If you enter a guilty plea or are found guilty after hearing, your matter will proceed to sentence. The key piece of legislation that governs the sentencing of matters is the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 NSW (“the Act”).

In sentencing an offender, the Court has a range of options, depending on the maximum penalty applicable to the offence and the jurisdictional sentencing limits.

The most serious sentence that can be imposed is a sentence of full-time imprisonment. However, under s 5(1) of the Act, “A court must not sentence an offender to imprisonment unless it is satisfied …. that no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate”. For sentences of imprisonment greater than 6 months, the Court must set a non-parole period and the balance of the sentence.

A second type of custodial sentence is called an intensive corrections order (ICO). A Court may order an offender sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 2 years, serve that sentence in the community by way of intensive correction. During an ICO the offender will be monitored by Community Corrections and subject to the Court order conditions that may involve things like: community service, curfews, surveillance or electronic monitoring, non-association conditions and a ban on the consumption of alcohol/illicit drugs. Should the ICO be breached, the State Parole Authority has authority to deal with the breach of the ICO – serious breaches often result in the ICO being revoked and the offender going into prison.

The Court also has a number of non-custodial sentencing options. A Community Corrections Order (CCO) is a Court Order with a maximum term of 3 years. The standard conditions require that the offender be of good behaviour/commit no further offences and appear before Court if required. Additional conditions may include: a curfew, community service work, rehabilitation, abstaining from drugs/alcohol and/or a supervision condition.

Conditional Release Order (CRO) is a type of Court ordered good behaviour bond with a maximum term of 2 years. The standard conditions are the same as the CCO, whilst additional conditions are similar to a CCO, with the exception of a curfew and community service. A conditional release order can be imposed with or without conviction.

The Court can also impose a fine, as either a stand-alone sentence, or on top of other sentences. It is important to note however, that a defendant cannot be fined where the charge is dismissed or a CRO has been imposed.

The Court also has the option to impose a conviction with no other penalty under s 10A of the Act.

Finally, a section 10 dismissal is when the Court finds the offence proven but dismisses the charge.

Sentencing matters can be quite complex, so consider engaging the expertise of our experienced lawyers, as Helping You is Our Business.

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