Can you please explain to me what a section 10 is and who it applies to?

If you have been charged with a criminal offence you may be wondering what a “Section 10” is and how it may help you. Being charged with a criminal offence can introduce you into a world of confusing phrases that don’t make much sense such as people talking about getting a “Section 10”.

What is a Section 10?

When people talk about a Section 10, they are actually referring to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

A Section 10 under the Act refers to a way in which the Court can dismiss a criminal charge without recording a criminal conviction on your record. A Section 10 dismissal, is only available if you have pleaded guilty to the criminal charge against you, or if you have been found guilty after a court hearing.

If the Court decides to make a Section 10 order, they have the following options available to them:

1. They can dismiss the criminal charge against you with no conditions;

2. They can dismiss the criminal charge against you on the condition that you enter into a  good behaviour bond for up to two years;

Or …..

3. They can dismiss the criminal charge against you, on the condition you enter into an agreement to participate and comply with an intervention program.

Who can get a Section 10?

The Act sets out the factors that the Court must consider when deciding whether to make an order for a Section 10.

These factors are:
(a) Your character;
(b) Any prior criminal charges;
(c) Your age and health;
(d) Your mental condition;
(e) The trivial nature of the offence; and

(f) The extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed.

Where do I get further advice on a Section 10?

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, then you need to seek expert legal advice so you understand what a Section 10 is and whether you are eligible for a Section 10 order.

The factors that the court is required to take into account for a Section 10 order, all require you to present evidence to the Court. This evidence can include character references, medical certificates and the circumstances surrounding your offence. The stronger the evidence that you provide to the Court, the higher your chances are of getting a Section 10 and avoiding a criminal record. That alone is a very good reason to seek legal representation for your Court appearance, so that your evidence can be presented to the Court professionally and as strongly as possible.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence and need expert legal advice, call Barwick Boitano today on (02) 9630 0444 or email on fjb@bblawyers.com for an appointment.

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