Avoid a criminal conviction on the grounds of mental or cognitive impairment (s.14 Application)
If you have committed a criminal offence and you were suffering from a mental condition (such as Depression) at the time you committed the offence you can avoid a criminal conviction if you make a successful s.14 application.
The Court will dismiss a criminal charge against you and will not convict you of the offence if you can show that at the time you committed the offence you were suffering from a mental condition or cognitive impairment and that it is more appropriate that you receive treatment for that condition than be punished for the offence.
If you are suffering from mental conditions such as Bi-Polar disorder, depression, ADHD, ADD, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and substance abuse you are eligible to apply for the charge to be dismissed under s.14 of the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020. You are also eligible to apply if you were suffering from a developmental disability or an acquired brain injury at the time of the offence.
For your s.14 application to succeed, the Court needs to be persuaded of two things: First, that you were suffering from the relevant mental condition or cognitive impairment at the time you committed the offence and second that it is more appropriate that the Court deal with you under the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act.
If your s.14 application is successful you will not receive a criminal conviction, the charge(s) will be dismissed, and nothing will be recorded on your criminal record (though section 14 orders may be taken into account by the magistrate if you re-offend). All you will be required to do is to observe a mental health treatment plan for 6 months. Typically the treatment plan will require you to take medication as prescribed and follow the advice of your treating psychologist or psychiatrist.
Section 14 applications are always supported by a psychiatric assessment or psychological report containing a treatment plan. North Shore Criminal Law has relationships with specialist Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are experienced in preparing reports and assessments in support of Section 14 applications. If you already have a treating psychologist or psychiatrist we can contact them to request that they provide a report in support of your s.14 Application.
If you are mentally ill at the time you appear before the magistrate you may be able to apply for a Section 33.
North Shore Criminal Law is available on our Emergency Service 24/7 on 0400 44 6424 or (02) 9955 2298 during office hours. The first telephone consultation you have with us is free. During this call we will advise you of your next steps, if it is appropriate for you to make a section 14 application.