Our NCS service is accessed through the courts. If you are arrested and sent to trial, you can ask your legal representative to request consideration for a NCS from the judge, magistrate or prosecutor. It is the choice of the court as to whether this will happen. You cannot pressure the court into deciding in favour of a NCS. Your suitability for NCS depends on your risk profile and not on the offence you have committed or whether your have pled guilty. If a NCS is going to be considered, this will take place after your conviction. If the court decides to consider a NCS, you will be sent to a NICRO social worker for an assessment. This can take up to three to four hours. You have already been found guilty at this stage.
If you are sentenced to a NICRO NCS, you will already have met with a social worker during your risk assessment. You will have to set up a second appointment to come in for your intervention planning session. The social worker will explain to you the compliance requirements and the nature of the interventions you will be required to attend. You must inform the social worker of any time commitments you may have (work, family, study etc). If you are unable to attend a session or meeting for any reason, you must notify the social worker immediately.
If you fail to comply with your NCS, you will be warned by the social worker and you may be given a second chance, depending on the circumstances. If further non-compliance occurs, the social worker will submit an affidavit to the court and the court will either issue a warrant for your arrest or a summons to court. You will have to appear before the magistrate and explain yourself. You run the risk of having your NCS converted to a custodial sentence. This does happen. In exceptional circumstances, the magistrate or judge may offer you another chance.