If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a criminal or traffic offence, the Court will sentence you. This results in the Court imposing penalties, such as a fine, licence disqualification, or a bond. Further, the Magistrate will record a conviction, meaning you have a criminal record.
However, in certain circumstances the Court has discretion to give a section 10 order. This means there is no penalty, no licence disqualification, and no criminal record.
What is a section 10?
A ‘section 10’ comes from Crimes (Sentencing Procedure Act) 1999 (NSW) s 10, which gives the Magistrate or Judge discretion to not record a conviction against an individual, even though they have been found guilty of the charge. This means that even if you are found guilty of an offence, the offence will not go on your criminal record, and there will be no penalty imposed on you.
This may be a full dismissal of charges, or a conditional dismissal of charges dependent on the person entering into a good behaviour bond or entering into an intervention program, such as alcohol rehabilitation.
How likely is it that I will get a section 10?
The Court has discretion to grant a section 10 in any criminal matter. However, you are more likely to receive a section 10 if:
- You are a person of good character
- You do not have a criminal record, or your record is relatively short and only for trivial offences
- The offence was not serious, and relatively trivial
- There were circumstances surrounding your offence that makes it more understandable
- You plead guilty (rather than being found guilty after pleading not guilty)
Section 10 orders are typically reserved for the most minor of offences.
For certain traffic offences, you cannot get more than one section 10 order within a 5-year period.
How can I get a section 10?
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This is not legal advice.