If you have ever had a run in with the law or even simply received a traffic offence notice, you’ve probably heard friends and family throw around the infamous term ‘Section 10’.
WHAT IS A SECTION 10 DISMISSAL?
A section 10 is where the court dismisses the matter without recording a conviction under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 despite the person pleading guilty or being found guilty.
A section 10 is most often considered in the Local Court, for various criminal offences which include traffic offences, drink driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving whilst suspended, possession of a prohibited drug and minor assault matters.
There are 3 types of Section 10 orders that the court can impose. They are as follows:
SECTION 10(1)(a) DISMISSAL
A section 10(1)(a) is where the Court dismisses the charge of the offender without any conditions imposed upon the offender such as a criminal conviction, good behaviour bond, fine or, in the case of a traffic offence, no licence disqualification.
A section 10(1)(b) on the other hand is when the Court dismisses the charge of the offender with conditions. This is referred to as a ‘Conditional Release Order (CRO)’. In this situation, conditions that the Court will impose include a good behaviour bond for a certain period, and sometimes more specific conditions, such as a place restriction order, orders requiring the offender to refrain from the consumption of illicit drugs, and so on.
The court will establish a ‘bond period’ which is the period of time the bond will be enforced. The bond period can be enforced for up to 2 years.
If any of the conditions imposed by the Court are breached during the bond period, the offender can be called back to Court and be re-sentenced for the offence giving rise to the bond (which may include a conviction), in addition to the new offence..
This type of Section 10 is most commonly imposed by the Local Court.
A section 10 (1)(c) works similarly to the way a section 10(1)(b), however the conditions imposed are different.
The court will dismiss a charge of an offender without recording a conviction but will instruct the offender to attend and complete an intervention or rehabilitation program. Offenders must agree to participate and comply in the intervention plan in order to satisfy the conditions of the Section 10.
This includes some programs that you have probably heard of before which are: the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program or Alcohol rehabilitation program.
WHEN CAN A SECTION 10 DISMISSAL BE GRANTED?
If a court decides that your matter can be dismissed through Section 10, it means they believe that you deserve some leniency. However, as you can imagine, receiving a Section 10 is not easy, and you will need to provide evidence to support your argument for leniency. This could include testimony from yourself, character references, a psychologist’s report and other supporting evidence.
The court considers the legislation when deciding whether your matter can be dealt with a section 10. There are factors outlined in Section 10 (3) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 that the Court will consider which include:
- The person’s age, character, health, and mental condition,
- The trivial nature of the offence,
- The extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed,
- Any other matter the Court thinks proper to consider.
To have your sentence reconsidered, you must provide the Court with evidence of your personal circumstances at the time of or before the crime was committed and your personal circumstances at the time of sentence. This may include that you were not receiving treatment for cognitive behavioural issue and have since sought assistance and are attending regular meetings with your treating medical team or psychologist
You should also provide the Court with evidence of the damaging effects that a conviction could have on both you and those close to you. For example, if a conviction will cause you to lose your job or losing your licence meant you could meet work and other obligations, and this would impact your employer and / or your family. This kind of evidence is essential as a part of a strong case.
Why you should argue for a Section 10:
Having your matter dismissed by the court under a Section 10 means that you will not have a criminal conviction or criminal record, you will not receive any demerit points or automatic license disqualification if it is a traffic offence, you will not receive a fine or certain other penalties hat are available to the Court on a conviction.
In accordance with the Criminal Records Act 1991, there are circumstances where you may not have to disclose a Section 10 dismissal, which also provides an extent of privacy. This could be instrumental for you, your reputation, your future and your livelihood. Having a criminal record could negatively impact any professional or employment opportunities, effect your ability to hold a driver’s licence and effect your travel rights.
With that in mind, you must disclose the matter in special circumstances which include: applying for position of a judge, justice of the peace, magistrate, prison officer, police officer or a teacher.
Does a Section 10 appear on a Police Check?
A Section 10 without a bond or intervention order will not appear on your criminal record.
However, a Section 10 with a bond or intervention order will appear on your criminal record for the bond or intervention/rehabilitation period. The matter will no longer appear on your criminal record after the bond or intervention/rehabilitation period.
Having said that, there are some circumstances where that record will always appear, such as when coming before the Court for another offence, or when undertaking a national police check with the AFP, for example for immigration purposes.
At Green & Associates, we are experts in applying for no convictions and have an excellent success rate in achieving this for our clients. Regardless of the charge, we are ready to be in your corner and assist you during this uncertain time. If you or someone you know needs assistance in applying for a Section 10, contact our office or book an appointment today.