Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a Criminal Record from a Drug Possession Matter?

Yes. A criminal conviction is very likely unless the Court is convinced that they should exercise their discretion not to convict you of the offence.

Can I Avoid a Criminal Record?

Although it is possible to avoid a criminal record for a charge of possessing a prohibited drug, the starting point for the Court is always a conviction.

What is a Section 10?

The expression ‘section 10’ refers to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. This section allows a court that finds you guilty of an offence, to discharge you without recording a conviction. Because there is no conviction, there is no criminal record.

How can I Obtain a Section 10?

Courts do not give out section 10’s lightly. A court will usually need a lot of convincing before granting you a section 10. The law says that in deciding whether to give a person a section 10, the court must consider the following issues:

  • Your age, character, record, health and mental condition
  • The trivial nature of the offence
  • Any extenuating circumstances
  • Anything else the court perceives to be relevant

Can I pay a Greater Fine to Avoid Being Convicted?

No, it is not possible to bargain with the court that you would pay a larger fine to avoid a criminal conviction. If the court deals with you under section 10 there will be no fine, but there may be court costs (normally less than $80)

What are my Chances of Obtaining a Section 10?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to your likelihood to be dealt with under section 10. To learn more about your chances of obtaining a section 10, call one of our criminal law experts on (02) 9261 4555


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.


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