Criminal Law

At O’Brien Winter Partners, our Criminal Law Solicitors pride themselves on their excellent advocacy skills in the courtroom and we are committed to protecting your rights.

Our Solicitors travel to courthouses all over the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions including, but not limited to: Newcastle, Broadmeadow, Toronto, Belmont, Singleton, Cessnock, Maitland, East Maitland, Raymond Terrace, Kurri Kurri, Parramatta, Scone, Muswellbrook, Coffs Harbour, Taree, Gosford and Wyong. We have extensive experience in the Local and District Courts as well as the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

We know the courts, we know the Judges and Magistrates and we know what is needed to get the best possible result for you and minimise costs wherever possible.

While our Solicitors have a high level of skill in the courtroom we also have an excellent relationship with many local and Sydney Barristers. For complex matters, or at your request, we are happy to brief your preferred Barrister.

We regularly appear for all types of criminal matters ranging from assaults and AVOs to murder and manslaughter charges to drug charges and appeals. Our Solicitors can also provide assistance in many other areas including: Firearm or dangerous weapon offences, perjury, robbery, possession of stolen goods, sexual offences, property damage offences, theft, fraud, social security offences, children’s court matters and bail applications.

You can be confident that your matter will be carefully prepared before you attend court and our lawyers will ensure you will be presented in the best possible light for any court appearance. We will inform you of every step of the process along the way and answer any legal questions that you may have.

Contact Us

For more information regarding a criminal matter, please call our office on 02 4949 2000 or email to schedule an initial conference with one of our criminal law experts. Please note our conferences are $220 per half hour, payable on the day. Any other costs will be discussed by your solicitor in your conference as these may vary depending on the best course of action after obtaining your full instructions.


What can I expect from court?

When you are charged with an offence you will be given a court date by the Police. You will need to be present at court on this date. Usually the first court date is a short appearance which is either a plea or mention.

The charges, the circumstances of the allegations, the advice from your legal representative and your instructions will dictate the direction your court case will take. You can either accept the charges and be sentenced in court or you can defend the charges and your matter will be set down for a hearing.

Am I eligible for Legal Aid?

There is a means test that you are required to meet based on your income and assets. The seriousness of your charges as well as a number of other factors in accordance with Legal Aid Policy Guidelines will be taken into consideration. If you believe that you may be eligible for Legal Aid assistance, please fill out the Legal Aid Application Form and return to our office along with your Bank and Centrelink Statements, and our office will attend to on your behalf. For more information, please visit How to Apply on the Legal Aid Website. 

What are my options for bail?

Bail can be granted a few different ways. Firstly, the Police may grant bail when you are charged. If the Police feel that you should be bail refused, or if there are serious charges applied, they must bring you before a court to have bail determined by the Local Court. You are entitled to have a legal representative with you at any bail application to present your best possible case.

If granted bail, you will be required to sign an undertaking stating that you will attend court and to advise of any change of address. Other bails conditions that may apply can range from residing at a certain address, not contacting a certain person/s, cash surety, etc.

There is also the option of a Supreme Court bail application.

What are my chances of getting bail?

This will depend on the seriousness of your charges and your previous criminal history, if any. If you have any concerns about this you should seek legal representation at a bail application.

What is the difference between a summary offence and an indictable offence?

Summary offences are heard through the Local Court by a Magistrate. The maximum penalty that can be given for a summary offence is two years imprisonment. If the charge is of a more serious nature than it will state that it is indictable. This offence will be heard in the District or Supreme Court and if defending the charges, you have the right for it to be heard before a Judge and Jury.

What are other options besides imprisonment?

A court can sentence you to a term of imprisonment if all other options are deemed unsuitable. Other options besides imprisonment are:

Suspended Sentence: This is a term of imprisonment that is suspended provided that you are of good behaviour for the period of the term. If the suspended sentence is breached, the term of imprisonment may be required to be completed. This is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years.

Intensive Corrective Order: This replaced the periodic detention in October 2010. Again this is a term of imprisonment that is applied provided that you comply with certain conditions such as being of good behaviour, attend counselling, not consuming prohibited drugs, submit to any testing when asked, undertake community service, adhere to a curfew etc.

Home Detention: You would be required to wear an electronic monitoring device for this form of sentence. There are other conditions which may be imposed such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol, leaving the residence except to take part in activities such as employment, submitting to drug and alcohol testing etc. The offences for which you are charged with and your past criminal history will need to fit certain criteria to be eligible for receiving this sentence.

Will my criminal history matter?

When being sentenced your criminal history will be taken into consideration.

Contact Us


  • Hi Ana,

    I just wanted to thank you again.  I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your efforts.  It has been a huge relief to get this sorted and out of the way with such a fantastic result for us.  Thank you again.


  • Dear Chris, Ana, and Imogen,
    This email comes with heartfelt Gratitude.
    We are overwhelmed by the support both professional and at times personal,  you gave us.
    Chris, thank you for acting as promptly as you did and recommending, amazing Ana, to formulate such a momentous presentation as a voice for our Son. We are in awe of you both.
    Imogen, your professional assistance over the phone throughout today for X, my husband and X, the X Court Registrar, was so helpful, especially with your patience and your gentle telephone manner. The day was arduous, but eventually, successful.

    Thank you so much and we would highly recommend O’Brien Winters Partners to others should they need your services.


  • “I was represented by Ana Qvist of O’Brien Winter Partners in a traffic matter before Newcastle District Court in May of 2019.
    I can not recommend Ana highly enough. She was more than accommodating when explaining the entire process & providing both myself & my family with a better understanding of what to expect during what would become two court dates. All whilst remaining very conscious & compassionate of my situation. I can not thank Ava enough for what can only be described as a remarkable outcome in my case but more so her guidance leading up to and especially on the day of the court appearance itself.
    Thanks again Ana.”


  • “Dear Chris,


    Many thanks for your recent representation. Clearly the result was a good one, and I’m very appreciative of your efforts on my behalf.


    I was impressed by your professionalism and understanding throughout and felt I was in good hands.  Looking forward to putting this incident behind me and moving on.  


    Hopefully, I’ll not require your services in the future, but, will surely recommend your firm to anyone I know who does.”


  • “Good afternoon Chris and Drew

    I would like to say a big thank you to both of you for your help with my recent court case.

    Your support and knowledge is very much appreciated and you both made a scary situation less stressful!!

    As you both know, I require my licence for daily life and would really struggle without it, so thank you both for your assistance in helping me get the result I needed and keep it.

    I can now put this experience behind me and move on with life.

    I wish you all well and once again, thank you!!”


  • “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire OWP team for the outstanding professional representation, support and advice provided to me during the course of my legal matter.  I was kept informed every step of the way with the entire process.

    On behalf of myself and my family, I want to especially thank Chris O’Brien for his outstanding efforts and support, leading to a successful outcome, for which we are all eternally grateful.  To Mr Hussey, Mr Kavanagh, Veronica and Kaylah I also thank you very much for your assistance.”


  • “Hi Kaylah, Veronica and Chris

    Many thanks for getting a positive outcome.

    I really do wish to thank you all for the responsive, caring and professional support you have provided over the past 9 months.”


  • “Thank you to all that had a hand in my matter, this has been hanging over my head for a number of years and I’m over the moon with the outcome of Total Revoke.

    A big thanks to Kristy and her team for their professional and prompt response and action in regards to my matter.

    Thank you to all

    You have no idea how much this decision has made me feel.”


  • “Dear Kristy, I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate the wonderful job you did in representing my son in court today. The outcome was better than I dared dream and he now has a good chance for a good future thanks to your efforts. Thank you from the both of us from the bottom of our hearts”.

  • “Hi Chris. Thank you for Brad. I find the whole court experience extremely stressful and he made it very easy, well, as easy as it can be. He was kind and easy to speak with and explained all in nice simple terms for me. Hopefully this is the end of my court appearances but, if not, I know where to get help. Thanks again.”


  • “Chris, for your knowledgeable advice and the impressive Kristy for being our gun speaker. Well Done. Thank you both.”

  • “Mr Gabb defended me on a criminal matter over several months in 2014.  The advice provided was sound, professional and ‘to the point’. In his judgement, the Magistrate made it clear that the positive outcome came as a result of the rational arguments provided by Mr Gabb.”



  • “I was very happy with the level of services from your office. I am also grateful for the excellent advice and representation”


  • “Hi David, Chris  and staff.
    Thank you so much for your HELP with this matter. I can not thank you all enough at this stage in my life.
    You all should be so proud of your work there and the manner in how you go well beyond the contract”