Section 10 orders are a highly sought after and much discussed outcome regarding minor criminal and traffic offences. However, this means that many facts about Section 10 orders have been misunderstood, and therefore many myths exist in regards to the orders.

This post places some of the more pervasive myths under the microscope and busts them by explaining the true facts about Section 10 Orders.

What is a Section 10?

Section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 enables the court to issue a “second chance” by either:

  • Dismissing the charge/s completely (s10(1)(a))
  • Discharging him/her on the condition that he/she enter into a good behaviour bond (s10(1)(b))
  • Discharging him/her on the condition that he/she enter into an intervention program (s10(1)(c))

The court can issue a section 10 for any criminal or driving charge. However, the decision to grant a Section 10 resides with the presiding judge, and is usually in regard to the following factors;

  • The nature of the offence (ie – trivial)
  • The person’s character, criminal history, age, health and mental condition
  • The extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed

However, as well as the above factors, the Court can also take into account any extenuating circumstances that may have been present at the time of the crime.

Myths & Facts

Myth: You can only be granted a Section 10 if you plead guilty

Fact: Although pleading not guilty can negatively impact you from receiving a sentencing discount and demonstrates an absence of remorse for the crime, it does not mean you are unable to gain a Section 10.

Myth: You can only be granted a Section 10 for minor offences

Fact: Although it is much easier to gain a Section 10 if the offence was trivial, it is available for all criminal and driving offences.

Myth: You can’t be granted a Section 10 if you have already had one in the past

Fact: It is possible to get a Section 10 more than once, as it all comes down to the court’s decision. You must have a very good reason why you should be granted another second chance and be able to convince the Court to exercise its discretion.

However, there is in fact exceptions to this. There are a list of “applicable offences” which do disqualify you from gaining another Section 10 within 5 years of the offence. As per section 203 of the Road Transport Act 2013, these offences include:

  • Drink driving;
  • Menacing driving;
  • Failing to stop and assist after motor vehicle impact causing injury, death or grievous bodily harm;
  • Failure to submit to a test or analysis or assessment (for drugs or alcohol);
  • Wilful alteration of concentration or amount of alcohol or other drugs;
  • Negligent driving;
  • Driving recklessly or in a matter/at a speed dangerous

Myth: You can’t be granted a Section 10 if you have a previous criminal record

Fact: Again, it is possible to get a Section 10 if you have a previous criminal record, it is just harder to convince the court that you are deserving of a second chance.

Myth: A Section 10 does not show up on any records

Fact: Although it is true that a Section 10 does mean the offence is not recorded as a conviction, it does not disappear completely.

Firstly, if you are granted a s10 (b) and are put on a good behaviour bond the offence will appear on your record for the duration of your bond.

Also, your criminal history shows the details of all previous court matters, so will therefore have record of the Section 10 being received.

If you have an upcoming court date and are concerned about your sentencing, contact the experienced criminal lawyers at Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please call us to schedule a consultation at 1800 780 770 at your earliest convenience.