Have you ever wondered what happens after you're arrested and charged with an offence?
As police converged on Brisbane's Aboriginal Tent Embassy to shut it down in May this year, it prompted us to look at this question a bit more closely after dozens of individuals where arrested on site.
Firstly, if you're arrested and charged with an offence you can expect to appear in court.
Before your court appearance the police may hold you in custody at the watchouse or let you go home if you get bail. To obtain bail you sign a document promising to go to court on a certain date to face the charges against you. In other cases you may recieve a Notice to Appear or a Summons to Appear.
Whatever the situation it's a good idea to obtain legal advice because a lawyer can explain what the offence means, help you decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty and explain what your penalty might be and what will happen in court.
"Call ATSILS 24-hour number - 1800 012 255 - to speak to a lawyer."
You should get a copy of your QP 9. This is a written summary of the police version of why you were charged and what happened. You can ask for this from the police prosecutor or the court's duty lawyer can read it to you.
Turn up to court
Failing to turn up on the date set for your court appearance could attract a further offence called "failing to appear". Get legal advice if this happens to you.
Organise to arrive in court early. Arrange to take the whole day off from work or organise child care. Dress neatly, take all your paperwork, a pen and notepad and a friend or family member can accompany you for support.
When you arrive at court go to the counter and tell them your name. Ask for an interpreter if you need one. Find out the courtroom your case will be in or check the daily law list in the foyer/waiting area. You can also ask for the duty lawyer if you need legal advice or if you want them to represent you in court.