Our website includes an overview of how sentencing operates in Victoria. Detailed information can also be found in our popular Quick Guide to Sentencing.
After a person is found guilty of an offence, a judge or magistrate will identify all the factors that are relevant to the sentence, consider the significance of each factor and make a decision about the appropriate sentence.
Sentencing law and practice in Victoria change as new reforms are introduced. We periodically update the information on our website to reflect the changing sentencing environment.
Victorian Courts and Sentencing
In Victoria, adults are sentenced in one of three courts: Magistrates’ Court, County Court, Supreme Court.
Children are sentenced in the Children’s Court.
The Magistrates’ Court deals with summary offences (less serious offences), such as unlicensed driving and drug possession. Some indictable offences (serious offences) may be tried summarily, such as burglary and causing injury. Over 90% of sentencing in Victoria occurs in the Magistrates’ Court.
The County Court hears most indictable offences, such as culpable driving causing death, rape and armed robbery. The Supreme Court hears the most serious offences, such as murder and manslaughter. Together, the County Court and the Supreme Court are known as the higher courts. About 2% of sentencing in Victoria occurs in the higher courts.
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