What happens next 

The best people to give you accurate, timely information and instructions after your hearing are your lawyer, our registrars and/or your case workers.  

But we've included general information here to help you, your family, friends or other supporters to understand a bit more about the legal system and help you prepare.

Support services

Not everyone who comes to the NJC needs our support services, but many do.

If you are required to engage with a support services (or you have identified a support service you'd like to do) you should leave the NJC with plans in place and one or two case workers who'll work with you in the days, weeks, perhaps months to come. 

Sentencing

Sentences are the penalties imposed by courts for breaking the law. Sentences are made using laws and rules set down by Parliament and other court decisions. 

We include this brief overview of sentencing so you understand more about Magistrates' Courts, but your lawyer is the best person to talk to about the details of your particular matter. 

Diversions

A diversion program is a way to account for the person to account for their actions and make amends, but avoid a criminal record.  Diversion programs usually involve court orders to perform activities such as completing treatment or behaviour change programs, and writing a letter of apology to the victim.

Once successfully completed, the police drop the charges, there is no finding of guilty, and no criminal record. 

Diversion programs usually go for a year.

Adjourned undertaking

If a magistrate finds the person guilty but releases the person to the community, this is called an adjourned undertaking.  

An 'undertaking' is the person's promise to the court to follow the courts instructions, be of good behaviour, and not offend again.  A magistrate may add 'conditions' to the adjourned undertaking, for example the person may be ordered to get drug treatment, or stay away from certain places.

A magistrate may give an adjourned undertaking with or without a conviction.

Fine

On a finding of guilt, a magistrate may order a sum of money be paid in set period of time. A fine may be imposed without a conviction.

You’ll find more information at fines.vic.gov.au (External link) or Fines and Penalties  (External link)at the Magistrates’ Court website.

Community Correction Order (CCO) 

A CCO is an order imposed by a magistrate that allows the person to remain in the community. Orders come with conditions, which may include 

  • unpaid community work
  • job training
  • treatment and rehabilitation program
  • not associating with a person or group of people
  • not going to certain places, including pubs, parts of the city 
  • restrictions on where you can or cannot live

The maxim length for a CCO is two years. A breach of the order can result in an immediate jail term.

Jail term

If the person is found guilty of a serious offence the person may have to serve time in prison. This is called a 'custodial sentence'. 

Knock-on effects

In addition to any of the above penalties, the court may suspend or cancel a person's driving licence, or order the person to pay financial compensation to the victim/s, or pay for for any damage to property caused by the crime.

 Intervention orders

The best people to get information from are your lawyer, our Registrars, or your case workers but here's some simple information about about Family Violence Intervention Orders.

What is an intervention order

A family violence intervention order is a legal order made by a Magistrate to protect people from further family violence.

The person who takes out the order is called the 'applicant' or 'protected person'. The person who it is taken out against is called 'the respondent'.

Immediate protection

It can take around a week or two for a court to issue an intervention order.  This is why the police can issue a family violence safety notice until the matter goes to court.   

The court can also issue an interim order that will protect the person until the full intervention order is made.

Conditions

Intervention orders are made up of a list of conditions.  Conditions set boundaries for how, when, and where people have anything to do with each other and/or other members of a family.

There are many conditions, here are some examples that a respondent must comply with:

  • No contact by text, phone calls, or social media
  • No access to the home
  • No threats
  • No going to children’s school/childcare
  • No going to the applicant’s workplace or gym

Conditions also make it a criminal offence to get someone else to act abusively.  The Magistrate decides how long an intervention order stays in place.  

Breaching an order

Intervention orders do not mean the respondent gets a criminal record. But if the respondent disobeys any of the conditions (this is called breach or a contravention) the police may arrest the respondent, lay criminal charges, and the respondent will get a criminal record, and could face time in jail

After your hearing

Your lawyer give you all the information you need, but again, in general anyone who gets a non-custodial sentences, such as community corrections order or adjourned undertaking gets a copy of the orders one day.  

Keep the orders safe. But if you need another copy, contact the NJC.

Fines are posted out in the mail.