What is a sentence assessment report?

Posted by Justin Wong on 18 October 2018

A sentence assessment report is a report created by a community corrections officer, or a juvenile justice officer, to assist the court when sentencing someone. It is only applicable if the court is considering options other than full-time custody.

When is a sentence assessment report required?

  • If the court is considering imposing an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO);
  • If the court has imposed a sentence of imprisonment and is considering a home detention condition; and
  • Before imposing any community service condition, either under a Community Corrections Order or an Intensive Corrections Order.

For more information on the available sentencing options, see our Sentencing Options page.

What information will be in the report?

  • Your family and social circumstances;
  • Your education and employment;
  • Factors related to the offending, such as mental health, substance use and your financial situation;
  • Your willingness to undertake rehabilitation and supervision; and
  • An assessment of your risk of re-offending, your suitability for community service work and whether you would benefit from supervision.

What sources of information will the community corrections assessor consider?

The assessor will interview you and may contact your family, or someone such as a psychologist or employer, in order to verify information.

The assessor will also consider:

  • The police facts;
  • Your criminal history;
  • Your corrective services records; and
  • Any material you provide to corrective services, such as a psychologist report.

If you have been charged with an offence and a sentence assessment report has been ordered, it is likely that you are facing a serious sentence, and possibly full-time imprisonment. For more information about your sentencing options, please contact us on (02) 9025 9888 or via info@streetonlawyers.com.au.

What happens when I breach a Conditional Release Order

Posted by janelle.tarabay on 17 October 2018

When a person is sentenced to a Conditional Release Order, a formal “promise” is made to the court that an offender will abide by the conditions of the Order. The Order can be imposed for a period of up to two years.

It is a standard condition of a Conditional Release Order that an offender must not commit any further offences for the duration of the Order, and the offender must appear before a court if called upon to do so.

Additional conditions can also be imposed, which include:

  1. A condition requiring the offender to participate in a rehabilitation program or to receive treatment,
  2. A condition requiring abstention from alcohol and/or drugs,
  3. A non-association condition,
  4. A place restriction condition,
  5. A supervision condition by a Community Corrections Officer, and/or
  6. Any other condition that the court considers appropriate.

A person will be in breach of a Conditional Release Order if they are charged with committing a further offence, or detected for failing to comply with an additional condition, while the Order is in place.

If a Court believes a breach has occurred, then the court can call upon the offender to appear before the Court. If the offender fails to appear at Court on the specified date, then a warrant can be issued for the person’s arrest. It is therefore imperative that a Court registry is notified of any change in residential address during the period that the Conditional Release Order is in place.

What will happen in Court?

In dealing with the breach, the Court can make one of the following decisions:

  1. Take no action on the breach; or
  2. Vary or revoke any of the additional conditions, or impose further additional conditions; or
  3. Revoke the order and resentence the offender.

Before deciding which action to take, the court may order a Sentence Assessment Report.

If the Conditional Release Order is revoked, the court may resentence the offender and impose a more serious sentence, such as a Community Corrections Order, Intensive Corrections Order, or Full Time Custody. For more information, see our Sentencing Options page.

Alternatively, the court may resentence the offender to another Conditional Release Order, with varied or further additional conditions. If the Conditional Release Order was initially imposed without recording a conviction, a conviction will likely be recorded when the offender is resentenced as a result of a breach.

If you believe you may have breached your Conditional Release Order, contact one of our criminal lawyers for advice and a free initial consultation on (02) 9025 9888.

Streeton Lawyers Attends the 2018 International Criminal Law Congress

Posted by Justin Wong on 15 October 2018

Lawyers from Streeton Lawyers this month attended the 2018 Criminal Law Congress, held in Northern NSW. Speakers included the current and previous Chief Justices of the High Court, and judges, solicitors and barristers from all parts of Australia and New Zealand.

The Congress, over four days, dealt with various topics relevant to our clients including effective advocacy, updates in the law, ethics, and significant changes following the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse. Streeton Lawyers also took part in and helped lead a panel discussion on current issues facing practitioners in criminal law. This was a discussion about engaging with the media, and how client’s interests can be affected when the media is engaged.

As a firm, we take our responsibility to our clients and the wider legal profession seriously. Our lawyers are constantly updating their skills and knowledge, and we often contribute to education and discussion about current legal issues that impact our clients.

Can I avoid a criminal record for my drug offence?

Posted by Justin Wong on 05 October 2018

Over the October Long Weekend, 159 people were charged with drug offences at the Listen Out Festival. Prior to the festival the NSW Police sent out a warning via Facebook reminding attendees of their presence at the festival.

Listen Out and Defqon (which occurred 2 weeks prior and saw 69 people charged) signalled the start of the Summer Festival Season which sees hundreds if not thousands of people across NSW charged with drug offences every year.

Possession of Prohibited Drugs & Sentencing

154 of the people charged by police at Listen Out were charged with ‘possession of a prohibited drug’, this simply means that police found illegal drugs on them.

Previously, the most common sentence for first time offenders charged with possession of prohibited drugs was a ‘section 10 bond’. The official statistic from the NSW Judicial Commission being 51% of people who came before the court for the charge received a section 10 bond.  For previous drug offenders, the prospects of a section 10 were much lower at only 2.3%.

However, since the Sentencing Reforms commenced you can no longer simply ask the Magistrate for a section 10 bond. You now need to ask for a Community Release Order.

What is the difference between the old section 10 bond and the new Community Release Order

  1. If you are given a Community Release Order, you do not automatically avoid a criminal record. The Magistrate needs to specifically order that the Community Release Order be without conviction.
  2. A Community Release Order can be given with additional conditions. Namely:
    1. Supervision by community corrections,
    2. Participation in a rehabilitation program or treatment
    3. Abstention from alcohol or drugs
    4. Non-association with particular people; and/or
    5. Restriction on where you can go.
  1. In addition, the Magistrate can make the Community Release Order subject to any further condition they think is appropriate.

The potential positive consequence of the new Community Release Order, if argued properly, is that more people could avoid a criminal record as they would instead be serving more punishment with the additional conditions.

To speak with one of our lawyers about your drug possession matter and how best to present your case to avoid a conviction please contact us on (02) 9025 9888 or via info@streetonlawyers.com.au.

For more information on Community Release Orders or the new sentencing regime, see our Sentencing Options page.

Picture source: musicfeeds.com.au