Many defendants charged with criminal or traffic offences to be heard in Victorian Magistrates Courts wish to plead not guilty to some or all of these charges. However, they usually find that having the matter listed for a contested hearing is a long drawn out process over a period of 6 to 12 months with at least 2 to 3 court hearings (with increasing legal expenses).
Also, long delays in finalising criminal charges can be a highly stressful experience Finally a defendant who pleads not guilty and is found guilty often receives a harsher sentence than if they had pleaded guilty to the charges.
Defendants may be able to avoid these problems by having their lawyer seek a sentence indication from the magistrate hearing the matter.
The court hearing proceeds with the defendant 's lawyer seeking a sentence indication The magistrate then hears the charges a summary of the police evidence and prior convictions( if any ) The Magistrate usually give an indication of the sentence they would impose if a plea of guilty is entered
The lawyer and the defendant then confer outside the court and if the defendant is satisfied with the sentence indication they go back before the magistrate a plea of guilty is entered and the sentence already indicated is imposed
There are three important things to remember about sentence indications