Under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), the courts have the discretion to discharge a person guilty of a crime without recording a conviction. A Section 10, as its commonly known, gives the courts the ability to prevent a guilty person from being punished if it is deemed inappropriate due to extenuating circumstances. A section 10 dismissal means that a person doesn’t receive a criminal record and can also mean no loss of licence for traffic offences.
Section 10 considerations
When an application for a section 10 dismissal is made, the courts should consider the following:
- The individuals age, character, physical and mental health, social background and record;
- The nature of the offence, particularly that its trivial;
- Any extenuating circumstances to the offence;
- Any other information the court considers is pertinent.
All of these points should be addressed by the defendant applying to the court for a section 10 so they can be use them when considering if a section 10 should be granted.
Orders issued under Section 10
- There are three orders that can be issued under section 10:
An order that directs that the relevant charge is dismissed under section 10(1)(a).
- An order discharging the individual subject to them entering a good behaviour bond, not exceeding a maximum time period of 2 years under section 10(1)(b).
- An order discharging the individual subject to them agreeing to participate in an intervention plan out of an intervention program under section 10(1)(c).
Section 10 dismissal and traffic offences
The key benefit of a section 10 dismissal with regards to a traffic offence or a prescribed concentration of alcohol offence is that it provides an exemption from mandatory drivers licence disqualification periods which can only be applied following conviction.
That said, a traffic offence that carries an automatic loss of demerit points and the loss results in the loss of licence, this will occur regardless of the court’s decision to dismiss the offence under section 10.
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