The maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed for a criminal charge depends on the Act that covers the charge. A term of imprisonment, also commonly referred to as a “prison term” or a “gaol term”, may be given by a magistrate with or without a non-parole period.

A non-parole period is a time when offenders cannot be made eligible for release. For example, if offenders are sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment with an 8-year non-parole period, they must first serve 8 years of the prison term before the Parole Board considers them for parole.

A magistrate or judge can also require an offender to serve a straight period of imprisonment – right away and without a chance for parole.