Going to Court for a Criminal Matter

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The Court Attendance Notice requires you to attend Court to answer a charge that you have committed an offence against the law. If you do nothing, the court case may be heard without you or a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

Before your case is heard, you have to decide if you will plead guilty or not guilty to the offence. You can get advice or help to make that decision. 

Where to Get Advice 

Martin Bullock Lawyers has extensive experience in criminal law matters for over 25 years. Greg Martin has worked for the Legal Aid Commission, as well as currently lecturing in criminal law at the University of Western Sydney. His experience will ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome from what is a stressful and difficult process.

How to Answer the Summons or Attendance Notice

The attendance notice tells you the day when your case will be heard. On that date, the Court will want to know whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty to the offence listed in the notice.

You can do this in any one of the following ways:

  • You can go to the Court on the day your case will be heard, either on your own or with your solicitor; or
  • You can send a solicitor to Court in your place; or
  • You can tell the Court your plea in writing.


To do this you must fill in a form called Written Notice of Pleading which can be found on our website. If the form is not on or attached to the back of this notice, you can get one from any Court House. The completed form must be received by the Court at least 5 days before the court hearing date written on the attendance notice.

Pleading guilty to the charge

If you are pleading guilty, the case may be heard on the date written on the court attendance notice, unless arrangements are made with the Court to have the case adjourned to another day. Before the Court considers imposing a penalty you will be given the opportunity to make submission to the Court regarding the circumstances of the offence. You may also wish to obtain character references to give to the court to support your case.

If you want the Court to decide your case without you being at the Court and the case involves a minor traffic or criminal matter you may complete a form called Written Notice of Pleading. The form must be signed by both you and a witness. Send or take the form to the Clerk of the Court where your case will be heard. The address of the Court is shown in your attendance notice. You must make sure that the Court receives the form at least 5 days before the date of the court hearing shown in the attendance notice. The Court will take into account any explanation you may give for breaking the law and will decide the case in your absence. The Court office will send you a notice telling you what punishment the Court has given you. If the Court decides that it cannot deal with your case in your absence, the Court will send you a notice telling you what day to go to Court.

You must go to Court if you receive a notice telling you to attend. If you do not go to Court on the new date, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

Pleading not-guilty to the charge

If you are pleading not guilty the case will NOT be heard on the date written on the attendance notice. The Court will choose another date to hear your case where it can set aside time to hear evidence from witnesses. You must be in a position to advise the Court how many witnesses (if any) you intend to bring with you to Court.

If You Need an Interpreter

If you do not speak or understand English well, you can get an interpreter to assist you in Court. The Court can arrange an interpreter for you. If you need an interpreter contact the Court at least fourteen days before the date of your court case.

Chances of Success

Our experience tells us that your chances of success before the Court are greatly increased by using an experienced lawyer on your behalf. Not only will the case proceed more quickly, and be disposed of more quickly, the outcomes are generally much better when you use an experienced criminal lawyer to act on your behalf.

There is a wise saying “the man who appears for himself has a fool for a lawyer”. The problem with appearing for yourself is that you lack all objectivity, and you become emotionally involved in the case. The role of an experienced criminal lawyer is not only to tell you what the law is, but to provide you with expert, independent legal advice, confidentiality, objectivity, and to obtain the best possible outcome. Martin Bullock Lawyers will achieve this for you every time.

Call Martin Bullock Lawyers on (02) 9687 9322 for all your legal solutions. We are conveniently located in the Court precinct here at Parramatta and we are capable of representing you at a short notice.