A community service order is a non-custodial sentencing option open to a magistrate or judge in sentencing a convicted person, under section 8 (1) of the Crimes Sentencing Procedure Act 1999. A community service order is an alternative option to imprisonment where a magistrate or judge considers the convicted person is a suitable candidate for such an order. A community service order may only be imposed for offences, which are punishable by imprisonment.
A community service order is a more lenient sentence and it will be required to prove to the court that the convicted person is a suitable candidate for such an order.
Under a community service order, you will be required to perform a number of hours of community work, up to a maximum of 500 hours. Your particular circumstances will be taken into consideration in deciding the type of program, which should be completed under the order. Programs can include cleaning or removing graffiti, gardening or painting.
Clause 23 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Regulation 2010 (NSW) provides the number of hours of community service work that may be imposed by the court relative to the maximum term of imprisonment for the relevant offence:
- 100 hours – where the maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed 6 months
- 200 hours – where the maximum term of imprisonment dis more than 6 months but does not exceed 1 year
- 500 hours – where the maximum term of imprisonment exceeds 1 year.
There are a number of standard conditions that are attached to the making of a community service order under clause 201 of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Regulation 2014, including:
- the offender must not report for, or perform, community service work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- the offender must perform community service work in accordance with the direction of, and to the standard specified by, his or her assigned officer or supervisor,
- the offender must give his or her assigned officer written notice of the reasons for any failure by the offender to report to a work site or attendance site in accordance with his or her obligations
Sentencing Community Service Orders
The role of a criminal defence lawyer is to represent their client in legal proceedings to the highest possible standard. A criminal defence lawyer has a duty to the client to argue for the most lenient sentence as persuasively as the law permits.
If you are convicted of a criminal offence, there are a number of sentencing options, which may be imposed by the court. These include a monetary fine and/or imprisonment. To obtain a more lenient sentence, it will be imperative to be represented by an expert criminal defence lawyer.
The maximum penalty a court may impose on you will generally be contained in the provision of the Act, which contains the criminal offence. A court can consider alternative sentencing options to imprisonment or full time custody, such as a community service order.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, call George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers. Our specialist defence lawyers can advise you on the prospects of your case and ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.
Obtaining a Community Service Order
To avoid imprisonment and obtain a community service order, the court must be convinced that:
- the offender is a suitable person for community service work
- it is appropriate in all of the circumstances that the offender be required to perform community service work
- the arrangements exist in the area in which the offender resides or intends to reside, for the offender to perform community service work and
- the community service work can be provided in accordance with those arrangements.
Whether or not the court will make a community service order will depend upon a favourable assessment report. The court cannot make a community service order unless a favourable assessment report concerning the offender has been made.
To obtain a community service order in the Local Court, the offender will have to be present at court on the day of sentencing.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, it is imperative to speak with an expert criminal defence lawyer for advice on your matter and to be properly defended. Without properly arguing in court why a more lenient sentence should be imposed, you may risk facing full time custody.
For more information on sentences which may be imposed by a court and community service orders, call George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers. We can represent you and argue for the most lenient sentence in the event you are convicted. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted on (02) 9261 8640 during business hours or 0412 423 569 outside of business hours. We may also be contacted via email at email@example.com.