Circumstances exist in the Road Safety Act which allow the police to apply to a court to forfeit your Car.

It's aimed at so called hoon drivers, but like all laws has a net that can ensnare many drivers who have at least three traffic offences in their history.

What can you do if it happens to you?

The state government passed the Firearms Ammendment Bill in both houses in early February, and is currently waiting on the governor's assent to become law.

This ammendment to the Firarms Act will create a firearms prohibition order that will stop subjected individuals from lawfully possessing or using firearms. The new laws will target those with a history of crime, criminal association or who otherwise pose a risk to public safety.

Summary offences and some indictable offences can also be dealt with through the summary stream of the Magistrates' Court.

Did you know that there are three main stages involved in the summary prosecution process?

Sometimes a criminal lawyer is needed at the most unexpected times. It could be that the police have conducted a search at your house, or perhaps you have been served a summons for attendance at court in relation to an intervention order.  In circumstances such as these, waiting days to weeks for an appointment to speak to a lawyer can be lead to bad outcomes.

Summary offences are typically less serious offences that are less likely to attract imprisonment than indictable offences. As they are less serious, they are usually heard in the Magistrates' Court, whereas indictable offences are typically heard in the County Court or the Supreme Court..

There can often be confusion as to when it is in one's best interests to call for help from criminal lawyers in Melbourne.

Should you call:
(a) before the police have interviewed you?
(b) before the police have charged you?
(c) before the court date?
(d) After you have been warned by the Magistrate to seek legal advice?

The Court of Appeal recently handed down a decision in the case of DPP  v  Dalgleish  [2016]  VSCA 148 in which Joseph Burke Law acted as the instructing solicitor. This case was an appeal brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions on the basis that Mr Dalgleish received a manifestly inadequate sentence.

The Victorian government is reported by the herald sun to have introduced legislation which will stop remand prisoners from routinely being brought to court on their court dates. Instead, it is proposed that they will usually be kept in prison, and will routinely appear at court via video-link. The government is trying to spin this as a hi-tech overhaul, but the reality is it will harm access to justice for remand prisoners in Victoria.

When a crime comes to the attention of the authorities, and a suspect is identified, a recorded interview usually takes place. Often, this results in a confession, where the accused makes admissions of guilt, or of facts that would tend to prove guilt at trial. Sometimes, however, such a confession is unable to be used in evidence.

It is possible that one could be charged with trafficking merely for possessing drugs, provided that they possessed an amount of drugs that was greater than the amount deemed the trafficable quantity in schedule 11 of the drugs, poisons and controlled substances act 1981.

One of the final acts of the Napthine government before its electoral defeat in Victoria was to implement new drink driving laws effective 1 October 2014. These new laws act to impose an interlock condition of at least six months for all drivers caught with a BAC of 0.07 or above.

The summons has arrived and you've got court coming up. You need a lawyer, but have no idea how to get a good one. Perhaps you try the Yellow Pages, or Google. But there are so many lawyers out there. And they all look the same.

The letter comes from VICROADS with all the accoutrements of a faustian pact. An offer is made to allow you to keep your license should you agree not to incur a further demerit point within a 12 month period. This is accepted, but some months later you're caught speeding.

Your license is suspended. It's real. But you decide to drive anyway. What's the harm...

Well, driving while your licence is suspended involves some real risks.

Stories regarding the leaking of conversations with politicians that were apparently covertly recorded by a journalist for a prominent Melbourne newspaper have been doing the rounds. It's alleged that a recording device belong to this journalist was stolen from a lost property box, and that conversations this journalist had with certain polticians were then leaked to the media.

There are two major questions here. Is the journalist exposed to criminal liability as a result of making unauthorised recordings of conversations with politicians? Is the person who published the private conversations in any trouble?

In sentencing a hierarchy exists with good behavior bonds on one end and imprisonment on the other. Sandwiched between are fines, community corrections orders and suspended sentences of imprisonment. These suspended sentences operate somewhat like the Sword of Damocles to give their subjects a final chance to avoid prison. So long as no jail-able offence is committed during the operational period of the suspended sentence, the term of imprisonment hanging above the subject's head is not activated.

The Road Safety Act 1986 is as over legislated an act as parliament can make. As quickly as loopholes get discovered by lawyers, the legislators close them, and acts born of simple elegance gradually disintegrate into a nightmare of spaghetti proportions.

Somewhere along the line, the powers that be decided licence suspensions should be mandatory for drink driving offences. And these suspensions should be substantially increased for those repeat drink drivers. But lets look at what a repeat drink driver actually is. It's someone that has previously had a drink driving offence. So, a speeding offence isn't a drink driving prior. But what about someone that's refused to accompany a police officer to a police station to provide a breath sample?

On 17 March 2014, practice direction 4 of 2014 came into force, revoking the previous direction 4 of 2011. This practice direction relates to bail applications.

Among other changes, this practice direction follows on with changes made to the bail act with the Bail Amendment Act 2013. It does however alter the options available to an accused facing a remand hearing.

On 20 December 2013, the Bail Amendment Act 2013 came into force. Among other changes, this Act requires that further applications for bail are heard before the same Magistrate who previously heard the bail application. It also includes new requirements for notification of bail applications.

There are some undesirable consequences associated with these changes that affect unrepresented accused.

Earlier this year, the Law Reform Committee tabled its final report for an inquiry into sexting. The report can be downloaded from here.

An interesting aspect of the report was its recommendation that young people who create explicit images of themselves should be protected from prosecution for child pornography offences. The report noted that although it is not aware of any cases in Australia where a person involved in purely consensual sexting had been prosecuted, such cases have occurred in the United States. The following case study appears in page 47 of the report:

The state liberal government has made it a priority to place transit protective service officers at train stations throughout Melbourne. These officers have become a familiar fixture around the public transport hubs. However, it has been reported that some officers have been too liberal in dispensing fines, and have exceeded their legal authority to do so.

In response to concerns that the overcrowding of prisons in Victoria has resulted in some prisoners not being brought to court, a pilot program has been announced which will involve the Magistrates' Court sitting on weekends. The logic behind it, is that if bail applications can be heard on the weekend, it potentially frees up a spot on the list on the next weekday.

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