Section 10 dismissals and Conditional Release Orders for Drink Driving (No Criminal Record or Disqualification)
Pleading guilty to a drink driving offence usually means that you will get a criminal record, a fine, and be disqualified from driving for a certain period of time.
Under a non conviction order, you admit guilt, but don’t get a criminal conviction recorded against you.
This means you also avoid a fine, or being disqualified from driving.
Whether or not you will be able to obtain a non conviction order is largely dependent on your circumstances, and the skill and experience of your lawyer.
Sydney Criminal lawyers® has a proven track record of getting non conviction orders for our clients when other lawyers often fail.
What is a non conviction order?
A non conviction order is a section of the Crimes Act 1999 (NSW), which gives the court the power to:
- Discharge a person into a good behaviour bond of two years or less
- Discharge a person into an intervention program
- Dismiss the charges completely
Under a non conviction order, you will have no criminal conviction, no fine and no disqualification from driving.
Who is eligible for a non conviction order?
To get a non conviction order, you must plead guilty. You can qualify for a non conviction order in criminal and driving offences, but there are a number of factors the court will take into account:
- How serious the offence is
- Whether there are any ‘extenuating circumstances’ ie unusual reasons for driving
- Your history, age, mental state, health and character
- Your need for a licence or your need to stay conviction-free for your job or future career.
Does my charge have to be less serious in order to qualify for a non conviction order?
There is a higher chance that you will get a non conviction order if you have a less-serious drink driving offence such as low or mid range pca, but there are many cases where our lawyers have been able to get non conviction orders for much more serious offences such as high range pca.
- One of the main considerations the court will take into account when deciding whether to award a non conviction order is the impact on the person’s future employment prospects and their ability to conduct their current work duties, especially if they are required to drive from place to place on a daily basis.
What are ‘extenuating circumstances’?
Extenuating circumstances are unusual situations or events which can partially explain why someone committed an offence.
They don’t excuse the behaviour, or conduct, but they can provide an explanation and a context.
If there are extenuating circumstances in your case, it can help you obtain a non conviction order.
So for example, if you had to drive due to a medical emergency or to get away from a dangerous situation this would be an extenuating circumstances that could help you to get a non conviction order.
How do I improve my chances of a non conviction order?
There are a number of things you can do, or make the court aware of, in order to heighten your chances of getting a non conviction order, including:
- Experiencing difficult events leading up to the offence being committed.
If there were extenuating circumstances you can provide notes to your lawyer which they can use to argue your case before court
- Demonstrating that you have taken measures to address any issues which contributed to the offence being committed such as seeing a counsellor, attending an anger management course or seeking drug and alcohol treatment.
Your lawyer can obtain a report for you which they can present before the court
- Demonstrating that you have good character by preparing up to three character references to give to the magistrate
Showing that you pleaded guilty early on demonstrates that you have accepted responsibility for your offence, and feel remorse.
If you are facing a driving offence, attending a traffic offender program can help your chances of getting a non conviction order.
Why our drink driving lawyers?
At Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers, we are proud of our track record at getting non conviction orders when other lawyers have failed.
We understand how a criminal conviction can impact on your travel prospects, your employment prospects, and your psychological wellbeing, and we will fight on your behalf to help prevent this happening.
We work hard and prepare thoroughly for our cases.
We also have extensive knowledge of drink driving laws, and are experienced and familiar with magistrates and judges.
We can present your case persuasively in court, as well as help you find the assistance you need, from character references to counselling.
We can also help you find and enrol in traffic assistance programs, which will give you the best possible chance when it comes to sentencing.
We know how important keeping your driving licence is when it comes to employment and family commitments.
We are the only criminal law firm who provides an Accredited Specialist guarantee, so you can be confident that you will only be represented by the best in court, including on the day of your sentencing, rather than a junior or non-accredited criminal lawyer.
We also offer fixed fees for many of our services.