Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Section 10 Dismissal
When a person pleads guilty to or is found guilty of an offence the court must decide what, if any, punishment is appropriate. The starting point is to decide whether to record a conviction (an entry in the person’s criminal record) and then to decide whether to impose a punishment, for example a conditional release order (CRO) or fine.
In certain sentencing matters a court has the discretion to not convict a person, but instead make an order under section 10(1)(a) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) finding the person guilty, but dismissing the matter. If that occurs there is no penalty, no loss of licence, and no criminal record. There is however a ‘finding of guilt’. A mere ‘finding of guilt’ without an associated conviction is not disclosable on a National Police Check.
Obtaining a Section 10(1)(a) for a Traffic Offence Means That no Demerit Points are Recorded
In the past, the RMS (now Transport for NSW) would record demerit points even where a court dealt with a traffic offence pursuant to section 10(1)(a) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act (NSW). However, presently, where no conviction is recorded for a traffic offence, either because an order is made pursuant to section 10(1)(a) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act or a CRO without conviction is imposed pursuant to section 9(1)(b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, no demerit points will be recorded for the offence.
In traffic matters a conviction may trigger an automatic licence disqualification. However, where a person is not convicted there will be no disqualification.
If you are currently facing traffic offences and you are concerned about the loss of demerit points please call us on 1300 038 223 to discuss your options.
Seeking a Section 10 Dismissal
It is very rare for a court to make an order pursuant to section 10(1)(a), even for traffic offences or other minor offences. A court will need to be satisfied that there are good reasons before such an order is made and is required to consider:
- the person’s character, antecedents (history), age, health and mental condition;
- the trivial nature of the offence;
- the extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed;
- any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.
Some examples of when a court might consider making a section 10(1)(a) order are:
- when a person has been charged with possessing a very small amount of cannabis, has no criminal history, has demonstrated genuine remorse and has taken significant steps towards rehabilitation;
- when a person has been charged with larceny (theft) of goods worth very little (only a few dollars), took the goods for “need, not greed” for example a person stole a few loaves of bread because they only had $0.75 in their bank account.
Honest and Expert Advice
If you would like legal advice as to the likelihood of getting a section 10(1)(a) in your matter please call us on 1300 038 223. We will assess your circumstances and the nature of the offending and can tell you what proportion of people who plead guilty to the offence you have been charged with receive a section 10(1)(a).
Did you know…
“Section 10” is perhaps the best known phrase in New South Wales criminal law. Unfortunately.
There are different types of section 10 orders. These include:
- an order dismissing the matter after a finding of guilt – a section 10(1)(a);
- an order discharging the offender on upon him/her entering a CRO – a section 10(1)(b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act (which, strictly speaking, is made pursuant to section 9(1)(b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act);
- an order discharging the offender on condition that the he/she enter into an agreement to participate in an intervention program and to comply with any intervention plan arising out of the program – a section 10(1)(c) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
If an order is made pursuant to section 10(1)(a) there will be a finding of guilt, but that finding will be immediately “spent”, meaning it will not be disclosed on a national police check. If an order is made pursuant to section 10(1)(b) there will be a finding of guilt, but that finding will be spent at the completion of the CRO.
Spent findings of guilt are disclosable in certain circumstances. They will commonly appear if a criminal history is sought for migration purposes or employment that requires government security clearances. It will also remain in internal police databases.
For certain traffic offences, you cannot get more than one section 10 within a period of five years.
A person who receives a non-conviction order is generally not required by law to disclose the matter unless there is a particular licensing or regulatory requirement to do so. For example, legal and medical professionals may be required to disclose a charge and/or conviction to the relevant regulatory body.
An individual’s employment contract may also contain specific conditions about disclosure of any criminal charges or convictions. More and more employers these days are getting smarter about the way in which they ask questions about criminal history in job applications. Many ask not just about convictions, but also about section 10 orders or “findings of guilt”. Many people presume that if a question like this is asked, you have to answer it and disclose any previous section 10s. If you find yourself in the situation you should obtain legal advice.
If you would like any information on Section 10s or any other legal matter call us on 1300 038 223 or email us.
WHERE TO NEXT?
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.
WHY CHOOSE ARMSTRONG LEGAL?
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