One Friday night, John Doe decided to go out for drinks with his mates to celebrate the end of a tough week of work. Unwilling to leave his car at the office, he decides to take a chance and drive into the city and drive himself home after. “One drink won’t hurt”, John Doe tells himself. Besides, he worked hard – he deserved it!
One drink turns into two, and by the end of the night, John Doe’s had a bit too much to drink. “I’m fine, it’s late and there won’t be any police or cars around at this time of night”, he tells himself.
John Doe’s five minutes away from home, when suddenly he hears sirens closing in. He looks into his rear-view mirror – police. “It’s been almost an hour since my last drink, a RBT reading won’t show anything”. Wrong. The police charge John Doe with mid-range PCA after he blew 0.10 on his RBT.
John Doe’s in disbelief – he’s never been charged with anything before! Filled with regret, he hops online to research what a mid-range PCA conviction would involve. He finds out that if convicted, he could receive a hefty fine and, worse, be disqualified from driving for up to 6 months and then partake in an interlock order 12 months after regaining his licence.
John Doe starts to stress – his office is an hours’ drive away and not easily accessible by public transport. John Doe is also responsible for taking his children to childcare and school every morning. Being disqualified would have an enormous negative impact on his family and his routine.
Expressing his regret to his lawyer friend, his friend explains to him what a “Section 10” is and the power it holds.
Section 10 of the Crimes Act (NSW)
Section 10 of the Crimes Act, or known in criminal law simply as a “Section 10” is the discretionary power of the Court to dismiss an accused of a charge without recording a conviction. This means that there is no criminal conviction, the accused will not have a criminal record to their name.
Should the Court grant John Doe a Section 10, this means he may:
- Not have a criminal record;
- Not lose his licence;
- Not have to partake in an interlock;
- Not have to pay the penalty.
Whilst a Section 10 dismissal’s greatest power is the ability to dismiss a licence disqualification and not leave a criminal record, the Court may not dismiss the accused entirely without any conditional orders.
The Court still holds the power to order that the accused:
- Enter into a Good Behaviour Bond; and/or
- Participate in an intervention plan
Additionally, if the accused is found to have breached their Good Behaviour Bond or intervention plan, the Court will revoke their Section 10 dismissal and convict them accordingly.
Is a Section 10 easy to obtain?
No! As a Section 10 dismissal is discretionary, it is entirely up to the Court to determine whether the accused has satisfied the strict considerations to show that they are worthy of being granted a Section 10.
The difficulty in obtaining a Section 10 dismissal is dependent on the severity of the charge.
Factors the Court will consider
When determining whether the Court should find it inexpedient to punish the accused for the charge, there are several factors that the Court will consider.
- The person’s character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition;
- The trivial nature of the offence;
- The extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed; and
- Any other matter that the Court thinks proper to consider.
The Right Legal Representation
As a Section 10 is difficult to obtain, having the right legal representation to defend you against the charges is crucial.
JB Solicitors has a wealth of experience in dealing with DUI charges which have resulted in numerous Section 10 dismissals. JB Solicitors has represented numerous John Doe’s over the years with successful results, and your matter will be treated no differently.
Contact our office today on (02) 9723 8080 to discuss your options.