Where the court decides a charge is proved but considers that the defendant is unlikely to commit such an offence again, and because of the defendant's:
- social background;
- mental condition; or
- because of the trivial nature of the offence;
- or its extenuating circumstances,
the defendant should not be punished, or only nominally punished. Then the court may, without imposing a conviction, make an order to either dismiss the charge, impose a fine or discharge the defendant on a good behaviour bond [Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) s 16] .
Section 16 applications are usually argued for minor first offences.
However, when the court imposes no conviction, both the police and the court still keep a record of the person's appearance in court and the offence they have committed and this record can be brought up in court should the person re-offend, or apply for a police clearance certificate, see Effects of Criminal Convictions.
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