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CRIMINAL PENALTIES

CRIMINAL PENALTIES
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OVERVIEW

When you look up the offence you have been charged with, you will likely see a maximum imprisonment term and/or maximum fine that can been given for the offence. This does not mean you will automatically receive this punishment if you enter a plea of guilty or if you are found guilty. Rather, these statutory penalties act as an indication of how serious the offence is regarded by Parliament and the community.

The Court has a wide sentencing discretion and it can impose one or more penalties under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 that would meet the purposes of sentencing for the effective administration of justice. In some circumstances, the Court can defer sentencing under section 11 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 to enable the offender to demonstrate their rehabilitation or complete a Court accredited program before the Court determines the sentence.

Since 24 September 2018, sentencing legislation in NSW has changed with the commencement of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment (Sentencing Options) Act 2017 commenced. Since then, Courts have focused on community-based sentencing aimed at reducing the rate reoffending (or recidivism) and to encourage the offender’s rehabilitation. Suspended sentences, community service orders and home detention orders no longer exist.

What penalties can the Court impose?

The penalties available to the Court for sentencing include:

  • Section 10(1)(a), no conviction and no conditions.

  • Section 10(1)(c), no conviction on the condition the offender agrees to participate in an intervention program and comply with the intervention plan arising from the program.

  • Section 10A, conviction with no conditions.

  • Section 9(1)(b), Conditional Release Order without conviction.

  • Section 9(1)(a), Conditional Release Order with conviction.

  • A fine, as described under section 4 of the Fines Act 1996 (NSW).

  • Section 8 Community Corrections Order.

  • Section 7 Intensive Corrections Order.

  • Full-time imprisonment, pursuant to section 5.

When sentencing offenders, the Court considers the objective seriousness of the offence, the personal (or subjective) background of the offender, and the purposes of sentencing under section 3A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. The sentencing Magistrate or Judge may also have regard to such other matters he or she thinks relevant to the case.

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