In Western Australia, all criminal charges are either summary offences that can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court by a Magistrate, or more serious offences that cannot be dealt with in the Magistrates Court and must, instead, be dealt with on indictment in a superior court (District Court or Supreme Court) before a Judge or a Judge and Jury. Some offences are known as “either way” offences, which means that it will be heard summarily unless the prosecution or defence apply for the matter to be heard on indictment.

If you are under investigation by the police, you may be asked to participate in a video record of interview (also known as an electronic record of interview). The police will often arrest you on suspicion of having committed an offence and then ask you to participate in an interview.

When questioned by police, you can exercise your right to silence. You must provide the police with your personal details, being your full name, date of birth and address, but you do not need to answer any other questions. If you choose not to answer any questions, you can answer by saying “no comment”.  You can also inform the officers prior to the interview that you intend on providing a “no comment interview”.

Character references can be provided to the court at sentencing hearings. They can tell the Presiding Magistrate or Presiding Judge that despite you being convicted of the current offence, that you are still considered to be of good character

This can be useful in assisting the Magistrate or Judge with what penalty should be imposed at your sentencing hearing.
They are also particularly useful if you are applying for a spent conviction.

You should aim to get about 3-5 references from various people who know you well, and who know about the charge(s) you are in court for. 

Who can issue a search warrant?

A warrant can be issued by a judicial officer, such as a Justice of the Peace, Magistrate, or Judge.

When can the police carry out a search?

The police can search you, your property, or your vehicle if:
•    They have a valid search warrant (they do not require your consent); 
•    They have your consent to carry out the search; or
•    They are otherwise permitted to by law (see below).

Page 2 of 2

© 2018 Chambers Legal Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved.   Designed By Between Elements