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    Section 10 Dismissal – No Conviction

    A complete guide on how to apply for a Section 10 dismissal

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      Section 10 Dismissal

      Our specialist criminal defence lawyers have years of experience in helping our clients receive Section 10 dismissals.

      We have achieved section 10 dismissals for offences such as:

      • Drug supply;
      • Serious assaults;
      • Possess child pornography;
      • Indecent assaults;
      • Fraud (where the money amounted to thousands of dollars);
      • Serious driving offences.

      Contact us now to speak to our accredited specialist criminal lawyer who can quickly assess your case and begin preparing to have your charge dismissed and no criminal conviction recorded.


      What is a Section 10?

      A Section 10 is where the court finds the offence proven but dismisses the matter pursuant to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW).

      If the Court deals with your matter by way of section 10, it means that you avoid a criminal conviction and there will be no further penalty.

      The Court can consider Section 10 for a variety of Criminal Offences. The court will often consider section 10 for offences dealt with in the Local Court specifically relating to drink driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving whilst suspended, possession of a prohibited drug and minor assault matters.

      You can also receive a Conditional release order (CRO) without conviction. This is where no conviction is recorded, however you are placed on a good behaviour bond for a period of time.


      Can I get a Section 10 for a traffic infringement?

      Yes, you can. Obtaining a Section 10 dismissal for a traffic infringement will mean that you will not pay any fine.

      More significantly, you will also not concede any demerit points. We have achieved this many time to help our clients keep their driver’s licences.

      Types of Section 10 Orders

      There are three types of Section 10 orders that the court can use.

      Section 10(1)(a) Dismissal

      A section 10(1)(a) dismissal is where the Court finds you guilty but dismisses the matter without imposing any conditions on you.

      Section 10(1)(b)

      A section 10(1)(b) order is when the court finds you guilty and sentences you to a good behaviour bond but does not record a criminal conviction against you.

      The good behaviour bond can come with a number of additional conditions, including:

      1. Advise the Court if you change your residential address;
      2. Appear before the Court if called upon;
      3. Be of good behaviour;
      4. Not commit any moving traffic offences.

      The court can make the good behaviour bond for up to 2 years. If you comply with the bond, then the matter will be dismissed at the end of the bond period with no conviction on your record.

      If you breach the conditions of the bond you can be brought back to court and the bond ‘called up’. If this occurs the court can either:

      • Revoke the bond and re-sentence you; or
      • Take no action on the bond.

      If the court chooses to revoke the bond, there is usually a strong likelihood that you will receive a criminal conviction.

      Section 10(1)(c)

      A section 10 (1)(c) order is also a good behaviour bond. However, the court has the power to impose additional conditions including:

      • Compliance with an intervention plan;
      • participation in an intervention program.

      This provision is usually only applied if you have any mental health or substance use issues that are being addressed through a program. It is rarely used by the court.

      This means the offence is dismissed without recording a conviction on the condition that you complete an intervention or rehabilitation program. Examples include the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program or Alcohol rehabilitation program.


      How to Get a Section 10 Dismissal?

      You can get a section 10 dismissal by arguing that the circumstances of your case satisfy the criteria in Section 10 (3) of the Crimes (Sentencing & Procedure) Act 1999:

      1. The person’s age, character, health, and mental condition;
      2. The trivial nature of the offence;
      3. The extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed;
      4. Any other matter the Court thinks proper to consider.

      The court rarely grants section 10s. It will require meticulous preparation of your case and persuasive arguments before the Magistrate or Judge.

      The specific documents you need to prepare will be based on your particular circumstances. You should consult an experienced criminal lawyer who can set out exactly what needs to be prepare to achieve a section 10. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow. The following material will generally be of assistance:

      • Character references: letters from people who know you and your personal circumstances before, during and after the offence will be of assistance. These can address any rehabilitation you have undergone and the impact a conviction or loss of a driver licence for a traffic matter will have on you.
      • Apology letter: a letter from yourself apologising for your offending and setting out any context to the crime will be looked upon favourably by the Court. You can also address the impact of a conviction. This may include the loss of your job, your licence or being unable to travel overseas.
      • Psychiatrist or Psychologist report: if you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition it will have a bearing on the ultimate sentence imposed. Your lawyer will be required to prepare a detailed instructing letter to the psychologist or psychiatrist. If your offending is connected to the offence, the court can reduce your ‘moral culpability’ and the need for general deterrence.
      • Counselling or treatment: If you have undergone treatment for a drug or alcohol issue since the offence, it would be beneficial to obtain some evidence of this. A report or letter from the program you have participated in can be tendered in court.


      Section 10 Cases

      First-time offenders
      In R v Nguyen [2002] NSWCCA 183, the court found that it can be appropriate to dismiss charges against first-time offenders. This is so that they can preserve their reputation and their good character.

      Trivial offences
      In R v Paris [2001] NSWCCA 83, the Court of Criminal Appeal found that the trivial nature of an offence is to be determined with regard to the actual offence and the circumstances of that offence. This is because all criminal offences are regarded as ‘serious’.

      Drug offences

      In R v Mauger [2012] NSWCCA 51, the court held that the legal and social consequences for recording a conviction can outweigh the requirements of punishment, denunciation and deterrence. This was in the context of an application for a section 10 for drug possession and supply.


      Does a Section 10 Appear on a Police Check?

      Yes, a section 10 can appear on a police check if you receive a good behaviour bond. It will appear for the length of the bond.

      Once the bond expires, it will no longer appear on your record. This is because it is now a ‘spent conviction’.

      Under the Section 12 of the Criminal Records Act 1991, you do not have to disclose a ‘spent conviction’. Therefore, if you have received a section 10 dismissal or bond (which has expired), you do not have to reveal it to an employer.

      If you receive a section 10 dismissal with no bond, the section 10 will not appear on a criminal record check.


      Benefits of Section 10

      The main benefit of a Section 10 is that you do not receive a criminal record, or accumulate demerit points or face any other penalty.

      You also do not have to disclose the offence in most situations. The only exceptions to this are if you are applying for a position such as a judge, justice of the peace, magistrate, prison officer, police officer or teacher. It also does not apply if you are giving evidence in Court.

      Generally, if a potential employer asks for a police check, a Section 10 order should not appear on the document. Therefore, if you receive a no conviction Section 10 order, you do not have to disclose it in the same was as if you were found guilty of a criminal offence.


      The Effects of Being Convicted of a Criminal Offence

      The main effects of being convicted of a criminal offence are loss of employment, driver licence disqualification and inability to travel.

      • Loss of Employment: Employers often require prospective employees to have and maintain a clean criminal record. If you receive a conviction you may be terminated from your current job and future employers may be unwilling to take you on. If you are convicted, you may be required to disclose this to your employer.
      • Licence Disqualification: Generally, a conviction for a traffic offence will result in a licence disqualification. This can lead to you losing your licence which may lead to a loss of income or your job.
      • Travel: If you are convicted of certain criminal offences, you can find it difficult to travel to certain countries. Many nations deny entry to persons with criminal records.

      Of course, instructing a specialist criminal defence lawyer to represent you will significantly increase your chances of avoiding a conviction.

      Our lawyers are well-regarded by prosecutors, Magistrates and Judges. This is reflected in our exceptional track record of obtaining non-convictions.

      You can read some recent Section 10 cases by clicking here.

      Contact us now to book a consultation.

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