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In New South Wales (NSW), some offences and circumstances may result in the court giving less severe penalties. One of these less severe penalties is the conditional release order (CRO).
In this article, we will be looking at many aspects of the conditional release order. This includes the circumstances that can attract a conditional release order and the benefits of a conditional release order.
Also, we will be considering the penalties of breaking the conditions of a conditional release order. However, we need to define a conditional release order before going into these areas.
Whether or not a conditional release order (CRO) shows up on a Police Check depends on the type of CRO you get.
A conditional release order involves the court releasing an offender under specific terms instead of imposing a fine or giving an imprisonment sentence. Consequently, this means that the court cannot issue a conditional release order along with a fine or imprisonment term.
For the court to decide whether to give a conditional release order, it will have to consider some factors. Some of these factors include:
The court can decide to give a convict a conditional release based on their character. Determining an offender's character may require checking to see if they have any criminal record.
The court could issue a conditional release order if the offender is underaged or well advanced in age.
An offender with health conditions might receive a conditional release order. This is to ensure that they do not end up in a critical situation.
The mental health of an offender can result in the court issuing a conditional release order. This is to ensure that the offender gets the necessary treatments that they need.
Also, the court will have to look into the kind of crime the offender committed. If it is a trivial offence, this might help the court decide on giving a conditional release order.
Furthermore, there may be a need to examine the circumstances under which the offender committed the crime.
In New South Wales, conditional release orders came into effect on the 24th of September 2018, replacing the good behaviour bond legislation. Before the amendment, the good behaviour bond was present under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW).
Now the conditional release order is evident in Section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) and is still in effect to date.
There are several conditions that an offender must abide by when they receive a conditional release order. Breaching these conditions could lead to the court giving stricter penalties.
According to Section 98 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), there are standard conditions that often accompany conditional release orders. These conditions are:
Also, additional conditions could come with a conditional release order. The court gives these other conditions depending on the peculiarity of the case.
Under the additional conditions, the court could order that the offender goes through a rehabilitation program or a specific treatment.
The court can also direct that the offender abstains from alcohol or any intoxicating substance at the time of the conditional release order.
Furthermore, the court may prohibit the offender from associating with particular individuals or visiting some places. They may also have to submit themself for supervision at particular periods.
If the offender is below the age of 18, the community correction officer in charge of the offender must work with a juvenile justice officer.
Also, the law specifies some additional conditions that the court cannot impose upon a conditional release order.
These additional conditions include home detention, curfew, community service and electronic monitoring.
According to Section 99 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), the court may be unable to impose a supervision order under a specific circumstance. This circumstance has to do with the offender residing or intending to reside in another state or territory.
It is essential to note that the court can revoke certain conditions under the additional conditions. The court also has the power to impose other conditions. Furthermore, a sentencing court has the authority to determine how long a condition on a conditional release order will be in effect.
A non-association and place restriction order are among the additional conditions regarding a conditional release order. However, according to Section 100A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, the court does not usually give an offender the order of not associating with a close family member.
However, suppose the court believes that a family member and the offender have been involved in a pattern of crime. In that case, it may order an offender not to associate with the family member. This is to ensure that the offender does not commit a similar crime for which they face charges.
This legislation defines a close family member as a spouse, de facto partner, children, parents or grandparents. It could also mean a brother, sister, guardian, stepbrother and stepsister.
Also, section 100A of the Act explains the aspect of the place restriction order. Getting a place restriction order means an offender must not frequent or visit certain places.
However, some places that the court may exclude are the residents of close family members, a place of employment. It may also be an educational institution where the offender had enrolled.
Furthermore, the court may allow the offender to frequent their place of worship, anywhere they go to receive health services or a place to get legal assistance. The legal services must be from an Australian legal practitioner based on this legislation.
It is vital to note that the court may issue an order that restricts an offender from frequenting the places mentioned above. This is if the court believes it could lead to the offender committing a similar crime for which they face charges.
Additionally, health service refers to medical, hospital paramedical, dental, environmental, and ambulance services under this legislation. It could also be any other services relating to staying healthy or fit. This may be for the prevention of disease or restoration to health.
Under Section 100B of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), the court must explain every aspect of the non-association and place restriction orders. This explanation must be in the language that the offender understands.
These aspects have to do with the obligations of an offender and the penalties for failing to comply with the obligations.
Based on Section 100C of the Act, the non-association or place restriction order comes into effect immediately after the court issues the order.
If there was an appeal to include the non-association or place restriction order, then the order becomes effective after the court has confirmed the appeal.
If the offender is under lawful custody, then the non-association or place restriction order becomes suspended. This legislation is present in Section 100D of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW).
According to Section 100E of the Act, it is an offence for an offender to contravene the non-association or place restriction orders unjustifiably. Breaking the non-association or place restriction order is punishable by a maximum of 10 penalty units or six months imprisonment or both.
If an offender breaks the non-association order, they can defend themself by claiming that the offence was unintentional. Also, if they face charges for violating the place restriction order, they could argue that they obtained permission from the court.
Furthermore, an offender with a non-association or place restriction order may commit a new offence. In that case, the court may vary or revoke the non-association or the place restriction order considering the penalties for the new offence.
Under Section 100G of the Act, an offender can apply for a variation or revocation of a non-association or a place restriction order in a local court.
Upon receiving the application, the local court can decide to entertain the application. However, the court can also reject the application if it is frivolous or vexatious.
According to Section 100H of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), it is an offence to broadcast the name of any person involved in a non-association order apart from some personalities.
Some of these personalities include the offender, the individual with whom the court prohibits an offender from associating with any member of the NSW police force. Any person who commits this offence may receive the maximum punishment of 10 penalty units.
Breaching the conditions on a conditional release order can result in a court summon. After that, the court will review the breach of the order, and the court may revoke the conditional release order.
Revoking the conditional release order would mean giving a different penalty which could be more severe. It could also lead to the court adding more conditions.
However, there are some cases where the court might take no action regarding the breach of contract if the offender has a justifiable explanation. Also, the court might not punish a breach if it considers it trivial.
Failure to obey a court summons can lead to the court issuing an arrest to appear before the court.
A breach of a conditional release order may lead to a criminal offence which will show up on a national police check.
According to Section 95 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedures) Act 1999 (NSW), the maximum period for a conditional release order is two years. During this period, the offender must comply with the conditions imposed. Failure to do so can attract severe penalties.
An offender or a community correctional officer can apply for the modification of a condition on a conditional release order. After application, the court can decide to add or revoke a particular condition. The court could also reject the application.
A conditional release order provides an offender with a lenient punishment for their crime. Among many other things, getting a conditional release order eliminates the penalties of a fine or an imprisonment sentence.
Most importantly, a conditional release order prevents an offender from having a criminal record.
There are some offences that the court can consider to be trivial. Trivial offences often attract the conditional release order. Among these trivial offences is traffic crimes in NSW.
In New South Wales (NSW), it is a crime for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration beyond zero gram. For those with a low alcohol level in their bloodstream, the court can issue a conditional release order.
Another crime that may carry a conditional release order is attempting to operate a vehicle while intoxicated in NSW. Other driving offences include reckless driving, going beyond the speed limit. If an individual gets a conditional release order for committing a driving offence, they can still retain their license.
Several offences could lead to the court giving a less severe punishment, such as the conditional release order. However, committing these offences does not guarantee that a person will get a conditional release order.
It takes an experienced legal practitioner to increase the chances of the court giving a conditional release order. The lawyer may present the court with a letter of apology to improve these chances. The attorney could also show the court a report from mental health professionals or counsellors.
Therefore, it is in the best interest of any person facing legal issues to employ the service of a legal practitioner. This will help them to get a sound result.
Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) - https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1999-092
Judicial Commission of NSW (Sentencing Benchbook - Conditional release orders (CROs)) - https://www.judcom.nsw.gov.au/publications/benchbks/sentencing/conditional_release_orders.html
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