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Avoiding a conviction

‘Section 10’ refers to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act. It allows a court that finds you guilty of an offence to discharge you without recording a conviction. This can be with or without a good behaviour bond and means there is no conviction on your record and you get your licence back immediately.

A section 10 dismissal is more likely to occur for low range PCA offences where the defendant has a very limited criminal and traffic record. There is a guideline judgement which explains why section 10 is rarely appropriate in high range PCA matters – this is discussed below. Section 203 of the Road Transport Act also says that a person cannot be dealt with under section 10 if they have already received a section 10 for similar traffic matters at any time within the past five years.

Some of the factors that the court must consider under section 10 are:

  • The persons character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition
  • The trivial nature of the offence
  • The extenuating circumstances in which the offence took place

Other factors that can affect the likelihood of a section 10 include:

  • Whether you were stopped for a random breath test or as a result of your driving
  • Whether there were any other offences committed at the same time
  • The distance that you drove and your reason for driving
  • If you had passengers in the vehicle at the time you drove
  • How soon after the offence you entered a plea of guilty
  • If you would be significantly inconvenienced if you lost your licence

The chances of having your matter dismissed under section 10 will always be in increased if your plea is well prepared and presented by an experienced lawyer.

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