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Part 1 – New sentencing laws – changes you should know about

New sentencing laws

In late September 2018, a number of changes to sentencing laws came into effect.  The new sentencing regime makes broad changes to sentences that do not involve gaol time and apply to every criminal matter that is still before the courts.  If you have a criminal matter pending before a court, it is important to know about these new sentencing options.

In place of the previous Good Behaviour Bond system is the Community Release Order (“CRO”).  A CRO can be imposed without the person being convicted and can last up to two (2) years.  It contains standard conditions that will apply to every CRO, but can also have a broad range of additional conditions attached.  As part of a CRO, the court can tailor other conditions specifically for a particular offender. 

The community can probably expect to see courts imposing more creative and detailed conditions on people who may previously have received a bond in rather simple terms.  This is a positive step in terms of the protection of the community and in seeing that offenders who need help or guidance are able to receive it more readily.  However, it also may create pitfalls for people sentenced to a CRO who may need to observe more detailed or onerous conditions.  So, if you are facing criminal charges or have already been sentenced to a CRO, it would be prudent to obtain legal advice on your case.

A future article in this series will consider some of the other new sentencing alternatives available for more serious offences.

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