Being arrested is often frightening, especially if you don’t know exactly what is happening or why. In Western Australia, if you are arrested for an offence and you are a minor, you can get legal aid from the government’s Youth Law Team. There are a team of criminal lawyers who can help you with advice or help you if you’ve been arrested and have to appear in court.
Everyone has certain rights, even if they are a convicted criminal. If you are a minor, you have just as much right as anyone else to be represented in court, not to mention the right to remain silent or only answer police questions with a lawyer present.
If you don’t know who to turn to, these lawyers will help you with
- Bail application
- Guilty or not guilty pleas
- Drug court appearances
- Sentence reviews before the President of the Children’s Court
- Higher court appeals
A free duty lawyer is available on the day of your court appearance, and can advise you before you appear in court. It is wise to always have a lawyer represent you and if your case goes to trial, to stand up in court for you. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to go to court; just that you will have a professional lawyer to speak for you and support you.
It is important for you to tell your lawyer the truth about everything even if you are guilty, so they know the best way to help you. They can tell you what you should or shouldn’t say and how to act in court to give yourself the best chance of getting off with a lighter sentence. Of course, if you are not guilty, then you certainly need the support and help of a lawyer to ensure you don’t have to suffer any kind of punishment.
If you are granted bail, lawyers will be able to explain the terms of the bail to you so that you know exactly what you have to do in order to stay out of gaol until your trial date. Breaking the conditions of the bail will only land you in more trouble, so it is for your own good to ensure you know exactly what to do and what to avoid doing.
Very often, young people get into trouble when they didn’t mean to because they didn’t think ahead to the probable consequences of their actions. Remember that you can turn your life around if you want to, if you don’t like the way it is heading right now. Not breaking the bail conditions is a good start in doing so. The trouble you are in doesn’t have to happen again once you are determined to make that change. There are many people out there who will help you, once they see you are serious about changing your lifestyle.