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The Most Common Penalties Our Brisbane Lawyers See

"An experienced criminal lawyer can advise you on whether your case is worth appealing, and how you can shorten your sentence with parole or early release."

Our Brisbane lawyers have seen their fair share of sentencing hearings during their time. Although your sentence will depend entirely on the seriousness of the crime and whether or not you have a criminal history, here are some of the most common penalties and sentences we see in Queensland courts.


Good Behaviour Bond

If an offence is considered minor, and the offender doesn’t have a criminal history, the court may decide to issue a good behaviour bond. Essentially, this is a promise that you will not break the law for the duration of the good behaviour bond.

You will need to sign a document called a recognisance which outlines this agreement, and the fine you will need to pay if you break the bond. If the bond is broken, you may also receive a harsher sentence.



The court can order you to pay a sum of money as punishment for an offence. If you do not pay this fine, the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry has wide powers to suspend your driver’s license, sell your property or issue a warrant for your arrest and imprisonment, among other penalties.

You may also be ordered to pay restitution to a victim of an offence. Restitution is money paid to a victim as compensation for a loss, damage or injury. For example, if you were driving under the influence and crashed into another car, you would have to pay for the other driver’s car repair and any medical treatment needed after the accident.

In addition to any punishment or sentence you receive, all offenders are required to pay the offender levy. This is an administrative fee that all guilty defendants must pay to the Queensland courts.


Community Service

If you committed certain crimes involving violence or intoxication in a public place, you will likely be given a community service order in addition to any other penalties the court deems appropriate. If you are found guilty of a graffiti offence, you will be sentenced with a graffiti removal order to complete unpaid work removing graffiti in the community.



A probation order is similar to a good behaviour bond, but often for more serious offences. You can only be given a probation order if a corrective services officer thinks you will agree to not break the law for a period of 6 months – 3 years.

During this probation period, you must regularly report to a probation officer, follow every one of their reasonable directions, inform them of any change of address and not leave Queensland without approval. You may also need to agree to drug testing, counselling sessions or paying restitution to a victim.


Intensive Corrections Order

An intensive corrections order (ICO) is essentially a jail sentence, but you do not go to jail. You can only receive an ICO if you were sentenced to jail for one year or less. During an ICO, you remain living in the community, as long as you adhere to strict rules.

Examples of ICO conditions include reporting to a corrections officer regularly, participating in community service work, taking part in counselling sessions, and not breaking the law or leaving the state until the ICO period has ended. If you do not meet your specified conditions, jail time is almost definite.



If you are found guilty of a serious offence and you have a criminal history, jail time is likely. However, an experienced criminal lawyer can advise you on whether your case is worth appealing, and how you can shorten your sentence with parole or early release. Know that you still have rights while in jail, such as talking to a Brisbane lawyer, receiving visitors and making phone calls. For more information, read this list of prisoners’ rights by Legal Aid.


Advice from Criminal Lawyers in Brisbane

Guest Lawyers offers free initial consultations (including in prisons) to advise how our Brisbane lawyers can best help you. We act for all persons charged with criminal offences who are required to appear before the Magistrates and Supreme Court. We also conduct appeals in the Court of Appeal and High Court.

In addition to representing people all over Queensland, we often travel to other states and territories. Our Brisbane lawyers are admitted to practice all over Australia. For legal assistance, please get in touch with us either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007.