Understand The Meaning of ‘Section 10’

Have you been accused of a crime and fear that a conviction will drastically impact your life? Section 10 enables the court to find you guilty without recording a conviction.

A conviction on your record can have a negative affect on your career and other areas such as your personal life. You may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed explaining what you did to a potential boss or new partner. So how can you avoid such an awkward scenario? Ask your lawyer about evoking Section 10.

What?
Specifically, Section 10 is Section 10  of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. As mentioned above, it allows you to be handed a guilty verdict without a conviction being recorded against your name. There are three types of Section 10 dismissals, the standard ‘Section 10’, the conditional dismissal with good behaviour bond and the conditional dismissal with a rehabilitation course. The first type will enable you to be dismissed without any additional requirements, whereas the latter two may require specific actions such as not committing any further crimes or participating in an intervention program.

When?

Section 10 can be applied to all offences provided the criteria is met. The court will take into account the circumstances and nature of the offence, as well as the person’s character, age and overall health (particularly mental health). Although most court’s will only use Section 10 dismissal for more ‘trivial’ crimes, it has been used in serious cases where long prison terms involved. What you may not know is that for certain traffic offences, you can receive multiple Section 10 dismissals within a five year period.

Where?

You will have to go to court to obtain a Section 10 dismissal.

How?
Receiving a Section 10 will require convincing the Court that is an appropriate course of action. To do so, you should have legal representation and, if necessary, instruct them to seek a dismissal. There are options available to those who cannot afford a lawyer, such as Legal Aid or community lawyers. While you should follow your legal counsel, stay informed about the process to ensure no steps or opportunities are being missed.

So now you know – there is a way you can avoid having to explain how and why you were charged with an offense. Keep it off the record by seeking a Section 10 dismissal. Once you have received the dismissal, you do not have disclose it to anyone.

For more information and to see some case studies for Section 10’s, click here.