All states have systems to not punish people for minor or first time offences and to give them a second chance. Importantly this avoids a criminal conviction. Examples of this are diversion and no conviction orders.
A criminal conviction can affect a person's job prospects for a long time where the most law abiding citizen has committed minor criminal offences because of errors of judgment or circumstances where they acted outside their character.
The criminal justice system does not want to punish people for these oversights of behaviour. We explain the two approaches below taken by Victorian and NSW courts.
Diversion program (Vic)
Victoria has a Diversion Program. This program takes the police charges outside of the criminal justice system and is dealt with separately like a good behaviour bond. Diversion is a great outcome where the charges can be proven and a finding of guilt is assured.
To have your matter considered for diversion, we negotiate with the prosecutor and charging police officer to get their consent. If they consent, then a Diversion Hearing is scheduled.
Typical conditions for diversion include:
- You accepting responsibility for your actions;
- Not to reoffend within a given time frame e.g. 3, 6 or 12 months;
- Write a letter of apology to the Victim (if there is one);
- A small donation to the court fund.
At the end of the time period, all the charges are automatically dismissed and will not appear on your criminal record. You do not have to appear at court for this.
If you don't fulfil the terms of Diversion, then your case will progress through the court system. This still provides a chance for our lawyers to request the Magistrate to "prove and dismiss" the charges without conviction.
No conviction orders (NSW)
NSW enables Magistrates' to dismiss charges and order no conviction under sentencing legislation.
Our lawyers will craft a plea to the court on behalf our client that draws all the circumstances to the attention of the Magistrate to help secure a dismissal of charges or a no conviction order.
This is also done with negotiation with the police and prosecution to not oppose our submission.