This is where your lawyer talks to the Magistrate on your behalf. The aim is to place your offending into context and explain how it came about.
Obviously the more positive things that can be put on your behalf the better result you will get.
It is important to get all the necessary documents and materials as discussed in the Preparing for the Plea page.
Well before this date you and your lawyer will have worked out how your case will be put to the Magistrate. There is no point turning up on the day and working it out then.
We may also want to call people who know you well to give evidence so they can talk about your positive characteristics.
A consolidated plea (a “consolidation”) is when more than one set of charges are heard together as a plea of guilty on the same date. The personal details will normally take about the same amount of time in the plea. If there are a lot of charges and lengthy summaries, that will affect how long the matter will go for. Generally, consolidation pleas have to be booked in as special fixtures so that the Magistrate has enough time to deal with your case properly.
Generally the Magistrate will sentence on the same day the plea is heard. However, they also can adjourn the matter for a sentencing hearing on a later date. This adjournment allows the Magistrate to decide what penalty they will impose. A Magistrate may also adjourn sentence for an assessment to take place which will assist them in deciding on your sentence.
Deferral of sentence
If sentencing is put off for quite a long time (ie. a number of months) it is referred to as a deferral of sentencing. Magistrates often do this if they want to see how a person is going with their rehabilitation (eg. if they are undergoing treatment for drug problems), or if they want to see an offender address certain issues in their life and promise a more lenient sentence as an incentive.