Our video and blog post below discusses how to get a section 10 dismissal.
If you are guilty of a criminal offence you face a number of potential penalties, including having a lifelong criminal record, and in the case of traffic offences, being disqualified from driving.
A criminal conviction can significantly impact your future employment prospects in certain professions, and it can limit your travel and ability to obtain visas in the future.
In some cases, it might be possible to avoid this scenario by asking the magistrate for a ‘section 10 dismissal’, commonly known as a ‘section 10’.
What is a section 10?
Under a section 10, a magistrate will find you guilty of an offence, but you won’t be penalised.
Gaining a section 10 dismissal means you avoid having a criminal conviction recorded against you, and you won’t face imprisonment, be fined or lose your licence, where applicable.
Do conditions apply?
In some cases, you can be given a section 10 on a conditional basis.
This is called a ‘section 10 bond’.
Section 10 bonds can last up to 2 years, and the typical conditions are that:
(1) You must be of good behaviour, which means you must not commit any further criminal offences
(2) You must come to court if asked to do so. But you would normally only be asked to come back to court if you commit a further criminal offence, and
(3) You must notify the court office of any change of address.
If you reoffend while the bond is in force, you will normally be called back to court and resentenced for your original offence; in other words, for the offence for which you got a section 10.
Also, the fact you were on a bond can make the later offence look more serious, and you can get a harsher penalty than if you were not on a bond when you committed it.
The bottom line is: never offend while on a section 10 bond!
How can I get a section 10?
Your criminal lawyer will advise you as to whether a section 10 is appropriate for your situation, and will apply to the magistrate on your behalf.
It is up to your lawyer to convince the magistrate to give you a section 10, and this is generally done by providing evidence of your character, and demonstrating the impact that a criminal conviction and/or driving disqualification would have on your employment and lifestyle.
Is there anything that can increase my chances of a section 10?
There are a number of things you can do to help improve your chances of successfully obtaining a section 10 dismissal, including:
- Providing character references from at least three people who know you personally, and can provide examples of your good character. Your lawyer will advise you how to obtain these, and what information needs to be included.
- Letting the magistrate know of any extenuating circumstances that were in place at the time of the offence. This can include difficult life circumstances, personal problems, or anything else out of the ordinary that might have contributed to you committing the offence.
- Addressing any underlying issues that might have played a part. Demonstrating that you are taking steps to address any drug or alcohol issues, or seeking counselling for any personal issues that might have been a factor in the offence, shows the magistrate you understand the seriousness of the charges, and are taking steps to ensure you don’t offend again.
The nature of the offence is a significant factor that will be taken into consideration when you apply for a section 10.
Although it is possible to get a section 10 dismissal for a serious offence, the more trivial the offence, the more likely it is that the magistrate will award a section 10.
Here is some more information about Section 10 dismissals, and how Sydney Criminal Lawyers can help you successfully apply for and obtain a section 10 for your criminal or traffic charge.