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Guilty Plea Hearing

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 you are putting your case 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 and they can talk about your positive characteristics.

Consolidation plea

A consolidated plea (a “consolidation”) is when more than one separate sets of charges is heard 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 that will effect 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.

Sentencing Hearing

Generally the Magistrate will sentence on the same day as the plea is heard. However they also can adjourn the matter for a sentencing hearing on a further date. A sentencing hearing is where the matter is adjourned for the Magistrate to decide what penalty they will impose.

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 on their rehabilitation (eg if they are undergoing treatment for drug problems).