Guilty But Not Guilty: What Are You Pleading Guilty to and Why It Matters

You accept that you broke the law, but it didn’t happen the way that the police say that it did. What should you do? Should you plead guilty?

Choosing to plead guilty is a big decision that attracts serious consequences. When you are charged with an offence, the police identify the offence and allege a set of facts. Often, those facts can be just as important as the charge itself.

Commonwealth Offences Australia

Don't Plead Guilty Without Contesting The Facts

Even if you agree that you committed the offence charged, you may not agree with the facts that the police allege. If this were to be the case and you were to plead guilty without contesting the facts, you would also be accepting those facts. This can attract significant consequences. Often, the facts before a court during sentencing can be the difference between a fine or a more serious penalty such as imprisonment.

Why You Should Not Always Plead Guilty

In RMP v Buley,[1] a recent appeal decision of Judge Loury QC of the District Court of Queensland, her Honour set aside a sentence of 18 months imprisonment and substituted it with a sentence of a $500.00 fine with no conviction recorded. This was done on the basis that the defendant was sentenced on the incorrect facts at first instance.

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When you are charged with an offence, even if you agree that you are guilty, you do not need to accept the facts that the police allege. At Mansia Bovey and Company Lawyers, we pride ourselves in getting excellent results for our clients. To do this we are able to work with you, and liaise with the police on your behalf to advocate for the most favourable set of amended facts that are acceptable to you, accurately reflect what happened, and to help achieve the most favourable outcome.

[1] [2021] QDC 228