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Plead not guilty
In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You habitually consort with convicted offenders (“habitually consort” requires you to consort with at least 2 convicted offenders), and
- You consort with those convicted offenders after having been given an official warning in relation to each of those convicted offenders (which can be oral or in writing).
It is a defence to consorting if you satisfy the court that the consorting was reasonable and in one of the following circumstances:
a) consorting with family members,
b) consorting that occurs in the course of lawful employment or the lawful operation of a business,
c) consorting that occurs in the course of training or education,
d) consorting that occurs in the course of the provision of a health service,
e) consorting that occurs in the course of the provision of legal advice,
f) consorting that occurs in lawful custody or in the course of complying with a court order.
If none of the above defences are available and the elements of the offence can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.
If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.
The offence of consorting carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment in the District Court.
Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are: