If I plead guilty to a charge, will I have a criminal record?

When you plead guilty to a criminal charge, the court will then proceed to sentence you for the offence. In determining the appropriate sentence, the court will take into account a number of factors.

Firstly, the court will consider objective factors such as:

  • The maximum penalty available

  • The seriousness of the offending

  • Degree of premeditation and planning

  • Impact on victim

  • Breach of trust

The court will then take into account subjective factors. These would include:

    • The offender’s prior record

    • The offender’s character and age

    • Any contrition displayed

    • Health and mental condition of the defendant

    • Race and ethnicity

    • Intoxication or drug addiction

    • Particular hardships and delay

Following the assessment of the objective and subjective factors the magistrate or judge will determine an appropriate sentence.

The legislation does however provide the court the ability to determine that even though an offender is guilty of the offence, it is unnecessary to record a criminal conviction. This is often referred to as a “Section 10”. It must be stressed that this will not be a likely outcome in most criminal proceedings as generally it is reserved for matters that attract lesser penalties and for people who have no prior criminal history.

Persons appearing before the court should also be aware that having a matter disposed of without conviction does not necessarily mean that there will not be a record. Australian National Police Checks will reveal disclosable court outcomes. Same includes;

  • Charges and court convictions (including the associated penalties and sentences)

  • Findings of guilt with no conviction

  • Court appearances

  • Court orders including good behaviour bonds

  • Matters waiting for a court hearing

  • Traffic offences

If you have been charged with a criminal offence then you are best served by engaging the expert legal representation that Brydens Lawyers can provide. For any criminal matter contact Brydens Lawyers without delay on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au. At Brydens Lawyers -#WE DO criminal matters.