If you are convicted of an offense in criminal court, you face potential penalties including full time prison custody, home detention, an intensive correction order, or a fine. Some penalties are more serious than others. One of the more lenient penalties that you could face is a good behaviour bond.
A good behaviour bond is often preferable to imprisonment or paying a large fine. However, you must ensure you understand what the bond means, what your obligations are, and what happens if you fail to follow the conditions of a good behaviour bond. Owen Hodge Lawyers can provide assistance with arguing for a good behaviour bond in sentencing and can help you to ensure you comply with the terms if a bond is levied against you.
What is a Good Behaviour Bond?
A good behaviour bond is an order from a magistrate to be on “good behaviour” for a period of time. This order will come when you are convicted of some type of criminal offense. Good behaviour bonds are common for first convictions and for more minor criminal offenses.
The good behaviour bond can last for a period of several years, and the specific conditions of the bond are going to vary depending upon your individual circumstances including the criminal offense you are convicted of and the type of bond levied against you. For example, your good behaviour bond may require you to:
- Attend court hearings at specific requested times.
- Submit to regular supervision by a parole officer.
- Participate in mandatory drug or alcohol counselling or rehabilitation.
- Attend an approved traffic offender program.
- Restrict your association with certain individuals or groups.
- Avoid going to certain places.
- Refrain from committing any further offenses.
You must comply with all conditions of the good behaviour bond for the period of time it remains in effect. The maximum length of the good behaviour bond is going to depend upon the type of bond:
- Bonds under Section 9 of the Sentencing Bench Book can last for up to five years. These bonds come with a criminal conviction.
- Bonds under Section 10 of the Sentencing Bench Book can last for up to 10 years. Section 10 allows the court to find you guilty of an offense, but to discharge you without a conviction being recorded. You will not be left with a criminal record as long as you do not breach any bond conditions.
- Bonds under Section 12 of the Sentencing Bench Book can last for up to two years. Section 12 allows for a suspended sentence. A suspended sentence is possible when you are sentenced to full time imprisonment for two years or less. The sentence can be suspended, which means you are released from custody, but will be subject to the behaviour bond for the remainder of the sentence term.
You must comply with all bond terms during the entire period the bond is in effect. If you breach the terms of a good behaviour bond, the conditions of the bond could be changed and you could face further restrictions. Additional penalties could also be imposed, including jail time, and/or the bond could be revoked. The specific consequences of noncompliance will depend upon what specific breach or breaches occurred. Failure to fulfil the requirements of a section 12 bond (or suspended sentence) is especially likely to lead to imprisonment. However, for minor breaches of any type of good behaviour bond, it is possible you will receive only a warning.
Seeking Legal Assistance
A good behaviour bond is highly preferable to a prison sentence. You can try to increase the chances of getting a good behaviour bond by explaining extenuating circumstances leading to the crime; by demonstrating remorse and reform efforts; and by providing character references. Owen Hodge Lawyers will help you to try to get a behaviour bond as your sentence and can provide guidance and advice on what a behaviour bond means for you. Call us today at 1800 770 780 or contact us via [email protected] to speak with an experienced lawyer to learn more.