Criminal Offence

criminal offence

What penalties are available to a Magistrate or Judge for a criminal offence? What are the influencing factors which determine the penalty to be handed out?

In NSW, the list of penalties that may be handed out in criminal offences are contained in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW). The penalty which is imposed depends on a range of factors, including:

  • The seriousness of your offence;
  • Which court your charge is heard in;
  • The charge which ultimately is sought by the police; and
  • How persuasive you or your lawyer are in court, including remorse.

There are six main purposes of sentencing which a Judge or Magistrate will have regard to when deciding on your penalty. Depending on the charge and circumstances of your offence some factors hold more weight than others.

  • Punishment
  • Deterrence
  • Protection of the community
  • Recognising harm to the victim and community
  • Accountability
  • Rehabilitation

Penalties which may be imposed range from dismissal through to full time imprisonment.

The best outcome for a defendant is a dismissal. This carries no conviction, allowing you to continue your life as normal. Other penalties include a Conditional Release Order, which allows a defendant to continue their life as normal with certain conditions. Breach of these conditions could have serious consequences.

You could also receive a fine, which may accompany another penalty. You could receive a Community Corrections Order (CCO) or an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). A CCO is less serious than an ICO. An ICO is usually imposed where imprisonment is considered but not imposed. The most serious penalty which could be imposed is full time imprisonment.

If you are charged with a criminal offence it is important to seek legal advice. We specialise in criminal law advocacy in Sydney and Melbourne.

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