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Police & Criminal Law

On this page

State Case Lists

A daily list of the cases to be heard in these State Courts. The list is updated late in the day if you wish to check the list for the following day.

Victoria 2 crime police criminal law charged summons jail sentence guilty offence fine victime of crime legal aid prisoner

Types of Crime

Summary Offences

  • Charges are tried by a magistrate in the Local Court
  • Less serious offences than those tried by a judge and jury ("indictable offences")
  • Penalties are less severe
  • You cannot insist on a jury trial
  • Proceedings for a summary offence must be started within 12 months of the alleged offence

Examples of Summary Offences are Drink Driving, street offenses, offensive conduct or language

Indictable Offences

  • Charges are tried by a judge and jury
  • Extremely serious charges such as murder are tried in the Supreme Court
  • Other indictable offences are heard in the District Court
  • There is no time limit for when charges must be laid for an indictable offence

Examples of Indictable Offences are murder, robbery, malicious wounding and dangerous driving.

Your Rights, Criminal Law Basics

  1. You are innocent until proven guilty.
  2. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  3. Silence can rarely be used to suggest guilt.
  4. A person who has been acquitted cannot be tried again for the same offence. (the double jeopardy rule)
  5. A person charged with a summary offence under the Summary Offences Act may ask the police for further details of the charges (for example; where, when and how the police claim the offence occurred).
  6. If the police fail to provide these details, then the Court must either adjourn the charge until they are supplied, or dismiss the charge.
  7. A request for particulars should be made in writing at least 14 days before the hearing.

The Law Handbook (Victoria) has information on topics such as search and seizure, the questions you must answer for the police and bail.

Also see the Legal Aid Victoria Crime pages.

Applying for Legal Aid

Acts, Regulations, Rules & Forms

Are you looking for detailed information like this, or contact details for any of the bodies mentioned on this page. If so, then start on our Criminal Law for Lawyers page.

If it isn't there, then start on our Finding Detailed Legal Information page.

Please read our warning on that page "Be careful using these resources".

The Law is not always as straightforward as it appears. We have not included any information about when and how to use that information or any traps. We assume that the Lawyers will know this.

Help Us Improve

Please give us feedback about your experiences using Foolkit and ideas for improvements.


Have you been a Victim Of Crime?

If you have been the victim of a crime, then you may be eligible for assistance from Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. They may, for example, assist with medical or counselling expenses.

You may also have other legal rights against the offender. For this you will need to see a lawyer.

Avoiding Trouble

  • If the police suspect you of having committed an offence, do not consent or agree for the police to do anything without speaking to your lawyer first.
  • The same applies to answering questions, participating in a record of interview or appearing in an identification parade. You must though give your name and address and, in some cases, information about the identity of the driver/owner of a vehicle.
  • When the police say they just want to ask a couple of questions to eliminate you from their enquiries or to clear something up - that is often not what they really have in mind.
  • The Prosecutor decides whether to drop criminal charges, not the victim.
  • Be polite and respectful of the police.
  • If stopped by the police, stay calm and in control of your words, body language, and emotions.
  • Don't resist a police officer, even if you think you are innocent.
Victoria 1 crime police criminal law charged summons jail sentence guilty offence fine victime of crime legal aid prisoner

Victorian Police

Emergency 000
General Enquiries: 9247 6666

Victoria Police Centre
637 Flinders Street
Melbourne Vic 3005

Metropolitan Prosecutions Units

Phone 9302 8263
Fax 9302 8264
DX 211271

Phone 9767 7460
Fax 9767 7450
DX 211580

Phone 9784 5611
Fax 9770 5997
DX 211790

Phone 5225 3252
Fax 5221 5020
DX 216055

Phone 9450 8160
Fax 9450 8170
DX 211913

Liquor Licensing Unit
Phone 8684 0676
Fax 8684 0690
DX 210746

Phone 8628 3200
Fax 9670 5473
DX 210300

Phone 9090 5898
Fax 90905899
DX 212138

Neighbourhood Justice Centre
Phone 9948 8716
Fax 9948 8719
DX 211512

Phone 9871 2777
Fax 9871 2755
DX 212462

State Coroner's Assistants' Unit
Phone 9684 4382
Fax 9684 4409
DX 212560

Phone 9313 3334
Fax 9313 3337
DX 212687

Country Prosecutions Units

Phone 5150 2620
Fax 5150 2623
DX 214193

Phone 5336 6122
Fax 5336 6125
DX 214260

Phone 5448 1490
Fax 5448 1491
DX 214505

Phone 5382 9226
Fax 5381 0655
DX 216517

Phone 5018 5420
Fax 5018 5483
DX 217500

Phone 5131 5035
Fax 5131 5033
DX 217737

Phone 5143 5016
Fax 5144 7753
DX 218582

Phone 5735 0256
Fax 5735 0266
DX 218682

Phone 5820 5842
Fax 5820 5837
DX 218744

Phone 5382 9226
Fax 5381 0655
DX 218886

Swan Hill
Phone 5036 4444
Fax 5032 4663
DX 218999

Phone 5723 0662
Fax 5723 0811
DX 219452

Phone 5560 1197
Fax 5560 1194
DX 219606

Phone 02 6049 2781
Fax 02 6049 2705
DX 219763

Headquarters Prosecutions

Level 2, 456 Lonsdale Street Melbourne 3000

DX 210302

Phone: (03) 8628 3270
Fax: (03) 9670 7563

Departments and Units

Police Check

A National Police Certificate or a 'police check' provides a summary of a person's criminal history. It is sometimes requested by organisations as one part of their process to ensure the integrity of their staff or volunteers.

Information on applying for a Certificate Fees and charges apply.

On the spot fines & Traffic Offences

On the spot fines for things like parking and traffic offences, public transport offences, littering or drinking in a public place are dealt with under the Infringements System. For information on how this works, how to dispute a fine, to ask for time to pay or to do community service instead are explained in:

Court fines

Information on how to pay a fine, what happens if you don't pay it one time, how to ask for an extension of time to pay or to do community service instead is available at Magistrates Court Fines.

Legal Aid's Fact Sheets for Victims on Traffic Offences

Character references

A character reference helps to show the court that people in your daily life think highly of you and that you are a person of good character.

It shows the court that you have good qualities, are not likely to offend again if given a second chance and that a more lenient penalty (sentence) may be appropriate.

  • Character and other references (Note: discuss any special reasons why a conviction should not be recorded. This is similar to a "spent conviction order" referred to in this WA article)

Need Advice From A Lawyer?

If you have been served with a summons or have been requested to attend a police station for any reason, it is best you seek advice from a lawyer.

It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible - don't leave it to the last minute.

Smart Guy Needs a Lawyer

Smart Guy Needs a Lawyer is a publication aimed at young people who may need to attend court or see a lawyer. It explains how young people should choose a lawyer and what to expect when they see them.

Appearing In Court

  • When required to attend Court, you should dress appropriately.
  • Men should wear a suit and tie if possible, and ladies, a smart suit or dress. Work uniforms should be avoided, if possible. Shorts, jeans, thongs, slacks and short dresses should be avoided at all costs.
  • Arrive at Court on time. Plan your arrival in advance, allowing extra time for public transport delays, or traffic problems. Aim to arrive at least ten (10) minutes early and inform the Court official in the foyer of the Court of your arrival, especially if you are representing yourself (i.e. you do not have a lawyer).
  • Loud talking or whispering whilst court is in session is unacceptable
  • Turn off your mobile phones and/or pager before entering Court premises
  • You must always show respect to the judicial officer at all times. Judicial officers are addressed as "Your Honour".
  • You should bow slightly upon entering, and leaving a Court when it is in session (see how the lawyers and staff do it).

Jury Duty

Jury Service information answers all the frequently asked questions and gives detailed instructions as to what you must do.

Prisons and Prisoners

Victoria 2 crime police criminal law charged summons jail sentence guilty offence fine victime of crime legal aid prisoner


Often it can be hard to understand why a penalty seems to be too light or too hard when we read or hear about it in the media.

Judge for yourself: A Guide to Sentencing in Australia explains in plain English what goes on in the background in deciding the appropriate sentence.

What factors does the court take into account? How much discretion does the judicial officer have? To what extent is the discretion limited? Why is a particular penalty chosen? Why a non-custodial sentence rather than imprisonment? Why a minimum sentence of three years for a bashing rather than, say, ten years? Is the sentence going to be effective? How will we know?

See also Law Handbook Online - Offences, infringements and penalties.