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Butlers News

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DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE – NAVIGATING THE AGE OF CONSENT

Dating in the digital age is already fraught with difficulties. It can often mean that without a guarantee as to the accuracy of a person’s age, a casual fling could unknowingly turn illegal. Although most dating applications require the person signing up to agree that they are at least 18 years of age, unfortunately, this declaration may not be legally binding as proof of the person’s age and whether they are old enough to consent.

The age of consent (in most circumstances) in Western Australia is 16 years of age. The age of consent increases to 18 years of age in cases where one party is in a position of authority. Such circumstances could include teacher/student or employer/employee scenarios, where the other party is under 18 years of age. Having a sexual relationship with someone younger than the legal age of consent is illegal and can be prosecuted in the District Court of Western Australia.

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Is your child facing charges? Here's what you need to know...

As parents, we spend our lives caring for our children. We try our best to teach them right from wrong, as they navigate their adolescent years and enter adulthood. Whilst we do whatever we can to support our kids, sometimes they just think that they know best and want to make their own choices. This often results with them acting impulsively, making poor choices and acting without thinking of the long-term consequences. When this happens, we quickly realise that our job as parents is never really over.

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What to do if I've been charged... Know your options

We have often found that when speaking to those who have been charged with a criminal offence, or assisting someone else who has, they almost always feel the same way: overwhelmed and anxious. Whether it be the thought of imprisonment, the impact of job security, the worry of friends and family finding out about the allegations, or simply the added stress of dealing with the justice system at what may already be a difficult time, most people are terrified at the thought of being charged with an Offence. At a time when clients often feel vulnerable and confused about what to do next, getting advice about the process and what options are available is crucial to providing certainty moving forward.

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Charges Dropped - Does it happen?

Yes. Not always, easily or immediately, but yes.

Client’s will often ask whether their charges can be ‘dropped’ and if so, when and how.  In answering these questions, it is helpful to have an understanding of what it means to have charges dropped. Charges are ‘dropped’ when the prosecution make an application to the Court to have the charges discontinued. This will happen before the charges are formally determined at a trial by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury.

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Pleading Guilty - What to expect?

When speaking to a client for the first time about their charges, there are often a few questions nearly all clients ask. The most common one is usually ‘what am I looking at?’ Even for clients who intend to plead not guilty to their charges, most clients want to know what the outcome is likely to be if they are found guilty.

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