Riviere Law

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a series of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to representation of Criminal Law and Personal Advocacy.

Click any question to view the answer


Did you know?

  • The police have a limited time to test you after stopping you on the side of the road.
  • There are certain places where the police cannot legally test you.
  • The police cannot search your car without your permission.
  • The DNA police detect are often transferred from one surface onto another before being collected.

Do you know what a magistrate wants to hear about you before he sentences you for an offence?

A solicitor who specialises in criminal law will be fully aware of all these questions and issues, plus many more. Their expert knowledge and experience of criminal proceedings can make all the difference to the outcome of your case.


A work licence is what people tell you they have when they are disqualified or suspended and continue driving regardless of the very heavy penalties that the court imposes. There is no such thing as a work licence in New South Wales.

With a Good Behaviour Licence, the RMS allows you to continue driving when you have used all your demerit points. This is an all or nothing gamble and if you commit any offences driving on the good behaviour licence, you will be suspended for double the period you would have initially served. We can often stop this from happening.


It depends on what the charges against you. With a drink driving matter you will usually attend court only twice. If you have been charged with a minor criminal offence (stealing, assault, etc.) and plead guilty, you are generally only required to go to court once. However, if you plead not guilty, your case could go before the Court on several occasions. Your solicitor should be able to get you excused from attending, at least, one of these appearances/mentions.

Sometimes cases are delayed when police fail to provide statements as directed by the court or for other reasons beyond your solicitor’s control, such as the need to subpoena appropriate evidence for a hearing.


Yes. You have the right of appeal to the district court in respect of any sentence imposed by the local court. Your appeal should be lodged within 28 days of the date of sentencing or, with leave of the judge; you may lodge up to 3 months afterwards.

You can also appeal the outcome of a hearing and a finding of guilt relating to charges against you. The same time periods apply for this type of appeal.


Yes, it is a possibility. However case law dictates that the judge will first warn you that he intends to impose a harsher penalty before giving you a chance to withdraw your appeal, and allowing the penalty from the local court to remain. I have never received such a warning because I will always provide appropriate advice to a client as to whether an appeal is likely to succeed. I never encourage my clients to pursue what is liable to be a hopeless case.


These are significant and enduring. If you hold a shooters licence or a security licence, your licence will be cancelled for ten years and any firearm in your possession will be confiscated. You cannot apply for either type of licence for ten years.

AVOs have a significant impact on any family law proceedings and the court will not consider shared time for a parent if there is domestic violence. Agreeing to an AVO is often taken by the family court as an admission of the presence of domestic violence in a relationship. This often results in a parent having supervised contact following false accusations by the other parent.

If one parent makes false claims to have an AVO put in place, then there is the concern that they will lie regarding a breach of the order. A breach of an AVO is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of a $2200 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment. If the allegation is one of violence, then the court must consider a term of imprisonment as a penalty.


No. A magistrate can refuse permission for you to attend the Traffic Offender Program and this may occur depending on the reason you are appearing before the court. You should seek the leave of the magistrate to attend the program before your sentence is imposed.


Generally speaking, no. If your vehicle is involved in a collision or serious incident you must provide the police with the name of the driver at the time of the incident. The police will often ask you for more information about the incident but you do not need to provide this information or answer any further police questions.

In respect of all other issues, our general advice is not to answer police questions or provide statements. If providing a police statement will help your case, this can be arranged through your solicitor at a later date.

You should also be aware of the new legislation which contains a Special Caution for major criminal offences. This caution essentially means that if you do not provide a statement to police and you raise a defence at a later time, the judge may criticise this defence. However this legislation is significantly flawed and there are a number of hurdles the police must overcome to use this legislation in your case. If the police provide you with a Special Caution, it is essential that you contact a solicitor before giving them any further information.