(and, by the way, exactly what is a section 10?)
Everyone wants a s10. Everyone.
(Except me. Instead, I want a dollar for every time someone has said to me “can I get a section 10?”)
“Can you get a section 10 for drink driving?”
“Does section 10 apply for drugs?”
“My friend got a section 10, can I?”
Section 10 (or “s10”) means the offence has been made out (which is obvious if you plead guilty!) and the court has decided to dismiss the charge, and not convict the offender. A s10 can be conditional, or unconditional. Whether there is a condition, or not, attached to a s10, the accused still hears those 3 magic words: “no conviction recorded”.
An “unconditional discharge” means exactly what it says: there are no conditions attached. The charge is dismissed and the accused is free to go – that’s it. All over. No fine. No bond. No conviction. So if you hear the Magistrate say “this accused is being dealt with by way of s10(1)(a)” – stand up, bow to the Magistrate, and leave court – saving your cheering until you get outside!
A conditional discharge means the charge has been dismissed, and no conviction is being recorded, but the accused has to do something extra in order to keep their section 10 dismissal. The conditions are either enter into a good behaviour bond (which can be up to 2 years) OR participate in an intervention program (such as a drug or alcohol treatment program). You’ll hear the Magistrate say something like “this accused is being dealt with under section 10(1)(b)” (or “10(1)(c)”), before the Magistrate goes on to explain the bond or the intervention program you have to do.
If you get a good behaviour bond, you go straight from the court, to the registry, and sign the paperwork. You have now had your charge dismissed, but you must be of good behaviour for the length of the bond
If you receive a s10, conditional on undertaking the intervention program, you have to participate or you’ll be back before the court in breach of the condition on which they gave you the s10.
This is NOT legal advice. This is designed to take some of the mystery out of the law for ‘google-lawyers’. I repeat – it is not legal advice. But we hope it helps.
If you want us to represent you, the Local Court Lawyers are experts in all local court matters. We come to you, anywhere in NSW, but our head office is on the north coast: Coffs Harbour, Grafton, MacLean, Ballina, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah or Tweed local courts.