After considering the facts presented by the police and all submissions made by you or your solicitor, and depending on the seriousness of your charge, the magistrate or judge will decide on one of the following penalties:
- FINE: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set.
- GOOD BEHAVIOUR BOND: This is an order of the court where you are required to be ‘of good behaviour’ for a specified amount of time, with the maximum period being five years. It is generally given in lieu of harsher penalties, such as large fines or imprisonment. The court will impose conditions that will have to be obeyed for the duration of your bond.
- COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDER (CSO): This order requires you to do either unpaid work in the community, at a place specified by probation or parole, or attendance at a centre to complete a course relevant to your charge (such as anger management). These orders may only be imposed for up to two years and to be eligible you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service.
- SUSPENDED SENTENCE: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years.
- INTENSIVE CORRECTION ORDER (ICO): Here, the court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or a treatment program, performing community service, not consuming any alcohol or complying with a strict curfew. This penalty has replaced periodic detention, which was phased out in Australia in 2010.
- HOME DETENTION: The court can order that you serve your sentence by way of home detention. This means you are essentially detained at home and only allowed to leave your home in accordance with the directions of the Court and Community Corrections. An electronic monitoring system shows your location. Home detention is very stringently monitored and there are strict conditions. It is only available for terms of imprisonment up to 18 months.
- JAIL: This involves full-time detention in a correctional facility, for a length of time determined by the magistrate or judge. It is the most serious penalty in Australia.