What is a Section 10 for a drink driving charge?

Section 10 is a particular section under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 which is the legislation in New South Wales that looks at the various penalties and sentences that the Court has at its disposal in relation to criminal offences.

Where an offender pleads guilty or is found guilty by the Court then the law of section 10 allows the Court to deal with a criminal offence (such as drink driving) in such a way where the Court does not have to record a criminal conviction, disqualify an offenders licence or issue a fine (financial penalty).

Known as the “holy grail” of penalties and sentences for a criminal guilty plea in New South Wales it should be known that a section 10 DUI NSW is sought by many but only awarded to a few.

Generally, there are 3 different types of Section 10 DUI NSW sentences that the Court can hand down, which include:

Section 10(1)(a) – this is a dismissal of the criminal charges before the Court. This is the hardest result to obtain but the most sought after since it is a complete discharge of the offence with no consequences following from the Court decision.

Section 10(1)(b) – this is the most common use of the Section 10 since it enables the Courts to not record a conviction, not issue a licence disqualification and not issue a fine. But the Court is capable of putting in place a Good Behaviour Bond for a period of up to 2 years. If the offender breaks the law again within the period under which they are on the good behaviour bond then the Court may call up the breach of bond and they could be re-sentence on the charge which was dealt with under section 10(1)(b).

Section 10(1)(c) – generally not as commonly used in the local courts for drink driving offences but basically this section enables the Court to conditionally discharge the offender on the basis that they complete or perform some sort of intervention program as determined by the Court.
So as you can see there are a number of options available to the Court to use its discretion under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. But suffice to say that Section 10 allows offenders to avoid the effects of a criminal conviction and the loss of a drivers licence not to mention a financial penalty.

What the laws says under Section 10?

Dismissal of charges and conditional discharge of offender
10 Dismissal of charges and conditional discharge of offender

(1) Without proceeding to conviction, a court that finds a person guilty of an offence may make any one of the following orders:
(a) an order directing that the relevant charge be dismissed,
(b) an order discharging the person on condition that the person enter into a good behaviour bond for a term not exceeding 2 years,
(c) an order discharging the person on condition that the person enter into an agreement to participate in an intervention program and to comply with any intervention plan arising out of the program.

(2) An order referred to in subsection (1) (b) may be made if the court is satisfied:
(a) that it is inexpedient to inflict any punishment (other than nominal punishment) on the person, or
(b) that it is expedient to release the person on a good behaviour bond.

(2A) An order referred to in subsection (1) (c) may be made if the court is satisfied that it would reduce the likelihood of the person committing further offences by promoting the treatment or rehabilitation of the person.
(2B) Subsection (1) (c) is subject to Part 8C.

(3) In deciding whether to make an order referred to in subsection (1), the court is to have regard to the following factors:
(a) the person’s character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition,
(b) the trivial nature of the offence,
(c) the extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed,
(d) any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.

(4) An order under this section has the same effect as a conviction:
(a) for the purposes of any law with respect to the revesting or restoring of stolen property, and
(b) for the purpose of enabling a court to give directions for compensation under Part 4 of the Victims Compensation Act 1996 , and
(c) for the purpose of enabling a court to give orders with respect to the restitution or delivery of property or the payment of money in connection with the restitution or delivery of property.

(5) A person with respect to whom an order under this section is made has the same right to appeal on the ground that the person is not guilty of the offence as the person would have had if the person had been convicted of the offence.

Can I get a Section 10 DUI in NSW?

There are a number of subjective and objective issues that can hep a person achieve a Section 10 result in Court, these include but are not limited to:

  • Persons age, character, traffic history, physical health & mental condition;
  • Whether the drink driving offence is of a trivial nature;
  • If there are significant extenuating circumstances;
  • Any other relevant issues.

The seriousness of the offence before the Court can certainly effect a persons chances of getting a Section 10. Issues such as the level of blood alcohol and whether any aggravating features exist can definitely play a major role in whether or not a Court decides to exercise its discretion under Section 10.

In addition, a persons traffic history will be another major factor in the Court decision to award a Section 10. If it is an average to poor traffic history then this will work against the offenders chances of pleading for a Section 10.

Finally, persuasive submissions to the Court which may give a better insight into some extenuating circumstances which was the cause for the offender finding themselves before the Court. Such submissions can be persuasively presented to tilt the Magistrates decision in awarding the offender a Section 10. This is obviously where a good quality drink driving lawyer can be invaluable in having the good advocate skills and knowledge in seeking a Section 10 result for their client.

How can I help my chances of a Section 10 DUI NSW?

As mentioned above if you are serious about increasing your chances for obtaining a Section 10 or evening getting the best result possible for your type of drink driving offence then you really need to consider obtaining the services of a good quality traffic and criminal lawyer.

An experienced drink driving lawyer will have the insight into the attitudes and styles of various different Magistrates who run the Court in New South Wales. This knowledge can be an extremely helpful advantage when preparing your case and presenting it to the Court.

Additional things that can help you obtain a Section 10 is the completion of a Traffic Offender Intervention Program, referral to a psychologist for treatment of certain mental disorders, well drafted character references and various other types of material or evidence which can enlighten the Court as to why it was you found yourself to be in charge of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol reading over the legal limit.

Certainly, a good quality drink driving lawyer can take the reins on the case preparation by advising the offender and also putting in place strategic steps in ensuring that the Court is receptive to every element of the case that is presented to the Court.

Be wary of what people say about Section 10

When it comes to criminal proceedings, especially in the Local Courts in New South Wales, the term “Section 10” is thrown around quite a lot. Many people who have been charge with a criminal offence such as drink driving speak to their friends, the police or other people who may suggest to them that they should try and get a Section 10.

The reason why a Section 10 result is considered the “holy grail” of pleading guilty for a criminal offence is because the Court does not record a criminal conviction nor does it hand down any fines, penalties or sentences, in most circumstances. But the myth that should be dispelled is that anyone who gets caught drink driving can easily get a Section 10 DUI NSW when there matter goes before a Court.

In fact quite to the contrary, Courts will only sparingly hand down a Section 10 for certain matters where there are exceptional extenuating circumstances involved or where the subjective and objective features of the matter strongly mitigate the offenders position in the eyes of the Court and the community.

You should be extremely wary of any lawyer or any person who says that they guarantee that you can get a Section 10 DUI dismissal of your matter. This is because the stark reality of receiving a Section 10 DUI NSW dismissal is completely up to the Magistrate or Judges discretion in the Court that your matter is before. http://sydneydrinkdriving.com.au/section-10-dui-nsw/There is no hard and fast rule where some matters are eligible and some are not eligible for a Section 10.

Certainly, having a quality traffic lawyer on your side can definitely help you put your best foot forward in achieving a Section 10. A good quality traffic lawyer can be a fantastic architect when it comes to strategically preparing a Court case and presenting very persuasive submissions to the Court at the final Court hearing.

Will a Lawyer help your chances of a Section 10?

The first thing you should be aware of when looking to hire a lawyer for your drink driving offence is that there any many different types of lawyers out there who will be very willing to take on your matter despite not having much experience and expertise in handling drink driving offences and other Local Court criminal matters in New South Wales.

It is extremely important that you choose to hire a lawyer who appears regularly in the various Local Courts in and around Sydney and New South Wales. Not only will this ensure that they will have the required knowledge and experience in handling your drink driving matter but such a lawyer will also have a good working relationship with the Magistrates, Police Prosecutors and Court staff. A quality traffic lawyer of this nature will thereby understand what the temperament of the Magistrate is and what type of argument to use in order to persuade the particular Magistrate hearing your drink driving case.

Our Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers certainly carry all of these attributes of a good quality traffic and criminal lawyer. We attend Local Courts in and around Sydney on a daily basis which allows us to have a good insight into the attitudes of the Magistrates and general workings of the Courts.

Just as important is the fact that our Lawyers are very honest with all of our clients and will provide you will an upfront and no nonsense assessment of your case. Whats more we will sit down and analyse all aspects of your case to see whether there are any unforseen angles which have not been thought of in order to obtain a better result when your matter goes before the Court.

Rest assure that our drink driving lawyers are extremely experienced in the areas of traffic and criminal law in New South Wales, they have a very good insight into all of the Court in and around Sydney and they have the knowledge, tenacity and honesty to help you come out of your Court case far better off than if you represent yourself or choose another lawyer.


Speak to our DUI Lawyers – Josh Boorman Ph: 1300 941 900

Our DUI Lawyers can be contacted at:

Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers | DUI Solicitors NSW

14/362-370 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Email: jboorman@boormanlawyers.com.au

DUI Section 10 was written by Josh Boorman a Sydney Drink Driving Lawyer.

Please contact Josh Boorman today to discuss your matter over the telephone or via email for an initial FREE consultation and information on a DUI Charge in Sydney NSW.

Joshua Boorman
Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers are experts in dealing with all drug and alcohol related Traffic Laws. We attend all courts in Sydney and the surrounding suburbs. Call 1300 941 900 or Email: jboorman@boormanlawyers.com.au
Joshua Boorman
Joshua Boorman

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