If an individual enters a plea of guilty or if they are found guilty of an offence, the Court has several sentencing options available. Sentencing options, the Court may impose are as follows:
Section 10 refers to a section of the Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act which allows a magistrate to impose the following sentencing options:
1. 10(1)(a) – a court may find a person guilty of an offence, not record a conviction and order that the relevant charge be dismissed without penalty; or
2. 10(1)(c) – a court may find a person guilty of an offence, not record a conviction and order that the relevant charge be dismissed on the condition that the person enter into an agreement to participate in an intervention program and to comply with any intervention plan arising out of the program.
Section 10A refers to a section of the Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act which allows a magistrate finds a person guilty of an offence, record a conviction and order that the relevant charge be dismissed without further penalty.
Conditional Release Order (CRO) (with or without a conviction)
Courts can use the Conditional Release Order to deal with first time and less serious offences where the offender is unlikely to present a risk to the community.
The benefit of CROs is that the court can impose conditions such as drug and alcohol abstention, programs, non-association requirements or place restrictions where appropriate. CROs can also have a supervision condition.
Courts have discretion to impose a conviction on a CRO, if they consider it appropriate.
CROs can be imposed for a period of up to two years. If an Individual commits any further offences while on a CRO, subsequent penalties may be more severe.
Certain offences are fine only offences; however other offences will likely carry a possible of a fine as well as other sentencing alternatives. Fines will be adjusted based on an individual’s income and also the seriousness of the offence.
Community Correction Order (CCO)
Courts can use the Community Correction Order to punish offenders for crimes that do not warrant imprisonment or an ICO, but are too serious to be dealt with by a fine or lower level penalty.
The benefit of CCOs is that they are a flexible sentence that the court can tailor to reflect the nature of the offender and the offence. The court can select from the range of conditions, such as supervision by Community Corrections Officers, community service work (up to 500 hours) and curfews, to hold offenders to account and reduce their risk of reoffending. CCOs can be imposed for a period of up to three years.
Deferral of sentence for rehabilitation participation, intervention program or other purposes
The Court may, on application or on its own accord, adjourn any matter for a maximum of 12 months to assess an individual’s capacity for rehabilitation or to enable a rehabilitation or intervention program to occur.
Intensive Correction Order (ICO)
An ICO is a custodial sentence of up two years that the court decides can be served in the community. Community safety is the court’s paramount consideration when making this decision.
Supervision is mandatory. Courts can add conditions to an ICO such as home detention, electronic monitoring, curfews, community service work (up to 750 hours), alcohol/drug bans, place restrictions, or non-association requirements. Offenders may also be required to participate in programs that target the causes of their behaviour.
For more serious breaches, offenders will continue to be referred to the State Parole Authority (SPA) and may be required to serve the remainder of their sentence in custody.
The ICO is the most serious sentence that an offender can serve in the community. ICOs are not be available for offenders who have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, any sexual offence against a child, offences involving discharge of a firearm, terrorism offences, breaches of serious crime prevention orders, or breaches of public safety orders.
A domestic violence offender can only be sentenced to an ICO if the court is satisfied that the victim or likely co-residents can be adequately protected. For example, a domestic violence offender is not eligible for an ICO with a home detention condition if they are intending to reside with the victim.
If the above-mentioned penalties are not appropriate and there are no other alternative sentences that the Court can impose, the Court will sentence an individual to a period of imprisonment.
Each offence has limits of the length of imprisonment that the court can impose.