Combination Sentences (ACT)

A combination sentence is typically a sentence that involves a term of full-time imprisonment as well as one of more other sentencing orders. This approach to sentencing generally aims to help offenders with rehabilitation, which in turn, protects the community in the long term. Although commonly used for this purpose, combination sentences can also be applied to a range of offences in various other ways. This page deals with combination sentences in the ACT.

Combination sentences where imprisonment is imposed

Section 29 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 permits a combination sentence to be imposed for an offence that is punishable by imprisonment. A combination sentence for such an offence may comprise two or more of the following elements:

  • full-time imprisonment;
  • a fine;
  • a driver-licence disqualification;
  • a reparation order;
  • a non-association order;
  • a place-restriction order;
  • an Intensive Correction Order;
  • a suspended sentence;
  • a good behaviour order;
  • an order imposing another penalty that is available under any other ACT law.

Combination sentences that include good behaviour orders or intensive corrections order

Under section 29 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, courts cannot impose a good behaviour order that commences while the offender is serving full-time imprisonment or detention, or while they are on parole.

A court cannot impose an intensive corrections order in conjunction with full-time imprisonment, a suspended sentence or a good behaviour order.

Combination sentences where imprisonment is not imposed

Under Section 30 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, if an offence does not attract a penalty of imprisonment, the sentencing court can impose a sentence that includes a combination of two or more of the following orders:

  • A good behaviour order;
  • A fine;
  • License disqualification;
  • Reparation;
  • A non-association order;
  • A place-restriction order;
  • An order imposing a different penalty available under any other ACT law.

Court decides when sentence begins and ends

Under Section 31 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, a court has the discretion to determine when any part of a combination sentence, or any order included in the sentence, will begin or end. This decision may be based on any factor the court deems appropriate, such as:

  • A specified date
  • The expiration of a particular timeframe
  • The occurrence of a particular event, or the earlier or later of two or more designated events.

Examples of combination sentences

The sentences below are illustrations of the types of penalties that could be imposed on a person found guilty of an offense that carries a prison term.

Illustration A: An 18-month sentence could comprise:

  • One year in jail without the possibility of parole.
  • A $500 fine with specific payment arrangements.
  • A six-month good behaviour order for the remaining period of the sentence.
  • A driver’s licence disqualification order.

Illustration B: A 3-year-and-6-month sentence might include:

  • A three-year jail term with no chance of parole.
  • A six-month good behaviour order for the remainder of the sentence, along with a concurrent non-association order.

Please not that a court cannot impose an order that is part of a combined sentence unless it has the authority to impose the order separately.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is a Legal Practice Director at Go To Court Lawyers. She holds a Juris Doctor, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Criminology. She was admitted to practice in 2006. Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. 
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