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This section of our website contains information about the types of penalties – or sentences - that courts in Western Australia (WA) can impose.
It also explains the process courts must use to ensure that the appropriate sentence is imposed. The relevant legislation is the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA) (the Act). However, other Acts can also bear on the sentencing exercise. Unless otherwise stated, references to specific sections in this section relate to this Act.
The legislation which creates the various offences for which people can be charged provides guidance for sentencing, this can be in the form of such things as:
In summary, courts can only impose a sentence that is commensurate with the seriousness of the offence, the facts of the commission of the offence and the subjective features of the person committing the offence. This section lists the penalties which a court can impose. In order of least serious to most serious, these options are:
The above list can be considered a sentencing hierarchy with the ultimate penalty – imprisonment – being at the top of that hierarchy. Pursuant to Section 39(3), when sentencing, a court can only impose a penalty where it is satisfied that it is not appropriate to impose a penalty which appears lower in the hierarchy. For example, a court can only impose a fine if it is satisfied that it would not be appropriate to impose a Conditional Release Order or an order that the person be released without a sentence being imposed.
To determine the seriousness, the courts must take into account:
An aggravating factor is a factor which the court believes increases the culpability of the person being sentenced. There are certain factors which are NOT considered as aggravating:
A mitigating factor is something which the court considers decreases the culpability of the person being sentenced or decreases the extent to which the person being sentenced should be punished.
The factors which could be considered mitigating are not limited. The court may take in account any relevant matter which is applicable to the circumstances of the person being sentenced.
Once the court has fully considered the matters mentioned it will impose a sentence which is appropriate to both the offence committed and the circumstances of the person being sentenced.
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Perth: (08) 9321 5505
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100