If you are guilty of a traffic or criminal offence and the court does not impose a ‘Section 10’ you will be given a penalty (such as a fine) and have a conviction recorded.
A criminal record can harm your future job prospects and can stop you from travelling overseas.
A driving offence conviction can mean you lose your licence.
If a good defence lawyer can convince the court to give you a Section 10 you would suffer no penalty, no loss of licence, and have no criminal record.
A Section 10 refers to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act (NSW) and there are three types of orders a court can grant in this regard:
1(a) – dismissal – where charge is dismissed with no offence, without any conditions, and the matter is completely over as soon as you walk out of the Court room.
1(b) – conditional dismissal with a good behaviour bond – the charge is dismissed, but at the same time you are put on a good behaviour bond for up to 2 years.
The bond can have any conditions which might include:
- Good behaviour (that is, that you do not commit any further offences)
- You advise the Court of any change of address
- You appear before the Court if called upon to do so
10(c) – with Conditional dismissal with a rehabilitation course, such as a traffic offenders program, and order for you to comply with any action plan that results from that program.
Courts need a lot of convincing before granting a Section 10. The law says that in deciding whether to give a person a section 10, the Court must consider the following issues:
- Age, character, record, health and mental condition
- How trivial the nature of an offence might be
- Any extenuating circumstances
- Anything else the Court thinks is relevant.
If you are charged with any criminal or traffic offence you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to help you to obtain.