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Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal or traffic offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction you will have a criminal record. In traffic matters this may also include a loss of license. However, if the court has decided not to convict you, there is no penalty, no loss of licence, and no criminal record. In all criminal and traffic law cases a court has the discretion not to convict you, but deal with you under the terms of section 10.
No conditions attached to the dismissal – the matter is over as soon as you walk out of the court room
Although the charge may be dismissed, the court can put you on a good behaviour bond for up to two years. The bond can have any conditions the court wants you to abide by. At a minimum, these include:
If you breach any conditions of the bond, the court can ask you to appear before it, revoke the bond and impose a different sentence for the offence.
The dismissal is conditional on you entering an intervention program of some kind (such as the Traffic Offenders program or other rehabilitation), completing that program successfully and complying with any action plan resulting from that program.
Courts do not give out section 10s easily. Normally a court will need a lot of convincing before granting you a section 10. The court must consider the following issues:
"Section 10" Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 – This allows a court to make an order to dismiss the charge (i.e. to not record a criminal conviction), despite making a finding of guilt. It may be dependent on certain conditions imposed by the court.
Criminal record: A written history detailing a person's past criminal convictions.
Conviction: In NSW, it involves the finding of guilt and the imposition of a penalty. It includes orders under section 10A but does not include a matter dealt with under section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.