What is a section 10?

A ‘section 10’ is when the court deals with a person who is guilty of a criminal charge under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. It means the court dismisses your charges, and you get on with your life.

If you’re sentenced under section 10, you won’t have a conviction on your criminal record. The only people who will know anything about your offence are the police and courts, if you come before them again.

Sometimes the court will attach conditions to the dismissal of your charges, for example, that you enter a good behaviour bond for up to 2 years, or that you attend counselling or rehabilitation.

What does the court take into account for a section 10?

To increase your chances of getting a section 10, you need a lawyer who knows what the courts want to hear. With EPS Lawyers your lawyer will tell the court about:

  1. Your character, meaning your personality, nature and disposition. For example, that you are a responsible employee, or you volunteer for charity work. Your previous criminal record (or driving record, if your offence is a traffic matter) is also important.

  2. Antecedents, meaning your background, qualifications, current circumstances, employment and financial circumstances and whether you have any dependants.

  3. Your age. If you are particularly young, we might argue that the court should consider the negative impact a conviction will have on your ability to get a job in the future. Or, if you’re older, we might argue you should be rewarded for having not been before the courts before.

  4. Your health and mental condition can also be important if it can provide the court context about your circumstances and offending.

  5. The nature of your offending. Section 10s are usually only ordered for less serious, or trivial offences.

  6. Finally, your lawyer will tell the court about any extenuating circumstances that led to your offending – or the reason why you offended.

Tips for getting a section 10:

  1. If you’re guilty, enter a plea at the earliest opportunity. This saves the police and courts time and money.

  2. Get at least 3-4 good character references, from upstanding members of the community.

  3. Write a sincere apology letter to the court, explaining your remorse and commitment not to reoffend.

At your first free conference with your lawyer, we’ll take our time to really listen to what happened. We’ll then give you our real opinion about whether we think the court will sentence you under section 10. Leading up to sentencing, we will be proactive, helping your character referees, liaising with your doctors and collating everything we can to get you a section 10.

Need a section 10?
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