Crystal Caruana, Criminal Lawyer
Crystal Caruana is a Ballarat local who came to Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers following her tenure with a boutique generalist firm in Ballarat, where she ran the criminal division. Crystal holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice.
As a passionate advocate, Crystal’s passion for criminal law has been shaped by her volunteer work with community legal services. She is committed to her belief that the delivery of the justice system should be fair, just and accessible to all people. She particularly enjoys representing the community’s most vulnerable members and is recognised for her diligent, supportive and professional approach.
Over her career, Crystal has defended many complex and local Court hearings for various matters, including burglary, criminal damage, possession of trafficable quantities of drugs and firearms, serious theft, assault, infringements, more serious driving offences and child abuse material offences.
Crystal regularly appears in the Ballarat, Geelong, Werribee, and Bacchus Marsh Magistrates’ Courts, handling mentions, contest mentions, guilty pleas, bail applications, and IVOs.
Crystal's recent case outcomes:
1. Over 30 serious charges - client released from custody on drug and alcohol treatment order
Crystal represented a client facing over 30 charges listed in both the Cobram and Ballarat Magistrates’ Court and adjourned to the Ballarat Drug Court.
Charges included theft, possession of cannabis and methylamphetamine, burglary, criminal damage and committing an indictable offence whilst on bail. The client entered a plea of guilty and, following extensive summary case conferencing, was deemed suitable for a drug and alcohol treatment order (DATO) and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment served within the community.
Following our client’s release, the offending continued with a further 7 charges for theft and a driving offence and our client was again remanded in custody.
The matter returned to the Ballarat Drug Court to proceed as a guilty plea to resolve the charges. Following extensive submissions to the Court, Crystal secured her client’s release after 19 days in custody, and her client was permitted to continue the DATO.
2. Charges for serious drug offences and theft - $800 fine with conviction
Crystal represented a client with a criminal history charged with possessing a traffickable quantity of firearms, trafficking cannabis, cultivating cannabis, possessing cannabis and theft of electricity. Following extensive negotiations with the prosecution, the trafficking and possession charges were withdrawn.
At the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court, with a guilty plea to the remaining charges, and following Crystal’s submissions, the Court imposed an $800 fine for the totality of offending with conviction.
3. Infringements totalling over $80,000 discharged
Crystal represented a client arrested and bailed by the sheriff for many outstanding infringements over an extended period.
Crystal took careful instructions from our client, particularly concerning the circumstances that led to the non-payment of such a large volume of infringements.
At the Ballarat Magistrates Court, Crystal made extensive submissions seeking to avoid gaol time, to discharge part of the fine and for the client to repay the balance in instalments.
Convinced that the client’s extenuating circumstances presented by Crystal warranted a lenient outcome, the Court discharged the sum in full without further penalty.
4. Causing injury and assault charges withdrawn
Crystal represented a client charged with recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault and affray. CCTV footage of the incident showed that the complainant received extensive facial and dental injuries. The matter was listed at the Werribee Magistrates’ Court.
Following extensive analysis and review of the evidence, Crystal advocated for self-defence to the charges at summary case conference with the prosecution. As a result, the prosecution decided to withdraw all charges against the client.
5. Access and distribute child abuse material
Our client was charged with accessing and distribution of child abuse material. Following a review of evidence and summary case conferences, the prosecution agreed to withdraw the distribution charge.
The matter proceeded as a guilty plea in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court. Following lengthy submissions with extensive supporting material and evidence, the Court agreed to impose a 3-year Community Corrections Order. Given that the client had recent priors for this kind of offending, for which they had received a term of imprisonment, this was an exceptional outcome.