If you have been given a good behaviour bond for a recent criminal conviction, it is important that you understand what is expected of you under the terms and conditions.
A good behaviour bond is often given in lieu of a harsher sentence, such as community service or imprisonment.
It should be taken seriously, or you run the risk of having your good behaviour bond revoked and replaced with a more severe penalty.
What is a good behaviour bond?
A good behaviour bond is an order from the magistrate for you to be of good behaviour for a specified amount of time.
The duration of the good behaviour bond can vary from less than a year, to five years.
The length of time depends partly on the type of good behaviour bond, and whether or not it accompanies a conviction.
Good behaviour bonds can be given for section 10 dismissals or conditional release orders, as a substitute for a criminal conviction, or alongside a criminal conviction as a substitute for a more severe penalty.
Section 9 good behaviour bonds can only be given for offences where a sentence of imprisonment is available, and these can last for up to five years.
What are the conditions of a good behaviour bond?
The exact details of a good behaviour bond will vary according to your character and any criminal history you may have, and the type of offence you committed, but there are certain conditions that most good behaviour bonds have in common. These include:
- Agreeing to appear before the court if called upon to do so, which may occur if you breach the bond. Failure to appear could mean having the good behaviour bond revoked.
- Accepting supervision and agreeing to report to the nominated parole board at specified days and times.
- Allowing access by police officers to your home or if applicable, your computer, to ensure you aren’t concealing anything illegal or undertaking illegal activities.
- To reside at a specific nominated address for the duration of the good behaviour bond and/or to inform the court registrar within a reasonable period of time if this address changes.
- To engage in rehabilitation treatment where appropriate, and if the treatment is residential, to remain at the premises until the program is completed or until you are dismissed by staff.
- To avoid specific persons and to refrain from harassing them, molesting them or visiting them at their home or place of work.
The terms of your good behaviour bond should be explained to you at the time of sentencing.
If anything is unclear, or you feel that the terms and conditions are onerous or unreasonable, you should seek legal advice.
It is possible to request that unreasonable terms are altered, and a criminal lawyer can help advise you of the best way to go about having your good behaviour bond amended.
Do you have to agree to a good behaviour bond?
One of the conditions of a good behaviour bond is that you agree to enter into it.
If you don’t agree in court to abide by the terms and conditions of your good behaviour bond, you may be provided with a different sentence instead.
This alternative sentence could be harsher and cause more of a disruption to your lifestyle than a good behaviour bond.
In most cases, agreeing to the good behaviour bond is the best course of action.