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Likely Penalties for Sexual Assault

What penalty am I likely to receive for my sexual assault charge?

In NSW, a court can impose a fine and a prison sentence for a charge of sexual assault and a range of other penalties. You will find a brief description of each of these penalties at the end of this page.  However, between February 2003 and June 2008 there were 111 offenders sentenced in the District Court in New South Wales.  Of the 111 offenders, 104 were sentenced to full time prison.  The remaining 7 offenders received a suspended sentence.

Maximum Penalties for a sexual assault charge (Section 61I NSW Crimes Act)

A maximum prison sentence of 14 years can be imposed.

Sentencing Statistics

The offence of sexual assault has a recommended standard non parole period of 7 years.  This means that an offender who commits an offence that would fall in the middle range of cases who was found guilty after a jury trial should receive a prison sentence of 7 years with a parole period in addition.  If an offender pleads guilty they could receive a discount on their sentence up to about 25%.

Length of prison sentences imposed for all offenders charged with sexual assault:

Click here to complete a likely penalty enquiry form.

Types of Penalties

Section 10 – avoiding a criminal record
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. However, if we were able to convince the court not to convict you, there would be no penalty of any type and no criminal record.  In all criminal cases a court has the discretion not to convict you but deal with you under the terms of section 10.

By far the most common penalty imposed by the Local Court is a fine.  When deciding the amount of any fine the Magistrate or Judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set.

Good behaviour bonds
A good behaviour bond is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond.  The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is 5 years.

Community service order
A Community Service Order (CSO) involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by Probation and Parole or attendance at a Centre to undertake a course, such as Anger Management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the Probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Certain medical conditions could exclude you from being suitable to undertake a work order.

Suspended sentence
A suspended sentence (Section 12 good behaviour bond) is a gaol sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond.  Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the gaol sentence will not come into effect.  A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to 2 years.

Periodic Detention

Periodic detention is a form of imprisonment. It involves detention in a periodic detention centre for a two day period each week for the length of the sentence set by the court. The two-day period commences at 7.00 pm on the day of the week specified (usually Friday) and ends at 4.30 pm on the second day following the day so specified (usually Sunday).


This is the most severe form of punishment and involves being locked up in a prison.  Before a court imposes a gaol sentence it must be satisfied that no other penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate.

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