The NSW Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act allows criminal Courts in NSW to make a finding of guilt against someone, however not record a conviction. This means that in this situation you would be found guilty with no conviction recorded.
The Criminal Court that finds you guilty may make one of the following three Orders under Section 10 of the NSW Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act:
Directing that the charge against the person be dismissed (Section 10(1)(a)).
Discharging the person on the condition that that person enter into a conditional release order not exceeding two years (Section 9).
The 3 Orders listed above provide the Criminal Court with alternatives to recording a conviction, including the option (1) to dismiss the finding of guilt outright.
Section 10(1)(b) allows the Court to dismiss the charge and not record a conviction, provided that you enter into a conditional release order under Section 9 to be of good behaviour not exceeding two years. Whilst discharging you, the conviction remains temporarily on your record for the duration of the bond. Therefore if you are seeking employment or travelling, and require no convictions to be recorded, you will require a dismissal under Section 10(1)(a).
What factors will the Criminal Court consider?
In deciding whether to make an Order under Section 10, Courts in NSW have to consider the following factors:
The person’s age, previous criminal record, character, health and their mental condition.
The trivial nature of the offence.
The extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed, and
Any other matters that the Court thinks proper to consider.
What about Driving Offences?
A Section 10 dismissal is an attractive alternative to individuals charged with driving offences.
As there is no conviction recorded under a Section 10 dismissal, the Court is not bound by the driving legislation which requires Courts in NSW to impose mandatory disqualification periods.
You may obtain a Section 10 dismissal under the NSW Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act notwithstanding your previous criminal history or the seriousness of the offence. There are certain circumstances in which you will not be entitled to a Section 10 dismissal if you’ve had a dismissal for the same offence within a five year period.
If you’ve had a Section 10 dismissal in that period this will have the same effect of a conviction for the purposes of an order restoring stolen property, compensation under the Victim Rights & Support Act 2013 or restitution (the delivery of property).
Are there any other benefits?
Another benefit of a Section 10 dismissal is that pursuant to the Criminal Records Act 1991 you will not be legally obliged to disclose any personal information pertaining to the dismissed conviction to any employer or other person/s.
Because of the many benefits associated with a Section 10 dismissal, they are widely referred to in the community. Each matter is different and you should immediately obtain expert legal advice from an experienced Criminal Lawyer for any matter whereby you are facing the possibility of criminal prosecution.
If you have any questions relating to the above, or required the assistance of our expert team of Criminal Lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us.