Applying for an adjournment in Queensland Courts
Have you been charged with a criminal or traffic offence and have been given a Notice to Appear in the Magistrates Court of Queensland? Do you need more time to seek legal advice, explore your options or gather further material that will assist you in Court? It is possible to seek an adjournment for your matter. This is a guide for anyone who is seeking information on how to apply for an adjournment in Queensland.
If you have been charged with an offence and need more time to prepare for your trial or case to be heard, seek an adjournment. We can assist you with this process, so call Hounsell Cunningham today on (07) 3188 5626.
What is an adjournment?
An adjournment is an option available to either the prosecutor and the defendant. An adjournment means that your matter will be postponed and heard at a later date. In Queensland, you must attend court on the date that is set. It is however possible to seek an adjournment to get legal advice or to gather information or evidence; we will explain this in more detail below.
Appearing in court
When you appear in court before a Judge or a Magistrate, it is absolutely vital that you are well prepared. In your first court appearance date, you will be asked if you are pleading guilty, not guilty or seeking an adjournment. If you aren’t adequately prepared for this first appearance in court, it can have an impact on the overall outcome of your matter.
Some people are inadequately prepared for their matter and simply enter a plea of guilty because they think it will be easier. In some cases, it may have been beneficial to get a copy of police evidence and review it, and then potentially negotiate with the prosecutor to downgrade the charge or have the charge dismissed. But once you have entered a plea of guilty, it is very difficult to withdraw it.
Everyone is entitled to request an adjournment in their matter. An adjournment is usually sought on the first Mention of your matter, however a person can apply for multiple adjournments if they have adequate reasons. There is no set number of adjournments that a person can seek. You should however be aware that if you are ultimately pleading guilty to an offence, you receive a discount on your penalty if the matter is resolved quickly. Unnecessary adjournments may mean that you do not receive this discount.
How to adjourn a Magistrates Court hearing
When seeking an adjournment there needs to be sufficient grounds to seek an adjournment. You will need to advise the Court of these reasons. Common reasons for seeking an adjournment include:
- You need time to gather more information for your matter.
- You would like more time to review the police evidence (known as a QP9).
- You need to seek legal advice for your
- There are personal reasons, such as an appointment that cannot be moved, or an illness that has sufficient evidence.
- You are away on holidays when your matter is listed.
- You are required to work on the day of your court appearance.
When you are seeking an adjournment, you will often need to provide documentation which supports your application. Never assume that the court will grant you your adjournment, especially if you are underprepared! But provided that you have sufficient reasons for the adjournment it is fairly reasonable to expect that a court will grant this to you.
When appearing in Court you should always remember to address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”
Can I apply online for my adjournment?
You have the option of applying online for your adjournment, but you can usually only do this if your matter is being heard in the Magistrates Court. This process is undertaken by sending an email to the Court explaining your reasons. It is however usually not possible to seek an adjournment via email on the first Mention, as you are required to personally appear and answer your Notice to Appear.
If you do not meet these criteria, then you must apply in person or via your legal representative in court on the date of your first mention.
Do I need a lawyer to seek an adjournment?
When it comes to court processes, it can be helpful to work with a legal professional who understands what needs to be done for a successful application. We can assist you by representing you in court, or by providing legal advice to you prior to your hearing.
If you have been charged with an offence, we can assist you with seeking an adjournment, so call Hounsell Cunningham today on (07) 3188 5626.