S10 - No 'Get Out of Jail Free' Card
If the Honourable Court makes an order under Section 10 ("S10") of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, it means that it found the offender guilty but will dismiss those charges either conditionally or unconditionally.
Under an S10 the Court can dismiss a charge without recording a conviction, but it is conditional upon an admission of guilt or the Court finding you guilty.
Some people see this as a “get out of jail free card” but life is more complicated than a Monopoly board. The purpose of this part of the legislation should be regarded as giving people a second chance.
The Court's aim is to rehabilitate people and not just throw the book at someone for a relatively trivial offence. An S10 allows a person to state that he or she is a person of good character and they should not be punished severely.
As we know, many employers will not employ a person with a criminal record and many countries will not issue visas to people in that situation.
There are 3 types of S10 orders:
a) Having your charge dismissed outright, without any conditions;
b) Having your charge dismissed subsequent to entering into a good behaviour bond no longer than two years. However if you commit another offence you can be brought before the Court and punished for the original charge relating to the bond and any subsequent charge;
c) Having your charges dismissed on the condition that you enter into an intervention program.
Before making an order under S10, a Magistrate considers factors like (a) the person’s character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition; (b) the trivial nature of the offence; (c) the extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed; and (d) any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.
Essentially any order under S10 is made on a case by case basis.
One last thing, if the Court does not make an order under S10 it is not the end of the world. Depending on your case, you may very well get the opportunity to have another roll of the dice, cruise past "Go" and land on a second "Chance".
Need help with an upcoming court appearance or have a question about an S10? You can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, ask us a question via email or even chatting with you online.