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What penalty can the court give my child?

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If the court finds your child not guilty

The charges will be dismissed. No record will be kept of the charge and any fingerprints or photographs of your child will be destroyed on request.

Note: A Working With Children Check is a prerequisite for anyone in child-related work, including volunteers. Such a check may reveal records of old offences charged or proven whilst that person was a young person. If a Working With Children Check is carried out, all matters (including non-convictions and dismissed charges) are disclosed by Police to the Commission for Children and Young People. The Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012, authorises the disclosure of this information for a specific purpose i.e. child protection. More information is available from the NSW Commission for Children and Young People.

If the court finds your child guilty or he/she admits the offence

  • The court can refer your child for a youth justice conference under the Young Offenders Act, 1997.

  • The court may decide to caution your child. There will be no penalty and no criminal record.

  • The court can fine your child if they have savings or an income, usually the fine will not exceed $1000 and will depend on your child's ability to pay, not their parents'.

  • The court can place your child on a probation order for up to two years. The court will set conditions for this period.

  • The court can order your child to perform community service work. The maximum number of hours that can be imposed is 100 for children under 16 years and 250 for children 16 years and over. This is instead of being sent to a Youth Justice centre.If your child does not do the work ordered, they may be sentenced to a control order, to be served in detention.

  • The court can impose a control order and then suspend it provided the child enters into a bond to be of good behaviour. If the bond is broken, the child will have to serve the entire control order in custody.

  • The court can place a young person on a control order to be served in detention for up to two years on any one offence and up to a maximum of three years. If your child appears before a higher court on serious matters, they can be treated as an adult and sentenced to a longer period.

Other penalties may include

  • Paying damages for harm caused to persons or property.

  • Giving up property illegally gained.

  • Referral to the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court when it is found your child has a serious drug or alcohol problem that is closely connected to their offending behaviour.

Criminal records

  • Your child will not get a criminal record if they are under 16 years of age. In certain circumstances, the court may still decide not to record a criminal conviction for a child 16 years of age or over.