Section 70NFC Family Law Act discusses community service as a penalty for contravention. When someone contravenes an order, there are several options for penalties. Further, a community service order allows offenders to stay out of prison and serve the community as a penalty.
According to Section 70NFC of the Family Law Act 1975, a community service order made will not exceed 500 hours. However, a community service ceases to have effect after 2 years of its making. Yet, this order can cease to have effect at a lesser period if it is specified in the order. This article will discuss community service orders under Section 70FNC of the Family Law Act below.
Community Work Orders
A community work order is a sentence that requires offenders to finish unpaid work that will benefit the community. Community work orders require offenders to:
- Follow all reasonable directions of the probation and parole officer
- Perform community work in a satisfactory manner
- Finish community work within the given time frame stated in the order
- Inform their officer if they change address within two working days
- Obey court conditions
It is an offender’s duty and responsibility to inform concerned people immediately if they can’t make it to work. Offenders will be required to present evidence such as a doctor’s certificate or letter from their employer.
Attendance Centre Order
Courts make this order to require young offenders to report to an attendance centre and place themselves in the custody of the Director. Additionally, these centres will require regular attendance from young offenders instead of going to prison.
These orders will require the contravening parent to attend post-separation programs. Post-separation programs are penalties for offenders who contravened a parenting order.
These orders allow offenders to stay with their families and friends, and continue to pursue their personal careers. Basically, these offenders can continue life normally while meeting the terms of the order.
Community supervision helps the community’s safety by administering a punishment within the context of constructive offender case management. A Community Corrections Officer (CCO) develops a case management plan for individual offenders in the community. Moreover, this plan is based upon an objective risk assessment.
Supervision in the community incorporates a range of intervention strategies. This requires the CCO to have regular contact with the offender, both at an office and in the offender’s home. Importantly, this includes contact with significant people in the offender’s life. Therefore, this officer will need to check and monitor compliance with the conditions of the court order.
Section 70NFC Family Law Act: Breaching A Community Service Order
Without reasonable excuses for non-compliance from the offender, the CCO may apply to revoke the community service order. This may result in the court reconsidering penalties for the offender. If an offender fails to meet the required number of hours, this will be defined as a breach of the order.
An offender can receive a summons if they fail to appear in court following the revocation of an order. A summons is an order to appear before a judge or magistrate. Failure to do so will result in the offender receiving a warrant of arrest.
Because a community service order is a relatively lenient punishment order, if the order is revoked due to a breach, another community service order will not be an option for a court.
If there is a breach of this order, the court may imprison the offender if that is considered an appropriate punishment for their original offence. Further, the court will also consider whether the offender is genuinely at fault for the breach.
Seeking Legal Representation
As mentioned, breaching a community service order may not be the offender’s fault. This gives them the chance to defend themselves in court if they have a reasonable excuse for the breach. Courts treat breaches of community service orders very seriously.
Hence, they may impose heavier penalties if there are no reasonable excuses for the breach. It will take a strong argument with a solicitor to convince the court to prevent heavier penalties.
Contact us for more information on this.