea hearing is listed in the table below. You should speak with your lawyer about material you can obtain to best suit your particular type of case.

Issue Evidence
Previous good character Character references (see our reference guide)

Speak with people who can attend Court to provide evidence in Court in support of your plea

Employment history A copy of your CV/Resume

Obtain a letter from your current or former employers confirming your employment history

Academic study or courses completed A copy of your academic transcript

Course completion notice/letter

Copy of certificate of completion

Treatment for drug or alcohol abuse Report from treating professional/counsellor

Letter from GP confirming referrals obtained

Letter from GP confirming prescriptions provided

Urine screen results (ideally over a period of months to confirm abstinence)

Mental health Referral from GP for a mental health care plan

Report from treating professional (if any)

Report from forensic psychologist/psychiatrist

Letter from GP/professional confirming medications prescribed

Dependent Family Members or Employees If you have dependents with special needs (for example children or elderly parents) letters from treating professionals confirming the existence of the special need and also how you are important to their care