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Conditional Release Order (CRO)

Conditional Release Orders (CRO's)


On 24 September 2018, conditional release orders replaced good behaviour bonds under section 10(1)(b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
 

Conditional release orders are a way for a person who pleads guilty or is found guilty of a criminal or major traffic offence to avoid a harsh penalty, or even a criminal conviction altogether, provided they comply with the conditions of the order.

​The new law is contained in section 9 of the Act which states:
 

“9(1) Instead of imposing a sentence of imprisonment or a fine (or both) on an offender, a court that finds a person guilty of an offence may make a conditional release order discharging the offender, if:
 

(a) the court proceeds to conviction, or

(b) the court does not proceed to conviction but makes an order under Section 10 bond.
 

(2) In deciding whether to make a conditional release order with a conviction, the sentencing court is to have regard to the following factors:
 

(a) the person’s character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition,

(b) whether the offence is of a trivial nature,

(c) the extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed,

(d) any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.”


This means a conditional release order is more likely where an offence less serious, there were reasons behind its commission and the defendant is otherwise a person of good character.
 

That said, conditional release orders are not restricted to specific categories of offences – rather, a court can order a CRO for any offence.
 

CROs cannot be made in the absence of the defendant.

What conditions can a Court place on a Conditional Release Order?

 

A CRO must contain the following conditions:
 

  • That the defendant not commit any further offences; and
     

  • That the defendant must attend court if called upon to do so.


A person will only normally be called upon to attend court if he or she breaches the order.


Additional conditions that can be placed on a CRO are:
 

  • To participate in rehabilitation programs or receive treatments;

  • Abstain from alcohol, drugs or both;

  • Not associate with particular persons;

  • Not frequent or visit particular places;

  • Come under the supervision of community corrections officers or, in the case of young persons, juvenile justice officers.


A CRO cannot include:
 

  • A fine;

  • Home detention;

  • Electronic monitoring;

  • A curfew; or

  • Community service work.


Can conditions be changed on a Conditional Release Order?

 

The defendant or a community corrections officer can apply to a court to revoke, amend or add conditions to a CRO at any time after it is ordered.

However, the mandatory conditions must remain in place.

 

How long can a Conditional Release Order last?

 

If a Judge or Magistrate gives you any conditional release order, it will also mean that you must comply with the conditions over a period of time- breaching those conditions can result in harsh penalties. The maximum period of time a conditional release order can be in force for is 2 years.

The Magistrate or Judge in court will decide and tell you the period of time you will be required to comply with the order(s) for.


What happens if I breach a Conditional Release Order?

 

If it is suspected that a CRO condition has been breached, the defendant may be ordered to attend court to determine whether a breach has in fact occurred.
 

If a breach is established, the court may:
 

  • take no action

  • add, change or revoke conditions, or

  • revoke the CRO in its entirety.
     

If the CRO is revoked, the defendant will be resentenced for the original offence.

Can a Conditional Release Order Condition be Suspended?

A community corrections officer has the discretion to suspend the supervision condition for a period or for an indefinite period of time.

A community corrections officer can also suspend any non-association conditions of the order for a period of time at his/her discretion.

Any suspension made, can be with or without conditions by the community corrections officer.

What Happens if a Conditional Release Order Gets Revoked?

If the court revokes your conditional release order as a result of a breach of its conditions, the court can then sentence you again for the original offence.

This will mean that the Magistrate or Judge can impose the same penalty again with more conditions, or it may impose a heavier penalty such as a community corrections order or an intensive correction order or even a full time prison sentence.

If you are going to court and would like to arrange a free conference to discuss your options and the best way forward, call us today on 0410 600 230.

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