Being charged with a criminal or traffic offence can feel overwhelming. Sometimes, the confusion surrounding the charge or the court process, can lead you to forget to attend Court altogether. This may be due to a complete slip of the mind, due to illness, or might be due to a mix up with Court dates. Whatever the reason, it is important that you understand that there are options available.
Read our article below to understand what you need to do if you forget to attend Court, and how to lodge an annulment application.
What should I do if I forget to attend Court?
The first step is to contact the Court as soon as you realise that you missed your Court date. You can do this by attending the Court Registry in person on weekdays between 9am and 4pm, or by calling 1300 679 272.
The Registry will be able to look up your matter and let you know what happened on your Court date.
The Court may have adjourned your matter to a different day, to allow you the opportunity to appear on the next occasion. However, the Court also has the power to take other, more serious actions. This can include issuing a warrant for your arrest, due to your failure to attend Court, or convicting you in your absence. Sometimes, the Court may also sentence you in your absence. As a result, your matter is finalised without your knowledge.
If this occurs you should take action to remedy the situation immediately.
What do I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
The effect of the warrant, is that the Police have the power to arrest you and take you into their custody so that you can be brought before a Court.
You should contact a lawyer immediately, to obtain advice about what you should do in this circumstance. We provide FREE over the phone advice, and you can contact our lawyers at any time on 0421 700 497.
What do I do if I am convicted or sentenced in my absence?
The Court has the power to record a plea of guilty on your behalf, if you fail to attend Court. This means you have been “convicted in your absence”.
Similarly, the Court has the power to sentence you in your absence. As a result, you miss the opportunity to make submissions that may assist you in receiving a more lenient sentence.
If either of these things occur, you are able to lodge an annulment application, under section 4 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001.
How do I lodge an annulment application?
An annulment application will need to be lodged with the Court Registry. They will provide you with a form, which will require you to provide reasons as to why you did not attend Court. In addition, you must establish why the annulment is “in the interests of justice.”
You must also pay a filing fee when lodging the application.
If the annulment is successful, the conviction is overturned or the sentence quashed. You will then have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, or make submissions for your sentence.
We Can Help
If you have missed a Court date and you are unsure of what you need to do next, call one of our experienced criminal lawyers. We will help guide you through the court process and provide you with quality advice specific to your case.
Call us now on 0421 700 497 for a FREE initial consultation.