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Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 – 9 December 2016

Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 – 9 December 2016

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The value of a penalty unit under Queensland law is generally $110. A penalty unit may be increased by regulation – see section 5A of the Act and regulation 3 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015.

  • Sections 5, 5A; Regulations 2, 3, Schedule 2

Sentencing guidelines for a convicted adult offender are set out in section 9 of this Act. The guidelines include the purposes for which sentences may be imposed & set out the factors that the court must have regard to when sentencing.

  • Sections 4, 6, 9, 11; Regulation 4

The court may exercise a discretion to record or not record a conviction for an offender. The factors that the court must have regard to are set out in section 12 of this Act.

  • Sections 4, 11, 12, 16, 22, 111, 143, 152, 161A, 161B, 161C, Schedule 1

If a complaint or an indictment for a charge for an offence states the offence is also a domestic violence offence and the offender is convicted of the offence and a court is satisfied the offence is also a domestic violence offence; the court must order: (a) for an offence for which a conviction is recorded—that the conviction also be recorded as a conviction for a domestic violence offence; or (b) otherwise—that the offence be entered in the offender’s criminal history as a domestic violence offence. For the definition of ‘domestic violence offence’, refer to section 4 of the Act.

  • Sections 4, 12A

A guilty plea may reduce the sentence that is imposed by the court on an offender.

  • Section 13

The court may use an audiovisual or audio link to sentence an offender if the court considers use of the link to be in the interests of justice.

  • Section 15A

The Court of Appeal may give a judgment guideline on its own initiative. A judgment guideline contains guidelines to be taken into account by courts in sentencing offenders.

  • Sections 4, 15AB, 15AD, 15AH, 15AL

The court may issue various sentences to offenders, including: release absolutely, good behaviour, restitution of property, compensation, non-contact, banning from licensed premises, fine, probation (with the agreement of the offender), community service (with the agreement of the offender, unless mandatory under the Act), graffiti removal, intensive correction in the community (with the agreement of the offender), suspended imprisonment, imprisonment, driver licence disqualification, damages, surrender of passport. Note: Some sentences require no conviction or a conviction to be recorded.

  • Sections 15B, 16, 17, 19, 22, 23, 24, 30, 31, 32, 35, 43B, 43C, 43I, 43J, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98, 101, 102, 106, 107, 108A, 108B, 108C, 109, 110A, 110B, 110E, 110F, 111, 112, 113, 117, 118, 143, 144, 145, 152, 153, 153A, 159A, 161D, 161E, 162, 163, 166, 180A, 181A, 181B, 181C, 187, 190, 191, 195, Schedules 1A, 2; Regulation 5

On being sentenced for an offence, an offender becomes liable to pay the government a levy called the ‘offender levy’. The levy is to help pay the cost of law enforcement and administration. For the amount of the levy, see regulation 10 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015.

  • Sections 179A, 179C, 179E, 179G; Regulation 10

Within 28 days of a sentence being handed down, the offender may apply in limited circumstances to the court for the re-opening of sentencing. An application may be made where the sentence imposed was incorrect at law or based on a clear factual error of substance.

  • Section 188

Where property has been taken from the rightful owner, a complaint may be made to the court for restoration (after the offender has been convicted on indictment).

  • Section 194

An offender is taken not to perform community service in a satisfactory way if the offender reports to perform community service under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a dangerous drug.

  • Section 195A

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council is established and has the following functions: if asked by the Court of Appeal, to give the court the council’s views, in writing, about the giving or reviewing of a guideline judgment; if asked by the Attorney-General, to advise the Attorney-General on matters relating to sentencing; to give information to the community to enhance knowledge and understanding of matters relating to sentencing; and to publish information about sentencing (among other functions).

  • Sections 198, 199
Reason for law

To provide a sufficient range of sentences for the appropriate punishment and rehabilitation of offenders. (Section 3)

Relevant links

Sentencing [Queensland Government]/ Sentencing, prisons and probation [Queensland Government]

Forms [Queensland Courts]

Offender Levy [Queensland Courts]

Court Diversion Program [Queensland Courts]/ Court Innovation Program contacts [Queensland Courts]

Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council

Probation and Parole [Queensland Corrective Services]

For Legal Practitioners: Queensland Sentencing Information Service [Supreme Court of Queensland Library]

Sentencing Remarks [Supreme Court of Queensland Library]

State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER)

Forms and Publications

Innocence Project – Griffith University

Highlighted practice direction

2016/04 – Queensland Integrated Court Referrals

2016/02 – Queensland Murri Court

2015/23 – Domestic violence offences | 2015/09 – Domestic violence offences2015/02 – Domestic violence offences

2014/27 – Serious drug offence certificates | 2014/13 – Serious drug offence certificates | 2014/04 – Serious drug offence certificates

2001/03 – District Court:Criminal Jurisdiction Submissions by representatives of Community Justice Groups in the sentencing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons

2010/25A – Special Circumstances Court Diversion Program – Annexure2010/25 – Special Circumstances Court Diversion Program

2009/06 – Reopening or rehearing of applications at the Brisbane Magistrates Court

Media statemetn

Sentencing Council reinstated in Queensland

Media article

Media reporting of sentencing outcomes problematic

Drug rehab and group therapy: do they work?

Should Victoria introduce a swifter model of sentencing family violence offenders?

Queensland’s virtual court where public decides penalty 


Section 80 contains underline which appears to be incorrectly added to the Act.

There are two sections for 240 appearing in the Act.

Suggested further reading



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PLEASE NOTE: The information published on this webpage may be out-of-date. Please compare the currency date of the Act/Regulation against that published on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website. If you require access to Commonwealth statute law, please visit the ComLaw website. If you require access to the local council laws (by-laws), please visit the Local laws database.

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Untested case law [Work In Progress]

Sentencing: Domestic Violence

R v BNQ [2016] QDC 113:

[16] Section 9(10A) of the PSA provides only that the court must treat the fact that it is a domestic violence offence as an aggravating factor. It is but one of the many circumstances the court treats as an aggravating or mitigating factor and takes into account and synthesises to determine a just sentence in all the circumstances.

[17] Section 9(10A) of the PSA lays down a principle to be applied by the court in sentencing an offender and informs the exercise of the sentencing discretion. I find it operates retrospectively and applies even though the offence and conviction happened before the section commenced.


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