Criminal Law Penalties

When pleading guilty or found guilty of a criminal offence, the court will then have to issue a penalty to you in accordance with the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure Act) 1999 (NSW). The penalty imposed must fit the crime and the court takes many factors into consideration including but not limited to: 

- To ensure you are adequately punished for the offence 
- To deter others from committing the same offence 
- To protect the community 
- To recognise the harm done to the victim
- To promote rehabilitation 
- Your specific circumstances including mental health issues, specifics surrounding why you offended 

- Your criminal history 
- Any rehabilitative steps you’ve taken to ensure you deter yourself from committing the offence again

There are different types of penalties in NSW based on whether you are charged with a state or commonwealth offence. The penalties include both conviction and non-conviction penalties. 

State Offences

The following penalties apply to state offences: 

- This is the most lenient penalty available in NSW
- It is a non-conviction penalty which will not recorded as a conviction against your name It is a dismissal of the charges completely 
- No fines, good behaviour bonds or licence disqualifications apply 
- Available in both criminal and traffic matters

- This is a type of good behaviour bond imposed by the court 
- It can either come with or without a criminal conviction recorded against your name 
- If a conditional release order is issued without a conviction, no fines or licence disqualifications apply 
- Available in both criminal and traffic matters

- A monetary fine imposed by the court to ensure you deter from certain behaviours again
- It is recorded as a criminal conviction against your name 
- It is available in both criminal and traffic matters 
- Commonly issued in fraud and traffic offences

- An order or bond that imposes conditions upon you in the community 
- Conditions could include rehabilitation and community service
- This is recorded as a criminal conviction against your name 
- Available in both criminal and traffic matters

Intensive Corrections Order 

- An order or bond which is imposed as an alternative to full-time imprisonment 
- It is considered a sentence of imprisonment 
- It is a criminal conviction recorded against your name 
- You remain in the community subject to conditions 
- Can also include house arrest 
- Available in both criminal and traffic matters but not available in prescribed sex offences

- A sentence of full-time imprisonment 
- Recorded as a criminal conviction against your name 
- Can include a non-parole period where you will serve part of your sentence in the community on parole 
- Can include home detention 
- Available in both criminal and traffic offences

The penalty you receive will depend on the specific charges and circumstances of your case. It is not always the case that you will receive a full-time imprisonment sentence, regardless of the maximum penalty. Speak with your lawyer who can provide further guidance on how to put yourself in the best possible position to receive a non-conviction penalty when charged with a criminal or traffic offence. 

Commonwealth Offences

Commonwealth offences are offences which are committed against:The Criminal Code Act 1995 The Customs Act 1901 The Corporations Act 2001 
The following penalties apply to Commonwealth offences:

Non-Conviction Order

- A good behaviour bond 
- The most lenient penalty for Commonwealth Offences 
- May include conditions of rehabilitation or support 
- No conviction is recorded against your name

Conditional Release Order With Conviction 

- A good behaviour bond that has a conviction recorded against your name 
- May include conditions of rehabilitation or support

Recognizance Release Order 

- Includes a criminal conviction recorded against your name 
- A sentence of imprisonment where the court can impose one of the following: 

(a) That you be immediately released upon entering into a ‘recognizance’ requiring you to give the court a monetary security as a promise to comply with certain conditions imposed on you; or 
(b) That you be released after having served a portion of the total sentence. You can then be released upon entering into a recognizance requiring you to give the court a monetary security as a promise to comply with certain conditions imposed on you.

- An order or bond that imposes conditions upon you in the community 
- Conditions could include rehabilitation and community service 
- This is recorded as a criminal conviction against your name

Intensive Correction Order 

- Criminal conviction recorded against your name
- A sentence of full-time imprisonment 
- Can include a non-parole period where you will serve part of your sentence in the community on parole 
- Can include home detention

Reparation/Compensation Order 

- A monetary fine imposed by the court to compensate for any loss suffered or expense incurred by the victim 
- Usually imposed in addition to another penalty under Commonwealth Legislation 
- Can be imposed even if you receive a non-conviction penalty

Full-Time Imprisonment 

- A sentence of full-time imprisonment 
- Recorded as a criminal conviction against your name 
- Can include a non-parole period where you will serve part of your sentence in the community on parole 
- Can include home detention

The penalty you receive will depend on the specific charges and circumstances of your case. It is not always the case that you will receive a full-time imprisonment sentence, regardless of the maximum penalty. Speak with your lawyer who can provide further guidance on how to put yourself in the best possible position to receive a non-conviction penalty when charged with a criminal or traffic offence. 

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