This article was written by Aurhett Barrie - Solicitor – Sydney

As a former Judge’s Associate Aurhett has rare insight into how cases are heard and decided. This knowledge allows him to persuasively advocate for his clients’ interests, both inside and outside of a courtroom. He has spent his career practising exclusively in criminal and traffic law and has advised hundreds of clients on an extensive range of matters. He takes...

Recognizance Release Orders


When sentencing a person for a federal offence a court may discharge the person on the condition that he or she enter into a recognizance release order (“RRO”). Such an order may be made with or without a conviction being recorded, and with or without a sentence of imprisonment.

There are 4 types of RROs. Which type is considered appropriate will depend on the seriousness of the offence, the offender’s personal circumstances, and intended severity of the sentence.

RRO without Conviction

This type of RRO is made where the court finds a person guilty of an offence and, without recording a conviction, discharges the offender on the condition that:

  • upon giving security, with or without sureties, by recognizance (effectively, a “good behaviour bond”) or otherwise, they satisfy the court that he or she will comply with the following conditions:
    • be of good behaviour for a period not exceeding 3 years;
    • make such reparation or restitution, or pay such compensation, in respect of the offence or offences concerned (if any), or pay such costs in respect of his or her prosecution for the offence or offences concerned (if any), as the court specifies in the order;
    • during a period, not exceeding 2 years, comply with such other conditions (if any) as the court specifies (which may include a condition that the person will be subject to the supervision of a probation officer and obey all reasonable directions of a probation officer.

This power is contained in section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and is similar to a conditional release order without conviction under NSW law.

RRO with Conviction

This type of RRO is made where the person is convicted, but before moving to sentence, the court releases the offender upon entering into RRO for  a specified period. This power is contained in section 20(1)(a) of the Act and is similar to a conditional release order with conviction under NSW law.

This type of RRO has the same conditions as a RRO without conviction, but the term of the good behaviour period can be up to 5 years and the court can impose a fine.

Imprisonment with immediate release on RRO

This type of RRO is ordered when a federal offender is sentenced to imprisonment, but the court suspends the imposition of the sentence of imprisonment and instead directs that the offender be released immediately, upon entering a RRO for a specified period. The power is contained in section 20(1)(b) of the Act and is similar to the now non-existent power to suspend a prison sentence under NSW law.

Imprisonment with later release on RRO

This type of RRO is ordered when a federal offender is sentenced to a term of imprisonment and, after having served a specified period of that term or paying a required security, is then released on an RRO for the remainder of that term. That power is contained in section 20(1)(b) of the Act.

If you require advice on recognizance release orders or any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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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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