As expert defence lawyers, our clients often seek advice with respect to avoiding a criminal conviction. This is for less severe crimes, such as traffic offences, minor summary offences, such as public nuisance.
So, is it possible to accept penalties for a crime without incurring a criminal conviction against your name? The honest answer is, sometimes. A judge will use the seriousness of the crime, along with your criminal history and a number of other factors as part of a discretionary exercise, to determine whether a criminal conviction is necessary.
In Queensland, Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, states that a court may exercise a discretion to either record or not record a conviction. The court will take into account a number of considerations, such as:
- The nature of the offence; and
- The offender’s character and age; and
- The impact that recording a conviction will have on the offender’s economic and social wellbeing, or their chances of finding employment.
Alternatives to a Criminal Conviction
If the court decides against recording a criminal conviction, offenders may be subject to alternative penalties within the sentencing discretion such as, a good behaviour bond, community service or a probation order. In the long run, this is a much better outcome because it won’t interfere with an individual’s ability to find employment, travel or rent a property.
What You Can Do
The best way to avoid a criminal conviction is to work with an experienced criminal defence lawyer. While self-representing is a less expensive option, advice and preparation from an experienced criminal lawyer can give you the best chance of clearing your name, and ultimately avoiding the lifelong unemployment risks and financial insecurity of someone with a criminal conviction.
Additionally, make sure your defence lawyer is fully aware of any factors mentioned in the bullet points above, that the court may take into consideration to lessen the severity of your penalty. Things like your contribution to the community, and how a criminal conviction would hinder your ability to provide for yourself, or others, should all be made clear to your lawyer.
Hiring a Defence Lawyer
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 lawyers are admitted to practice all over Australia.
We offer free initial consultations (in some circumstances) to assist with a number of criminal matters. Please get in touch with us either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007. Our team of experienced Brisbane defence lawyers will be more than happy to assist you.