Section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) allows a court to release a person without criminal conviction even if he or she is guilty of a Commonwealth Offence.
In deciding whether to use the section, the court must consider:
- The character, criminal record, age, health or mental condition of the person;
- The extent to which the offence is ‘trivial’ in nature; and
- Any ‘extenuating circumstances’ surrounding the offence.
If the person is eligible, the court can either:
(a) dismiss the charge altogether, or
(b) discharge the person upon condition that he or she enters a ‘recognizance’ (ie a ‘good behaviour bond’) and/or pays ‘reparation or restitution’ (ie money to make up for injury or damage caused).
The most important thing is that there is no criminal conviction.
This means that you can answer ‘no’ if asked by an employer or immigration department whether you have any criminal convictions.