Intervention programs can help you to avoid committing further offences, deal with other problems that may be related to the offending, and teach you to understand the impact of your offending.
If you enrol in an intervention program or are attending counselling, the court may adjourn your case to let you finish. Once you have finished, the court can take your participation into consideration when sentencing you.
Some intervention programs include:
Traffic Offenders Intervention Program (TOIP)
The Traffic Offenders Intervention Program (TOIP) is a road safety program that aims to help you become a safer driver. The TOIP:
- runs for six to eight weeks and
- requires you to attend a lecture each week, lasting about two to three hours.
If you are interested in the program you can:
- enrol before your court date or
- tell the magistrate on the first court date and seek leave to be referred.
If you want to find a program and enrol before your court date see Traffic offenders intervention program on the Local Court of NSW website. You can contact the course provider and find out when the next course starts, how long it will go for and how much it will cost. On the first court date you should let the court know which provider you are doing the course through, when it started, and when it will be finished.
The court may give you time to complete the program and adjourn your case to a date after you have completed it, or they may just sentence you.
If you complete the program, the provider will send a certificate of completion to the court. The magistrate can take this into account when sentencing you.
If you choose to do the program you must be committed, attend every lecture and complete any assessments. If you fail to do any of this the magistrate may also take that into account when sentencing you.
The TOIP program must be delivered on at least two separate days over two weeks. You cannot complete the program in a one day course.
Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment Program (MERIT)
If you have a history of drug use, the Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment (MERIT) program can give you the opportunity to work towards rehabilitation as part of the bail process.
You may be referred to the program by a magistrate, solicitor or the police. If you want to participate in the program and the magistrate has not mentioned it, you can tell the magistrate that you would like to be considered for the program. You can participate in the MERIT program before you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Your case may be adjourned until you have completed the program.
The MERIT program includes things like:
- case management.
The program runs at over 50 Local Courts in NSW. Some of the courts also provide MERIT programs for people with alcohol problems. Most MERIT programs go for about 12 weeks.
For a full list of the MERIT locations, see Coverage statewide on the MERIT website.
If you have been charged with an offence, you may want to consider getting some counselling to help you. For example, if you have a problem with anger or alcohol you may be able to get counselling.
You should tell the Magistrate if you are receiving any counselling and if possible, ask your counsellor to provide you with a detailed letter or report that you can give to the magistrate after you plead guilty.