Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Altria Law Criminal Law services for crimes and civil wrongs

Our Sydney criminal lawyers are experienced in a wide range of matters.

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Criminal Law Fact Sheet

Our Criminal Law fact sheet provides an overview of the factors to consider if you are defending or prosecuting a criminal charge in NSW. Our fact sheet provides practical and simple guidance on the process and things to consider, including methods of defending the charge and pleas. We cover topics about:

  • Traffic offences
  • Drug possession
  • Drug supply
  • Violent assault
  • AVOs

If you wish to discuss your matter further with a criminal or traffic lawyer please contact us today.

Our criminal law information for drink driving, DUI, drugs, assault and AVOs

Our criminal lawyers provide useful information on traffic, drug and assault offences.

Criminal law – good to know

  • You must always be completely honest and open with your legal team to ensure they can assist you in the best way possible.
  • ‘Client legal privilege’ allows you to discuss your matter in confidence with your lawyer, and it won’t be admissible in court.
  • It is possible to commit and be tried for both a crime and a civil wrong at the same time.
  • NSW fines are based on a ‘penalty unit’ system. 1 penalty unit is currently equal to $110. The system is designed so that the penalty points can remain the same on a crime, but the government can adjust the monetary rate to account for inflation.

Expert traffic lawyers

Driving offences are common, but losing your license and demerit points along with heavy  fines – or worse, going to jail – can be reduced or avoided if the right defence is mounted by our experienced traffic lawyers. We have the traffic infringement know-how to present your case in the best possible light. Altria can assist with all traffic offences if you have grounds for defence or have extraordinary needs, such as a pressing requirement to retain your license for personal reasons.

We can help if your matter goes to court due to:
  • Negligent driving, occasioning death or grievous bodily harm
  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km/hr over the limit
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or refusing to undergo a breath test
  • Driving while your licence is suspended or you are disqualified from driving

Mounting a defence

Defending yourself against a driving offence is a specialist skill, and whilst you can go it alone in most cases you should engage an experienced traffic lawyer to represent you. How you are presented to the magistrate, obtaining valuable evidence and pleading your case correctly are vital to obtaining the best outcome.

Common defences we will discuss with you include:
  • Denial that you did what the prosecutor says you did
  • That you have a legal excuse or justification for your actions
  • The penalty does not reflect the circumstances of your situation
  • You were convicted and fined in your absence as you were not properly notified of the hearing

Altria’s traffic infringement lawyers can assist with all offences

Talk to Altria’s experienced traffic lawyers today about your particular situation. We will help represent you in court to minimise any penalties to the full extent of the law.

Practiced drug lawyers available to take your case

Defending possession charges

To be found guilty of possession, an illegal drug must be proven to be in your ‘custody’ (immediate physical possession) or ‘control’ (going to do something with the drug, like consume or share it), and that you knew you had custody or control of the illegal substance. There are cases where both of these might not be true and you have been accused. While possession cases are easier to prove, there is a separate offence if you use or attempt to use prohibited drugs, or are caught in the act of consumption (smoking, snorting, injecting, etc). The same penalties apply to this charge.

The penalty for possession is 12 months in prison and/or a fine of $2,200. Drug possession is a summary matter and will be heard in the Local Court.

Supply charges

Supply is another name for ‘dealing’, and includes selling or giving away of drugs. Having a quantity of illicit substances over and above that of personal consumption (‘Small Quantity’) will make you guilty of ‘deemed supply’. Further still, you can simply just offer to sell drugs, or dishonestly sell a legal substance as a drug (e.g. selling icing sugar as heroin), and you will legally be found guilty on supply charges. We will work with you to minimise any sentencing incurred if you are found guilty.

Supply and importation of illicit substances is an indictable offence, and is heard by the District Court.

Drug equipment

It is illegal to have equipment with the intention of using it to consume drugs. The law is the same as possession in that there must be knowledge of the equipment and custody or control. It is an offence to sell a bong or ice pipe or their component parts, whether or not it was intended to be used to take drugs. Syringes do not constitute drug equipment, but lighters, spoons and tourniquets do.

Cultivating and manufacturing drugs

Growing cannabis is an offence at all stages of the plants growth from possessing seeds to harvesting. Defence can be mounted if you were unaware the plant was cannabis. It is also illegal to manufacture illicit substances of any kind, including synthetic drugs.


Altria’s drug lawyers can assist with all offences

Talk to Altria’s experienced criminal lawyers today about your particular situation. We will help represent you in court to minimise any penalties to the full extent of the law.

Assault and AVO lawyers

Assault can be charged as a crime by the police, or a civil wrong by the attacked, or both. If you have been the victim of or committed assault Altria can assist you in your case. In most cases of assault, the punishment will reflect the severity of the injury inflicted.

Aggravated assault

There are many ways an assault can be aggravated:

  • Criminal record of similar offences
  • Domestic violence
  • Position of authority over the victim
  • Serious injuries
  • Using a weapon or an ordinary object as a weapon
  • If in breach of bail or parole, or an AVO
Mounting a defence

There are several circumstances which if proven can dismiss or reduce assault charges. We will discuss the options with you based on the evidence gathered on the case. Defences include:

  • Self-defence – Where you defended yourself or someone else, protecting property or restricted trespassing, or defended your or another’s liberty
  • Accident – Where the assault was unintentional
  • Duress – Assaulted in response to a reasonable threat
  • Necessity – Where the assault was in response to a situation of imminent peril to you or another person


Altria’s assault lawyers can assist with all offences

Talk to Altria’s experienced criminal lawyers today about your particular situation. We will help represent you in court to minimise any penalties to the full extent of the law. If you are prosecuting a case we will work to protect you and seek the orders and damages you seek.

Domestic violence and AVOs

Domestic and family violence is violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour by a spouse or partner, carer or family member to control, dominate or cause fear. And it’s not just physical abuse but also includes emotional, psychological, financial and sexual abuse. An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a restriction against an individual who makes you fear for your safety, to protect you from further violence, intimidation or harassment. 

If you are served an AVO notice:
  • It is important you show up to court, as an Order can be made against you in your absence, or an Interim Order.
  • You can consent to the Order, and not have to go to the hearing. But bear in mind that if you breach the conditions of the Order you could be charged.
  • If you oppose and wish to contest the application, then the case will be adjourned to a later date so you and the protected person can prepare your evidence for the hearing.
  • You must comply with the specific conditions of any Order. If you are found guilty of contravening the AVO, then you could face a maximum 2 years in jail and/or a $5,500 fine, or a number of other punishments.

Criminal Law basics

Understanding your criminal matter broadly will help the context in which you have been charged and are defending yourself, or if you are prosecuting a matter.

Crimes vs. civil wrongs

Seriousness of crimes

Get in touch with our criminal lawyers

If you are wanting more information or are not ready to fill out our Case Starter please send us a message about your criminal matter below.