Penalties for Commonwealth Offences

Penalties for Commonwealth Offences

Unfortunately for Federal or Commonwealth offences the range of penalties available to a Court are limited when compared with the options open under Victorian law.

The sentencing options are controlled by the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). The options basically are as follows:-

  1. Dismiss charges –   Section 19B Crimes Act 1914 (Cth),
  2. Bond without conviction – Section 19B Crimes Act 1914 (Cth),
  3. Bond with conviction –  Section 20 Crimes Act 1914 (Cth),
  4. Fine with conviction – Section 4D Crimes Act 1914 (Cth),
  5. Community Corrections Order  with conviction –Section 20AB Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) Reg 6 Crimes Regulations,
  6. Suspended sentence –  Section 20 1(b) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth),
  7. Straight sentence  up to 6 months without minimum – Section 19  AC(3) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
  8. Partially suspended with some sentence to serve –  Section 20(1)(b) and 19AC(1) and (2) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
  9. Jail sentence with a minimum period – Section 19AB Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)


Options which are available under Victorian law are not available under the federal law. Examples are:

  1. Convict and discharge,
  2. Community Corrections Order without conviction,
  3. Fine without conviction
  4. Drug Treatment Order.

Another point to note here is that to achieve a bond without conviction a court must be satisfied that the federal offence is proved but is of the opinion having regard to:

(i) the character, antecedents, age, health or mental condition of the person;

(ii) the extent (if any) to which the offence is of a trivial nature; or

(iii) the extent (if any) to which the offence was committed under extenuating circumstances

It is appropriate not to inflict any punishment or only a punishment of a nominal kind. The bond can be for as long as 3 years and have conditions. An example of this would be a bond with a condition to see a psychiatrist or a drug counselor.

Brendan Wilkinson
0438 670 198

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