A Guide to Sentencing

There are many different things a Judge or Magistrate must consider when handing out a sentence, these include; punishment, rehabilitation, deterance, to protect the community and demonstate that the crimes will not be tolerated. A term of imprisonment is always considered a last resort, but for more serious matters, imprisonment is a likely consequence.
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In deciding the appropriate penalty for your offence the court will consider the submissions made by your lawyer alongside the facts alleged by police. Depending on how serious the charges are; the court has a range of penalties to choose from including but not limited to;

Will a conviction be recorded against my name?

Normally, when you are found guilty of an offence, the Court will record a conviction against your name and impose a penalty as punishment. This means you will have a criminal record which can affect your current and future employment opportunities and future travel plans. However, in certain circumstances our preferred lawyers can often convince the court not to convict you and then there will be no penalty and you will have no criminal record. In all NSW criminal cases, the court has a discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal (in many cases with a good behaviour bond) instead.

If you have been charged by police Call 1800 438 688 to a FREE case assessment; including guidance on the likelihood of a criminal conviction against you name.

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The court will consider your specific financial circumstances including your ability to pay the fine when deciding the penalty to impose.

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Good Behaviour

The court can impose a period of good behaviour which requires you not to committee another offence for a specified period. When the magistrate sentences you to a period of good behaviour they usually impose certain conditions which are required to obey; this is called a bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years but more often it is for a period of between 6 months and 2 years.

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Community Service Order or (CSO)

When the court imposes a community service order they are sentencing you to a period of unpaid work to give something back to the community. Where you undertake this work will be set by probation and parole or it may involve your attendance at a community centre where you will have to undertake a course which relates to your particular offence. Not everyone is suitable for a community service order and your will need to be to be assessed by an officer of the probation before the court will consider this. Your lawyer can make submissions that a community service order is a more appropriate penalty than a custodial sentence.

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Suspended Sentence

A suspended sentence actually custodial (Jail) sentence which is suspended upon the defendant entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided you don’t commit another crime and also comply with the terms of the bond, then your can avoid going to jail.

This penalty is only available where the period of imprisonment is 2 years or less.

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Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)

 When the court imposes an intensive corrections order they consider the benefit of keeping you in the community. Generally the court will require you to comply with a number of specific conditions which may include;

  • attending counselling or treatment;
  • not consuming alcohol;
  • complying with a curfew;
  • not associating with certain people; and,
  • Performing community service.

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 Jail (imprisonment)

This is a sentence of last resort and is the most serious penalty the court can impose since the death penalty was abolished in New South Wales in 1984. Depending on the seriousness of your offending the court can impose a penalty of imprisonment for a period of 1 day to the rest of your life.

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Mandatory life sentences are imposed for the most serious of offences

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Judge For Youself A Guide to Sentencing in Australia

This plain-English guide to sentencing was released by Judicial Conference of Australia. The booklet attempts to provide answers to some of the many questions people have about how sentencing occurs in Australia.