Repeat Offences & Breach of Bond in NSW
A Conditional Release Order (previously a s.10(1)(b) non-conviction) is the most lenient penalty available that a Judge or Magistrate can give for any criminal or traffic offence in NSW, other than a s10(1)(a) dismissal.
A CRO requires compliance with certain conditions over a determined period of time, typically lasting anywhere from 6 to a maximum of 24 months.
The benefit of a conditional release order is that it can mean you avoid a criminal conviction against your name, you won’t be fined, lose any demerit points for traffic offences or have your driver licence disqualified.
Breach of conditions of a good behaviour bond or CRO can have severe consequences. A breach can occur by failing to comply with active conditions that may have needed to be satisfied, or by committing another offence of any nature which is brought before the court. Upon this happening, the court has the power to reopen the previous matter, review the penalty imposed and resentence.
In the circumstances, the court can decide that:
- No action is to be taken on the breach. It may do this if the breach is trivial or where there was a compelling explanation for it; or
- Further conditions may be added, or current conditions changed or revoked; or
- The conditional release order itself be revoked and you are resentenced for the original offence, as well as the matters brought before the court on this occasion.
Can I Defend the Charge?
Whether you are able to defend the charge that you have been brought before the court for is a separate matter to be determined on the facts of that case, but the defence or “plea in mitigation” for the original charge will not be able to be re-run or re-pleaded. This will be up to the Magistrate to determine whether to impose a different sentence or reconfirm the original bond, depending on submissions made for the most recent offence and/or the circumstances / severity of the reasons why you have returned.
In short, you should always be extremely cautious to avoid returning before the courts during a period of a Good Behaviour Bond or Conditional Release Order.