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Community Service Order

A Community Service Order (CSO) requires the offender to carry out community service work.

Eligibility for a CSO

In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by a probation and parole officer as suitable to undertake the order. The court must be satisfied that:

  1. You are suitable person for community service work;
  2. It is appropriate in all of the circumstances that you be required to perform community service work;
  3. The arrangements exist in the area in which you live or intend to live for you to perform community service work; and
  4. The community service work can be provided in accordance with those arrangements.

Maximum hours of community service work

The maximum number of hours of community service that a court can impose is:

  • 100 hours: where the maximum term of imprisonment that can be set by the court does not exceed six months.
  • 200 hours: where the maximum term of imprisonment that can be set by the court does not exceed 1 year.
  • 500 hours: where the maximum term of imprisonment that can be set by the court exceeds 1 year.

Duration of a CSO

Typically, a CSO is valid until the first of following occurs:

  • the specified hours of work are performed, or
  • the relevant maximum period set by the court expires.

Breaching a CSO

If you do not complete your CSO within the time set by the court, the probation and parole office may apply to the court to revoke your CSO.

Breaches of CSO are regarded as serious by the courts. If you are found to have breached your CSO the court can revoke the order and impose a more severe penalty which can include full time imprisonment.

Commonwealth offences

Section 20AB of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) states that a CSO may be made in respect of a person convicted of a federal offence.

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