Good behaviour bonds in Queensland allow the courts to release an offender who has been found guilty of a criminal offence into the community under strict conditions. These bonds are usually referred to as a recognisance.
A recognisance is a promise to be of good behaviour for a set period of time.
It may include a surety (a guarantee or an amount of money) and any other conditions that the court thinks are appropriate in your particular circumstances or in the circumstances of the offence.
You may or may not have a conviction entered against you, depending on the type of bond that is imposed.
There are three kinds of bonds under the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992:
- a section 19 bond
- a bond under sections 30, 31 or 32
- a section 24 bond.
Good behaviour bonds in Queensland can be issued under section 19 for any indictable or summary offence under any Act or law of Queensland. While you have been found guilty of the offence, no conviction will be recorded against you.
If you have been convicted of a minor drug offence, a section 19 bond may be given to allow you to enter into the court diversion program. One of the conditions of release contained in the bond would be that you attend the program.
Drug diversion is available for people who have been charged with:
- possession of a dangerous drug in quantities less than the schedule amount. This means that it is not available for matters that must be heard in the Supreme Court.
- possession of anything that is used to administer a drug
- failing to take proper care of, or to safely dispose of, a syringe.
Inclusion in drug diversion is not available to you if you are charged with, or have past convictions for:
- any sexual offences
- trafficking, supply, production or possession of dangerous drugs that was heard, or will have to be heard, in the Supreme Court
- indictable offences that were committed using violence, but not including common assault or serious assault.
Good behaviour bonds in Queensland issued under section 24 apply if you are convicted of an offence relating to property damage or stealing. A conviction will not be recorded against you unless you breach the bond and have to come back to the court to be re-sentenced.
When you enter the bond, the court will adjourn sentencing to a date sometime in the following 6 months, and release you on the recognisance. You must come back to court to be sentenced if you are directed to do so.
As well as the condition that you be of good behaviour, there can be conditions attached to the bond that you return or restore the property, or that you pay compensation for any damage you have caused.
Good behaviour bonds in Queensland are issued under section 30 for indictable offences. If you are convicted on indictment the court may order that you be released on a bond (with or without sureties) for a specified period of time. This is in addition to, or instead of, any other sentence that the court imposes.
You will be imprisoned until you enter into the bond, although you cannot be held for longer than one year in these circumstances.
Section 31 bonds apply to summary offences. These bonds can only be imposed for a period of less than one year, and will require that you keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Section 32 bonds can be imposed instead of any other penalty that is available to the court.
For all good behaviour bonds in Queensland, if the court is satisfied that you have failed to comply with a condition, the bond may be forfeited and a warrant issued for your arrest.
If a forfeiture order is made, you will lose any surety promised under the bond.
Under the warrant, you can be arrested at any time, bought back to court and re-sentenced.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 25 November 2015. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.