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Do I need to get legal advice?

Yes, if you have been charged with an offence then you should get legal advice.

A lawyer can:

  • explain what your offence means
  • give you information and advice
  • help you decide if you should plead guilty or not guilty
  • explain what your penalty might be
  • explain what will happen in court.

How can I get legal advice?

Contact Legal Aid Queensland

Legal Aid Queensland provides free legal advice, and you can call us on 1300 65 11 88 for the cost of a local call. If it is appropriate in your circumstances, a customer service officer will give you legal information and make an appointment for you to talk with one of our Legal Aid lawyers. You can talk with the lawyer over the phone or visit one of our offices and talk with them face-to-face.

If you are charged with an offence, we recommend that you obtain a copy of your QP9 before contacting Legal Aid. The QP9 is a written summary of the police version of why you were charged and what happened. To get a copy of the QP9 you can ask the police prosecutor to show it to you on your first mention date, or ask the duty lawyer to get a copy for you and to read it to you.

If you were unable to collect your QP9 at your first court date, you should apply to the police/prosecutions office for your QP9. You will need to present photo identification and a written request to the police prosecutor. Contact your local police station if you are unsure where to apply.

If your QP9 is not provided to Legal Aid, this may limit the amount of advice we can provide you.

Contact a private lawyer

You may have your own lawyer, but if not, you can find one by:

  • looking in the phone book
  • calling the Queensland Law Society’s private lawyer referral line on (07) 3842 5842
  • visiting the Queensland Law Society’s website

Contact your local community legal centre Community legal centres provide free legal help. They can usually only provide legal advice. To find out where your closest centre is, call Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88.

Talk with a duty lawyer at the magistrates court

A duty lawyer works in most magistrates courts and can:

  • provide free legal advice
  • look at what the police have charged you with and explain the charges
  • let you know if your charges can be dealt with by the magistrates court
  • speak for you in court if you do not want to represent yourself
  • ask for an adjournment
  • apply for bail if necessary
  • have a conference with the police prosecutor
  • help you with pleas of guilty for most offences where you are not at risk of going to prison
  • help you with pleas of not guilty by entering your plea and setting a date for a hearing.

The duty lawyer can’t:

  • represent you on minor traffic offences or drink driving charges unless there is a risk of you going to jail
  • represent you at a committal hearing or represent you at a hearing.

Ring the courthouse to find out if a duty lawyer will be available when you go to court.

When you arrive at the courthouse, ask at the front counter or look for the duty lawyer’s room.

Last updated 18 November 2015

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