Many people will have heard of the term ‘section 10’. It is often referred to in the context of relatively minor offences such as traffic infringements, drug offences and common assault. However, in actuality, the Court has a discretion to award a ‘section 10’ for any criminal or driving offence.
By Alex Silcock, Law Quarter.
What does ‘section 10’ mean?
A ‘section 10’ generally refers to that provision of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. This section applies when there has been a finding of guilty. It gives the Court a discretion to discharge the offender with no conviction, meaning that there will be no criminal record, or other penalty like loss of licence.
There are different types of ‘section 10’ orders that may be granted. The best-case scenario for a guilty party would be an unconditional dismissal under s 10(1)(a). In this situation, no criminal conviction is recorded whatsoever. Other section 10 orders may be conditional on a good behaviour bond, or the completion of an offenders program. It is important to remember that a ‘section 10’ with a good behaviour bond attached, will still result in a finding of guilty being present on a person’s record until the bond is extinguished.
When will a court grant a ‘section 10’?
Section 10 grants the Court a discretionary power, allowing it to exercise its own authority or judgment in determining whether to grant such an order. However, there are certain factors which the Court must consider when making a decision.
These include: age of the offender, prior record, mental health issues, the seriousness of the offence, extenuating circumstances and anything else that might be considered relevant.
It is a common misconception that anyone who is convicted of their first offence will be successful in a section 10 application. However, courts do not grant section 10’s lightly and will need to be convinced that the factors mentioned above warrant such an order being made.
If you would like affordable and honest advice on your prospects of receiving a ‘section 10’, please contact us at Law Quarter.