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Non-Conviction Orders

There are three ways for a person who has pleaded guilty to, or been found guilty of, a criminal or major traffic offence in New South Wales to avoid a criminal conviction (criminal record), a fine and, in the case of traffic offences, a driver licence disqualification.

These are all contained in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 under:

  1. Section 10(1)(a), which is a dismissal of the charge
  2. Section 10(1)(c), which is a good behaviour bond for up to two years, which comes with an ‘intervention plan’, and
  3. Section 9(1)(b), which is a ‘conditional release order’ in the form of a good behaviour bond for up to two years.

If you are going to court and wish to avoid a criminal record for a criminal or traffic offence, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers anytime on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your prospects, guide you through the process and fight to protect your reputation and your future.

Section 10 Dismissals and Bonds

What is a section 10?

Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) allows a court to deal with persons who plead guilty to, or are found guilty of, a criminal or major traffic offence by either:

  • dismissing their cases altogether under section 10(1)(a), or
  • ordering that they participate in an intervention program and comply with a plan arising from that program under section 10(1)(c).

An order under section 10(1)(c) takes the form of a good behaviour bond for a period of up to two years.

Who is eligible for a section 10?

Section 10s are available for all criminal charges and major traffic offences (eg drink driving, drug driving, driving whilst disqualified etc) except major traffic offences where the driver had another such offence within the previous five years.

What does the court consider when deciding whether to grant a section 10?

When determining whether to grant a section 10, the court is to have regard to the following matters:

(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,

(d) any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.

An offence does not to be ‘trivial’ to get a section 10

Although the court must consider whether an offence is ‘trivial’ before deciding whether to grant a section 10, the case-law has made it clear that an offence does not need to be trivial for a person to be eligible.

For example, in the case of R v Paris [2001], the defendant’s wife tormented and assaulted him before he ‘lost the plot’, grabbed a knife and committed offences against police.

The court in that case made clear that the fact the offence was serious did not necessarily mean the defendant was ineligible for a section 10.

Similarly, the defendant in the case of R v Piccin (No 2) [2001] had a terrible life whereby she lost her husband, was then ‘duped’ by a con-artist out of her home and two business and was then ‘dumped’ by her new partner; who was the man she severely assaulted.

Again, the seriousness of her offence did not preclude the availability of section 10.

What can I do to maximise my chances of getting a section 10?

Your chances of getting a section 10 will increase if you are able to gather material which shows that:

  • you are a person of good character, which can be done by preparing up to 3 character references to the court,
  • you have taken steps towards addressing any underlying issues, which can be done through attending counselling sessions or completing a relevant course, such anger management for violent offences, or the MERIT or Smart Recovery program for drug and alcohol related offences, or a Traffic Offender Program for driving offences, and/or
  • you understand the seriousness of the offence, have accepted responsibility and have shown remorse, through entering a plea of guilty and preparing a letter of apology to the court.

If you are going to court and would like to arrange a free conference to discuss your options and the best way forward, call us today on (02) 9261 8881.

Conditional Release Orders Without Convictions

What is a conditional release order without a conviction?

A conditional release order without a conviction is a good behaviour bond for a period of up to two years, which does not carry a criminal conviction (criminal record).

Who is eligible for a conditional release order without a conviction?

Conditional release orders without convictions are available for all criminal charges and major traffic offences (eg drink driving, drug driving, driving whilst disqualified etc) except major traffic offences where the driver had another such offence within the previous five years.

These orders are made under section 9(1)(b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

What does the court consider when deciding whether to grant a conditional release order without a conviction?

When determining whether to grant a section 10, the court is to have regard to the following matters:

(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,

(d) any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.

An offence does not need to be ‘trivial’ to get a conditional release order without a conviction

No necessarily.

Despite the fact that one of the factors the court is required to consider when determining whether to grant a conditional release order without a conviction is whether the offence is ‘trivial’, there is no requirement that the offence must be trivial for such an order to be made.

In fact, the courts have made it clear that these orders are available for all offences except, as stated, major traffic offences where the driver had another such offence within the previous five years.

What conditions can be placed on a conditional release order?

A conditional release order must contain the following conditions:

  • That the defendant not commit any further offences,
  • That the defendant must attend court if called upon to do so.

A person will only normally be called upon to attend court if he or she breaches the order.

Additional conditions that can be placed on a conditional release order are:

  • To participate in rehabilitation programs or receive treatments,
  • Abstain from alcohol, drugs or both,
  • Not associate with particular persons,
  • Not frequent or visit particular places,
  • Come under the supervision of community corrections officers or, in the case of young persons, juvenile justice officers.

A conditional release order cannot include:

  • A fine
  • Home detention
  • Electronic monitoring
  • A curfew, or
  • Community service work

Can the conditions of my conditional release order be changed?

Yes.

A defendant or a community corrections officer can apply to a court to revoke, amend or add conditions to a conditional release order at any time after it is made.

However, the mandatory conditions must remain in place.

How do I increase my chances of getting a conditional release order without a conviction?

Your chances of getting a conditional release order without a conviction will increase if you are able to gather material which shows that:

  • you are a person of good character, which can be done by preparing up to 3 character references to the court,
  • you have taken steps towards addressing any underlying issues, which can be done through attending counselling sessions or completing a relevant course, such anger management for violent offences, or the MERIT or Smart Recovery program for drug and alcohol related offences, or a Traffic Offender Program for driving offences, and/or
  • you understand the seriousness of the offence, have accepted responsibility and have shown remorse, through entering a plea of guilty and preparing a letter of apology to the court.

If you are going to court and would like to arrange a free conference to discuss your options and the best way forward, call us today on (02) 9261 8881.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

Recent Success Stories

Client Testimonials

Ryan F. Remained professional and calm throughout all proceedings

Tuan helped immensely with a matter that whilst straightforward on paper, was made immensely more complex by some unfortunate, immovable timelines on my end.

Nevertheless, he remained professional and calm throughout all proceedings and we managed to achieve a non-conviction. He was organised, kept me informed and I always felt like he took any feedback from me on board - would comfortably recommend Tuan to anybody!

Nathan B. Knew exactly what needed to be done

Fahim Khan was outstanding in helping me with a recent case. From the first phone consult he was on top of every aspect and knew exactly what needed to be done. The outcome of the case was better than expected with no conviction or fine. Would highly recommend Fahim.

Pete M. He was great and very proactive throughout the whole process

I had Tuan Phan from Sydney Criminal Lawyers look after my court case. He was great and very proactive throughout the whole process and not only did he manage to get a great outcome with a non conviction on my record which I’m absolutely grateful for, he also still continues to follow up and check in on me as well even after the case was closed.

I highly recommend Tuan Phan from Sydney Criminal Lawyers

He’s a great Lawyer and a Great guy

Easy to talk to and will work with you to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Thanks Tuan

Jake H. Incredibly helpful and reassuring

Both Tuan and Fahim were incredibly helpful and reassuring. With their help I was able to achieve my desired outcome and avoid a conviction. Wouldn’t have been able to do it without their help!

Bora K. Highly recommend

Highly recommend. Going to the court is such stressful and scary thing. Tuan Phan really comforted me during the time, very polite, helpful and professional. I was left with no criminal conviction. Thanks Tuan.

Denzel R. Beyond my expectations

Kent Park ran my appeal at a District Court and he reached an outcome beyond my expectations. I no longer have a criminal record because of Kent and can look forward to my life.

Not only is he a fantastic lawyer, but a fantastic human being. I will remember Kent not only for the outcome he has achieved for me, but for his support in a low moment in my life. I cannot speak highly enough, and I don't give positive feedback lightly.

Morenoom 2 charges of Common Assault

I was represented by Fred Cao for a legal matter of 2 charges of Common Assault.

With no experience dealing with the justice system, Fred took the time to talk through my situation, understand my side, discuss my options and come up with a strong case which inevitably allowed myself to have No Conviction & No charge on both charges.

I can't thank Fred enough for the help he gave me & am super appreciative of the way he supported me through an unfortunate situation.

You're a legend Fred, can't recommend you enough!

Bilawal S. Kent never gave up

I had Kent Park represent me for a legal matter. The complainant had added several false information and the initial fact sheet looked really ugly. Kent was able to negotiate with the police to get the facts amended to what was only true and we entered a plea of guilt. On the day of sentencing, I witnessed Kent illustrate every possible reason why I deserve a non conviction. He was quite persistent through every minute inside the court room. At some moments, I thought we almost lost the case but Kent never gave up. He stood back and forth tirelessly illustrating the pros and cons. He was successful in acquiring me a non-conviction at the end. The matter got dragged for several months due to the virus situation. But Kent rendered his support patiently the whole time answering every question and clearing every doubt I had. Truly a top barrister! Thanks Kent. Because of your hardwork, today I've got a second chance.

Nigel I ended up getting ‘no conviction’ and I couldn’t be happier

Highly recommend! I had Mariecar take my case last minute and she was great, very professional and understanding of my situation. I ended up getting ‘no conviction’ and I couldn’t be happier. Everyone I spoke too from Sydney Criminal Lawyers were very good. They were inexpensive and yet did their job to the highest standard. Should I ever need legal representation again, I will be using them.

Garry E. I received no conviction

I am most impressed with Fred Cao, whose professional and timely representation today in Sutherland Court ensured that I received no conviction being recorded against me. Thank you Mr Cao!

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