Section 10 dismissal for a criminal offence

A Section 10 dismissal occurs when a Magistrate or Judge decides not to convict an offender who has pleaded guilty to, or has been found guilty of a criminal offence.

It is colloquially known as a ‘first offenders provision’ and in most circumstances is only available as a sentencing option if you have no previous convictions or have not previously had the benefit of a s10 dismissal.

Some offences like drink driving have automatic suspension periods. If the Court records a conviction for a drink driving offence, the law says you must lose your driver's licence.

If the Court can be persuaded to discharge you without recording a conviction, you will keep your licence. 

We recommend that you instruct an experienced lawyer who understands this technical part of the law and has experience asking a Magistrate to consider Section 10 as a sentencing option rather than record a conviction. In some circumstances you can disadvantage yourself by asking for section 10 dismissal to which a Magistrate considers you are not entitled.

When considering whether to give a “section 10” the Magistrate must consider the following issues:-

·       your age, character, criminal record and mental state

·       the seriousness of the offence

·       other extenuating circumstances

·       any other relevant factors


For more information or a quote email us at or phone us 1300 171 898 for a confidential discussion about your options and our fees.

Author:             Michael K Twemlow

Published on:  15 January 2016