Sentencing considerations

Section 5 of the Sentencing Act 1991 sets out the aims of sentencing in Victoria.

Sentencing guidelines

(1)       The only purposes for which sentences may be imposed are—

(a)       to punish the offender to an extent and in a manner which is just in all of the circumstances; or

(b)       to deter the offender or other persons from committing offences of the same or a similar character; or

(c)        to establish conditions within which it is considered by the court that the rehabilitation of the offender may be facilitated; or

(d)       to manifest the denunciation by the court of the type of conduct in which the offender engaged; or

(e)        to protect the community from the offender; or

(f)        a combination of two or more of those purposes.

In sentencing, the Court must have regard to the following:

s. 5

(2)        In sentencing an offender a court must have regard to—

(a)       the maximum penalty prescribed for the offence; and

(b)       current sentencing practices; and

(c)        the nature and gravity of the offence; and

(d)       the offender‘s culpability and degree of responsibility for the offence; and

(daaa)           whether the offence was motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred for or prejudice against a group of people with common characteristics with which the victim was associated or with which the offender believed the victim was associated; and

(daa) the impact of the offence on any victim of the offence; and

(da)     the personal circumstances of any victim of the offence; and

(db)     any injury, loss or damage resulting directly from the offence; and

(e)        whether the offender pleaded guilty to the offence and, if so, the stage in the proceedings at which the offender did so or indicated an intention to do so; and

(f)        the offender‘s previous character; and

(g)       the presence of any aggravating or mitigating factor concerning the offender or of any other relevant circumstances.

An offender is also entitled to a sentencing discount for entering a guilty plea.

s. 6AAA

Sentence discount for guilty plea

(1)      If—

(a)      in sentencing an offender, a court imposes a less severe sentence than it would otherwise have imposed because the offender pleaded guilty to the offence.

There is complex case law which discusses these sentencing considerations and sets out sentencing guidelines for particular offences.

It is therefore critical that you have a lawyer who understands all the sentencing options available to the Court and who is up to date on all the latest judicial commentary on sentencing.

You need to discuss with your lawyer whether you should plead guilty or not guilty, and, if you are pleading guilty, at which point of the proceedings to enter your plea.

Our team at Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers will be able to assist you through the court process and ensure you get the most appropriate sentence.