Criminal cases

Criminal cases are essentially anything that you get taken to court for.

These are the main sources and types of charges:

Crimes Act:

Assault, theft, fraud.

Summary Offences Act:

Disorderly behavior, and threatening behavior.

Misuse of Drugs Act:

Possession, importation or supply of drugs.

There are also charges laid under other Acts if they relate to a particular type of offending – e.g. domestic violence or benefit fraud.

I have successfully defended cases or negotiated positive outcomes in 1000’s of cases across this spectrum.

I do not undertake legal aid cases. If you would like to discuss hiring me for your case please get in touch for a free consultation.  If possible please have paperwork handy.

I've been charged

If you have been charged with a criminal offence you have several options for legal representation.

When you go to court a Duty Lawyer will be available at no charge. They are only able to assist with minor cases.

You may be eligible for Legal Aid. For most cases you cannot choose your own lawyer on legal aid. As such I cannot undertake your case on Legal Aid.

You may also speak with your local community law centre.

If you are seeking professional private representation please call me to discuss your case. There is no charge for this consultation.


If you have been charged with an offence you may be taken to the police station to be processed.

The police may grant you bail from the police station. This is not like on US television – you don’t need to come up with money to get out.

There may be some conditions on you e.g. not to contact certain people or live in a certain place.

When you go to court the police bail bond becomes void. The Court may impose new conditions.

You are required to sign a bail bond. Many courts put you in custody to do so.

I always recommend clients to carry their bail bond on their person 24/7. If there is any dispute with police – and I’ve had many instances of the police computer saying something different to what I know the case to be, having the bail bond handy may keep you out of jail for the night.

Bail conditions are often agreed with the prosecution prior to appearing before the Court. However a magistrate or Judge has the right to add other conditions.

If you are refused bail or dispute the conditions you have a right to appeal and go to the High Court.

If you are refused bail you may apply for electronic bail. This involves you having a bracelet around your ankle and be monitored.

I have successfully obtained bail for clients with opposed bail in the District Court and High Court.


If you lose your case and are convicted and sentenced you have the option to appeal within 28 days.

Appeals can against conviction – e.g. that you should not have lost the case, or they can be against sentence – e.g. the sentence was too harsh.

I have successfully won appeals against conviction and sentences at the High Court (Whangarei, Auckland, and Tauranga).

If you would like to discuss appeal options please contact me.

Keeping a clean record

If you have been charged with a criminal offence you are at risk of having a conviction entered against your name.

There are 3 main ways to avoid a conviction:

  1. Win the case (not guilty or the charge withdrawn)
  2. Be granted diversion
  3. Be discharged without conviction

These options depend on the strength of evidence against you, the seriousness of the charge, and your personal circumstances.


Diversion is a scheme run by the Police.

It is entirely at their discretion and as such they have no obligation to grant you diversion and you have no right to receive it.

It is intended to keep charges off the criminal records of first offenders.

It is usually offered to first offenders if the charge is relatively minor, for instance shoplifting.

I have successfully obtained diversion for clients who have had diversion before and even clients who already have a record.

The process usually involves an interview with a diversion Sergeant at which point you express remorse and satisfy the Officer that you have learned your lesson.

There are usually some steps to take such as a letter of apology or payment of reparation.

If you have been declined diversion there are steps that can be taken.

Feel free to contact me if you have issues with your diversion.

Discharge without conviction

A discharge without conviction means the conviction is not entered on your record.

It is technically possible to receive a discharge without conviction on any charge, though the more serious the charge the harder it is.

The basic test is – do the direct and indirect consequences of the conviction outweigh the seriousness of the offence.

Evidence must be provided to give weight to any claims – e.g. simply stating it will affect work, travel, life etc.. is rarely sufficient and supporting documentation is required.

I have successfully represented clients on discharges without conviction on a range of cases including assault, drugs, drink driving and many other charges.

If you would like to discuss your case please contact me and have paperwork on hand if possible.

Not guilty

If you want to defend your charge you plead not guilty.

The usual process then is to try to have the charge withdrawn by police prior to the hearing and there is usually a specific court event for these negotiations.

If that fails then you will appear before a Judge along with the witnesses.

If you win then no conviction is entered against your name.

If you lose – the sentence you receive will be more severe than if you plead guilty earlier.

I’ve successfully defended charges across the spectrum of criminal cases from domestics to possession of weapons and interfering with motor vehicles.