Section 10 – avoiding a Criminal Conviction and a Criminal Record

North Shore Criminal Law has a very good track record of obtaining Section 10s for our clients.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of an offence you can usually expect to be convicted and the conviction will be recorded on your criminal record, unless you get a Section 10.

It is possible, particularly for a first offence, to avoid a criminal conviction even though you plead guilty or are found guilty of the offence if you successfully apply for a Section 10.

The Court has the power under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) to dismiss a charge without recording a conviction. If your lawyer can persuade the Court to exercise this power, this is known as ‘getting a Section 10.’

If you get a Section 10 you will not be convicted of the offence and you will not be otherwise punished for the offence. For example, you will not be fined, and you will not be disqualified from driving.

Everyone wants a to get a Section 10, but not all those who ask for a Section 10 get one. In our experience the following matters maximise your prospects of getting a Section 10.

  • Being legally represented in Court by a competent and confident solicitor who is known to the Magistrate;
  • Thorough preparation of your case, so that the extenuating circumstances forming the basis of the Section 10 submission can be clearly and compellingly put to the Court;
  • Making sure you get the full discount available for a plea of guilty;
  • Obtaining appropriate amendments to the Police Facts so that the Police Facts do not contain inaccuracies or overstate what you are willing to admit;
  • Negotiating a favourable plea deal with the Police or prosecutorial authority to have charges either withdrawn altogether or replaced with less serious charges;
  • Obtaining evidence directly relevant to the Section 10 submission such as character references, photographs, expert medical reports, travel itineraries, visa requirements, eligibility requirement for various professions, and commendations;
  • You are wearing appropriate clothing and having the appropriate demeanour (we can advise you in this regard);
  • Your lawyer successfully gauging the mood of the Judge or Magistrate;
  • Having family members or friends present with you in Court;
  • Your lawyer knowing when they have said enough (sometimes lawyers can talk a Magistrate out of giving a Section 10).

Amendments to Section 10.

If you have been charged with an offence, or are seeking further information on a Criminal or Traffic legal matter, call North Shore Criminal Law on (02) 9955 2298 or our 24 Hour Emergency Service on 0400 44 64 24.