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QLD CRIMINAL PENALTIES

ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE

This is where you are released without a conviction being recorded and without any other penalty.

 

SECTION 190 ORDER

This type of Order only applies if a Magistrates Court convicts you of a property offence. The Court can release you without imposing a sentence if you pay an amount ordered by the court. The amount ordered by the Court can be for damages and any costs.

 

BONDS (RECOGNISANCE ORDERS)

There are various types of Bonds the Court can impose, some of which are discussed below. The Court can set a monetary amount of money you may have to pay if you breach a bond.

 

SECTION 19 BOND

The Court can sentence you to a Section 19 Bond if you are convicted of an indictable offence or a summary offence.

There is no conviction recorded for these bonds.

This type of Bond is where you are released into the community for a period on the condition you agree to be of “good behaviour” (meaning they cannot break the law). The maximum period of one of these bonds can be for is 3 years. If you break the law, you can be ordered to appear before the court to be convicted and sentenced. Besides being of good behaviour, the Court can impose other conditions, such as requiring you to attend a drug education session.

 

SECTION 21 BOND FOR PROPERTY RELATED OFFENCES

When you are being sentenced for a property related offence, the Court can adjourn your sentence hearing up to 6 months subject to you entering a Bond. The Bond requires you to appear before the Court to be sentenced at a stated date or if you are called on by the Court to do so before this time. Conditions of the Bond can include requiring you to:

  • give back property subject of the charge to the person who lawfully owns it.
  • restore property subject of the charge.
  • pay compensation to the person who has suffered because of damage they caused to the person’s property.

SECTION 30 BOND-CONVICITON ON INDICTMENT

If you are convicted on indictment (i.e. in the District or Supreme Court) you may be sentenced to a Bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a fixed period. The Bond can be in addition to any other penalty imposed by the Court. You can be imprisoned up to 1 year until you have entered into the Bond.

 

SECTION 31 BOND

If you are convicted summarily of an offence you may be sentenced to a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of up to 1 year.

 

FINE 

A fine is a monetary penalty decided by the Court. The Court will give you a time to pay the fine. In deciding the amount of the fine, the Court must consider your financial circumstances. Fines are often referred to the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry (SPER) who collect the money on behalf of the government.

A conviction can be recorded where the Court gives a person a fine.

The court can give a person one fine for multiple offences.

 

PROBATION

A Probation Order is referred to as a “community-based order”. This means the Order allows you to remain in the community, as opposed to being sent to prison. Courts can use a Probation Order as an alternative to a prison sentence, or with a prison sentence. This means you may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment and when you are released from prison you are on a Probation Order.

If you are sentenced to a Probation Order you will be supervised by the Department of Corrective Services.

 

The Court can only make a probation order if a person is sentenced for an offence punishable by imprisonment, or for a regulatory offence.

 

A Probation Order can only be made if you agree to the conditions of it. The Magistrate or Judge will read out the conditions of the Order and ask you if you agree to abide by them.

 

The Probation Order will be for a defined period. If you are not sentenced to a prison sentence and probation, then the minimum period the order can be for is 6 months and the maximum is 3 years. If you are sentenced to a prison sentence and probation, then the minimum period the order can be for is 9 months and the maximum is 3 years.

 

Is a conviction recorded for a Probation Order?

If the Court makes a Probation Order, the Court does not need to record a conviction.

 

What are the Conditions of a Probation Order?

 

The mandatory conditions of a Probation Order are:

 

(a) you must not commit another offence;

(b) you must report to an authorised corrective services officer at the place, and within the time, stated in the order;

(c) you must report to, and receive visits from an authorised corrective services officer as directed by the officer;

(d) you must take part in counselling and satisfactorily attend other programs as directed by the court or an authorised corrective services officer during the period of the order;

(e) you must notify an authorised corrective services officer each time you change your home address or where you work within 2 business days after the change happens;

(f) you must not leave or stay out of Queensland without the permission of an authorised corrective services officer; and

(g) you must comply with every reasonable direction of an authorised corrective services officer.

 

The Court can include any other conditions it thinks it needs to in order to try to:

(a) cause you to behave in a way acceptable to the community.

(b) prevent you from committing the same offence for which you were sentenced to the Probation Order.

(c) prevent you from committing more offences.

 

If you have mental health issues, the Court may make a condition for you to complete counselling with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

 

What happens if you breach a Probation Order?

 

If you do not comply with the Probation Order and do not have a reasonable excuse, you can be fined. In addition to being fined, you can be returned to Court and be sentenced for breaching the order. This can involve you being re-sentenced for the offences for which you were originally placed on the order. This means the Court will give you another penalty. When re-sentencing you, the Court must consider your compliance with the Probation Order when deciding on the new penalty to give you.

 

COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDERS

A Community Service Order requires you to perform unpaid community service within 12 months, unless the Court states a different period. The Order must be for a minimum of 40 hours and it cannot be for more than 240 hours.

The Court can only make a Community Service Order if:

  • you are being sentenced for an offence punishable by imprisonment, or you are being sentenced for a regulatory offence; and
  • you agree to the Order being made.

 

Is a conviction recorded for a Community Service Order?

The Court does not need to record a conviction for a Community Service Order.

 

What are the conditions of a Community Service Order?

The conditions of a Community Service Order are, you must:

1. Not commit another offence/

  1. Report to the corrective services office stated in the Order and by the time stated.
  2. Report to the corrective services office as and when directed by an authorised corrective services officer.
  3. Receive visits from an authorised corrective services officer as and when directed by the officer.
  1. Perform the community service in a satisfactory way as directed by an authorised corrective services officer.
  1. Notify the authorised corrective services officer if you change your residential address or change jobs within 2 days of the change.
  1. Not leave Queensland without the permission of an authorised corrective services officer.
  1. Comply with each reasonable direction of an authorised corrective services officer.

 

If you are sentenced for more than 1 offence, the Court can make more than 1 Community Service Order. However, the total hours of the Orders when added together cannot exceed 240 hours.

 

When does the Community Service Order End?

 

A Community Service Order ends:

  1. If you complete the number of hours of community service stated in the Order; or
  1. If you are sentenced or further sentenced for the offence for which the Order was made; or
  1. If the Order is revoked.

 

What happens if you do not comply with a Community Service Order?

 

It is an offence to contravene a Community Service Order without a reasonable excuse for which you can be fined. Besides being fined, if you do not comply with the Order, the Court can revoke it. If the Court revokes your order, the Court can re-sentence you for the offence for which they made the Community Service Order. When the Court re-sentences you, it must consider how much you complied with the Order when determining your new penalty.

 

INTENSIVE CORRECTION ORDER (ICO)

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 1 year or less, the Court can make an Intensive Correction Order, rather than sending you to prison. This means you serve your term of imprisonment in the community and you are subject to the Order for the time of your sentence.

The Probation and Parole Office supervises you in the community while you are subject to the Order. The Order is like a Probation and Community Service Order combined. If you are subject to an Intensive Correction Order, you can expect to:

  • report to the Probation and Parole Officer at least 2 times a week.
  • report to and receive visits from the Probation and Parole Officer.
  • attend programs and/or counselling as directed.
  • complete up to 12 hours community service each week as directed by the Probation and Parole Officer.

If the Court makes an Intensive Correction Order, it must record a conviction.

An Intensive Correction Order can only be made if you agree to the Order being made.

 

What happens if you do not comply with an Intensive Correction Order?

 

If you fail to comply with the Intensive Correction Order, the Court can revoke the Order and order you to serve in prison the time you have remaining on the Order.

 

SUSPENDED TERM OF IMPRISONMENT (SUSPENDED SENTENCE) 

 

If the Court sentences you to a term of imprisonment of 5 years or less, it can suspend part of it (a partially suspended sentence), or all of it (a wholly suspended sentence). If the Court suspends part of your sentence, this means you will serve some time in prison. If the Court wholly suspends your sentence (meaning all of it), then you will not go to prison.

When the Court sentences you to a suspended sentence, it must set an “operational period”. This is the time (expressed as months or years) you must not commit any offence punishable by imprisonment. If you commit any offence where imprisonment is a potential penalty, you will be in breach of the Order.

 

What happens if you commit an offence punishable by imprisonment during the operational period of the suspended sentence?

 

If you commit any offence punishable by a term of imprisonment, you will breach your suspended sentence.

 

If the Court sentences you for breaching a suspended sentence, the starting point for the Court is to order you to serve the whole of the balance of your suspended sentence in prison. The caveat for this, is

the Court is not to make such an Order if it would be unjust to do so.

 

There are various factors the Court must have regard to when deciding if it is unjust to order you to serve the balance of your sentence in prison. The law says when a Court decides if it would be unjust to make you serve the balance of your sentence in prison, it must consider:

 

  1. Whether the new offence is trivial when considering:
  • the nature of the offence and the circumstances in which it was committed.
  • the proportion between your culpability for the subsequent offence and the consequence of activating the whole of the suspended imprisonment.
  • your antecedents and your criminal history.
  • the prevalence of the original and breaching offences
  • anything showing you have made a genuine effort at rehabilitation since the Court made the suspended sentence. For example, have you been out of trouble for a long time while on the suspended sentence?; if you have completed any community service; if you have paid any fines, compensation or restitution and anything in a pre-sentence report.
  • the degree to which you reverted to criminal conduct of any kind; and
  • your motivation for committing the breaching offence.

 

  1. The seriousness of the offence you were placed on the suspended sentence. This includes any physical or emotional harm you caused to a victim and any damage, injury or loss you caused as a consequence of committing the offence.
  1. Any special circumstance that was not present at the time you were sentenced to the suspended sentence that may make it unjust to order you serve the whole of the suspended sentence.

 

IMPRISONMENT WITH ACTUAL TIME IN PRISON

 

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment which is not suspended, the Court should set a parole release date or a parole eligibility date.

 

Parole Release Date – a certain date you will be released from prison.

 

Parole Eligibility Date – a date when you are eligible to apply to the parole board to be released onto parole. Unlike a parole release

date, there is no certainty when you will be released from prison.

 

When Can You Get a Parole Release Date?

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 years or less and the offence is not a sexual offence or a serious violent offence, the Court can set a Parole Release Date.  

 

When Can you get a Parole Eligibility Date?

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than 3 years and the offence is not a sexual offence or a serious violent offence, the Court must set a Parole Eligibility Date.  

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a sexual offence or a serious violent offence the Court must set a must set a Parole Eligibilty Date.