Our video and blog post below explains a good behaviour bond in NSW.
If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offence in NSW, a good behaviour bond is one of the potential penalties you face.
As with any penalty that might be levied against you if you are found guilty of an offence, it is important that you understand what a good behaviour bond is, and what conditions you need to meet in order to avoid further consequences.
What is a good behaviour bond?
A good behaviour bond is where the magistrate orders a person to be of ‘good behaviour’ for a specified amount of time.
A good behaviour bond is generally given in lieu of or even in addition to other penalties, such as a fine.
Breaching the conditions of a good behaviour bond can lead to the magistrate revoking the bond, and imposing a harsher penalty instead.
What are the conditions of a good behaviour bond?
The specific conditions of your good behaviour bond will depend on the individual circumstances, but some examples include:
- Restrictions governing who you associate with, and what places you attend.
- Mandatory drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation or attendance at an approved traffic offender program.
- Undergoing regular supervision by a parole officer or attending court when requested.
How long does a good behaviour bond last?
The maximum length of the bond will depend on the bond type.
Good behaviour bonds can last for up to 2 years. They don’t come with a criminal conviction and a fine cannot accompany both a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order good behaviour bond.
‘Section 9’ good behaviour bonds come with a criminal conviction and can last up to 5 years. A fine can be given in addition to a section 9 good behaviour bond.
‘Section 12’ good behaviour bonds are also called ‘suspended sentences’. They can last up to 2 years.
What happens if I don’t keep the terms of my good behaviour bond?
There are a number of penalties you might face if you breach the terms of your good behaviour bond.
NSW magistrates have the power to revoke the bond, impose further penalties or change the conditions of the bond.
In some cases, you might receive a warning and no further action.
There is also a possibility that your bond will be revoked, and you will be re-sentenced with a more severe penalty.
If you have a ‘section 12 bond’ (suspended sentence) there is a high chance that any breach will lead to a prison sentence.
How can I increase my chances of getting a good behaviour bond?
A good behaviour bond is a highly desirable alternative to a prison sentence.
If you are facing criminal or driving charges, there are a few things you can do to help the magistrate look more favourably on your case, and increase your chances of getting a good behaviour bond.
- Provide character references. It is a good idea to obtain character references from at least three people to prove that you are of good character.
- Explain any extenuating circumstances that might have contributed to the offence. Extenuating circumstances is anything unusual that was occurring at the time of the offence, which might have been a factor in your committing the offence.
- Demonstrate that you have taken necessary steps to address any underlying issues that might have contributed to the offence, for example, undergoing counselling, attending drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or undertaking a traffic offender program.
Generally, magistrates are more likely to give section 10 dismissals, conditional release orders, and section 9 good behaviour bonds for less serious offences, and for first-time offenders.
If you have a clean driving record, in the case of traffic offences, or no previous criminal convictions, your chances of receiving a good behaviour bond are higher than an offender with multiple previous offences.
Hiring a good lawyer can help improve your chances of receiving a good behaviour bond.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we have a proven history of obtaining good behaviour bonds for our clients, and helping them avoid harsher penalties.