The Probation Act is applied to many District Court offences on a daily basis from assaults to no insurance to failing to pay parking fines. The practice varies from Court to Court depending on the Judge sitting in Court. Basically the Probation Act allows a Judge to dispose of an offence punishable by the District Court without proceeding to a conviction.
The Probation Act – essentials
The Act specifies particular grounds for the application of the Act and these rules are interpreted differently by different Courts. If a Judge decides to apply the Act after hearing submissions by a Solicitor, he or she may either dismiss the charge, or discharge the offender on certain conditions. For example, in applying the Probation Act to a charge of possession of drugs the Court may request a defendant to pay a sum of money to a local charity or to the Court Poor Box. The Probation of Offenders Act is also regularly applied to Public Order Offences such as drunk and disorderly. According to the Act the Court can have regard to the character, antecedents, age, health, mental condition of the defendant or to the trivial nature of the offence when considering to apply the Probation Act.
The Probation Act is usually considered in the District Court for relatively minor offences especially where the person before the Court has no previous convictions and the offence was more likely a once off offence. The advantage in having the Probation Act applied is that no conviction is recorded against the person before the Court.
We have secured the Probation of Offenders Act for numerous clients in relation to the following offences before the District Courts:
- No insurance
- Public order offences
- Drunk and disorderly
- Possession of drugs
- Parking offences
For advice on the Probation of Offenders Act in the context of a District Court offence, please contact one of our litigation Solicitors.