The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) reflects the law behind all the sentencing options a Magistrates or Judges can impose on a person guilty of a NSW criminal or traffic offence.
That Law has now changed and the new NSW sentencing penalties or options commence from today 24 September 2018 onwards.
The popular ‘section 10 bond’, known as a non-conviction type of penalty that an offender can receive in court is now abolished. Replacing it now is the new ‘Conditional Release Order’ (CRO). We will discuss this in more detail below.
The main focus of these new, more simplified, sentencing options are on community-based treatment to address the factors that contributed to the offender committing the offence in the first place. This is hoped to then create greater safety for the community by reducing re-offending. This was emphasised by the Attorney General, Mark Speakman when justifying the new penalties.
What Sentencing Options Have Now Been Abolished?
The following sentencing options or penalties are now abolished:
- Home Detention: This was a one step away from full time imprisonment as a sentencing option. Also known as house arrest, it was an alternative to full time prison. It was a criminal conviction.
- Intensive Corrections Order: This involved community service work and treatment services under strict supervision as an alternative to full time prison. It was a criminal conviction.
- Suspended Sentence: This was where a court would sentence an offender to a term of imprisonment only for that term of imprisonment to be suspended upon entering into a good behaviour bond for that term. This was also an alternative to full time prison. It was a criminal conviction.
- Community Corrections Order: This was where an offender would be required to undertake a specified number of hours of work for free. It was a criminal conviction.
- Section 9 Bond: This was where an offender would receive a criminal conviction but placed on a good behaviour bond for a certain period of time. The conditions of the bond were very limited.
- Section 10 Bond: This was the popular non-conviction which would result in no criminal record against your name, no loss of demerit points and no fine. It involved a requirement that the offender enter into a good behaviour bond for a specified period of time.
What are the New Sentencing Options in NSW?
The new Intensive Corrections Order now replaces and incorporates the same old intensive corrections order, home detention, and community service order. It has further conditions that a Magistrate or Judge can impose.
The suspended sentence is completely abolished and isn’t replaced with any of the new sentencing options after research has demonstrated that it wasn’t working as an effective sentencing option.
The new Community Corrections Order (CCO) now replaces the section 9 good behaviour bond and community service order. It has further conditions that a Magistrate or Judge can impose.
The new Conditional Release Order now replaces the old section 10 good behaviour bond. It gives more options for a Magistrate or Judge in respect to imposing further conditions.
What Sentencing Options Remain unchanged?
The Sentencing options that remain un-changed from the new sentencing laws in NSW are as follows:
- The Intensive Corrections Order: This remain the same except this sentencing option has now been expanded to include much more conditions. A detailed discussion of this for our next blog.
- Full Time Imprisonment: This remains the same.
- Section 10(1)(a): Also known as a ‘section 10 dismissal’ remains the same. This is where the Magistrate or Judge imposes no conviction without any conditions of good behaviour or supervision.
- Section 10A: which is where the court imposes a criminal record but imposes no other penalty such as a fine.
- A Fine: This is where the Magistrate or Judge can impose a fine as a penalty in addition to any other sentencing option, other than s10A.
The New Conditional Release Order
The new ‘Conditional Release Order’ (CRO) replaces the previous section 10 bond.
However, if you get a conditional release order for a criminal or traffic offence in NSW, a Magistrate or Judge can impose one of 2 types of ‘conditional release order’, which are:
- Non-conviction with conditions for you to comply with; or
- With a criminal conviction with conditions for you to comply with
When imposing either one of those 2 types of conditional release orders, the Magistrate or Judge must impose the ‘standard conditions’ and any one or more of the ‘additional conditions’.
What are the ‘Standard Conditions’ of a ‘Conditional Release Order’?
The standard conditions of a conditional release order is a requirement that you not commit a further offence, and a requirement that you appear at court if ever requested by the court to during the period that the order is in force.
What are the ‘Additional Conditions’ of a ‘Conditional Release Order’?
The Judge or Magistrate may, in addition to the ‘standard conditions’, impose any 1 or more of the following additional order as part of the conditional release order:
- Treatment condition: This can include a requirement that you undergo rehabilitation for either your mental health, drugs or alcohol.
- Abstinence condition: This is a requirement that you not consume prohibited drugs or alcohol.
- Non- Association: This is a requirement that you not associate with specified people.
- Location restriction: This is a requirement that you not go to a specified place.
- Supervision: This is a requirement that you comply with being supervised by someone appointed by the court.
A conditional release order (whether its with or without a conviction) doesn’t include community service, home detention, curfews or electronic monitoring (unlike the other new sentencing options).
A conditional release order can be imposed on an offender for up to two years from the date of sentencing.
After a conditional release order gets made by the Magistrate or Judge in court, a community corrections officer can later (but during the term of the order) apply for the conditions to either be changed or added by making an application in court.
The community corrections officer also has the discretion (during the term of the order) to suspend any supervision aspect of your conditions (if a supervision condition was imposed by the Magistrate or Judge) and any non-association condition (if it was imposed).
What If You Breach Your ‘Conditional Release Order’?
Upon a suspicion of a breach of a condition of the CRO, the Court can require you to attend court.
If the Magistrate or Judge is satisfied that an offender breached a condition of the CRO, then one of the following things can occur:
- No action taken.
- New conditions are imposed or existing one’s amended.
- The conditional release order is ‘revoked’.
If the Conditional Release Order gets ‘revoked’ by the court, the Magistrate or Judge will re-sentence you all over again for the original offence. in that instance, the Magistrate or Judge will be more inclined to impose a heavier sentencing option than a conditional release order involving a criminal conviction- it can impose a new conditional release order (with or without conviction), Community Corrections order, Intensive Corrections Order or full-time imprisonment.