Slades & Parsons have extensive experience in defending people charged with property offences, trespassing, theft and deception-related charges. If you are facing any of these charges, we can answer your questions and provide careful and detailed advice.
Property offences are offences characterised by taking something from another person or entity without permission. These offences can range from minor shoplifting offences to large-scale sophisticated frauds against corporations.
Common property offences which are regularly encountered by the Courts include:
- Handling stolen goods, where a person possesses items which they know to be stolen;
- Burglary, where a person enters into a building without authority intending to steal, assault or damage property;
- Aggravated burglary, where a burglary is committed whilst the offender is armed with a weapon or whilst they believe that someone is or is probably present in the building;
- Robbery, where a person uses force in order to steal something;
- Armed robbery, where a robbery is committed whilst armed with an offensive weapon; and
- Obtaining property by deception, where fraud is used to obtain things (e.g. money or goods) by the offender.
A range of newer property offences have now been introduced as a response to the public outcry over gang-related activity, particularly among young people. These newer property offences included:
- Home invasion and aggravated home invasion; and
- Carjacking and aggravated carjacking.
Other more obscure property-related offences include extortion, blackmail, and arson (criminal damage by fire).
Theft involves a person dishonestly assuming the owner’s rights over their property whilst intending to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Some examples include shop-theft, theft of a motor vehicle, or more large-scale commercial, white-collar thefts.
Interestingly, in the case of car theft, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused intended to permanently deprive the owner of the car. For example, if a person decided to take a vehicle for a joyride, but never intended to actually keep the car, they would still be guilty of theft of the motor vehicle.
Theft is punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. The charge of theft is found in section 74 of the Crimes Act 1958. Depending on the seriousness of the theft in question, the likely court outcome can range from a diversion plan (where the accused avoids a criminal record altogether) or an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour to a term of imprisonment.
The offence of trespassing lies in Section 18 of the Summary Offences Act 1966. Trespassing is committed by entering a property without permission to do so. A person can be charged for this offence and it is punishable by a maximum of six months imprisonment. If a person trespasses into a building whilst intending to steal, assault or damage property, they are guilty of the more serious offence of burglary.