If you have been charged with Criminal Damage, here is some information to know and consider in seeking legal advice with Emma Turnbull Lawyers.
Elements of the offence
For the prosecution to prove the offence of Criminal Damage, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the offence which are set out in s197 Crimes Act 1958 and are as follows:
- The accused damaged or destroyed property; and
- The property damage or destruction belonged to another person; and
- The accused intended to damage or destroy the property; and
- The accused did not have a lawful excuse for their actions.
Will I have to go to court?
The charge for Criminal Damage can be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates’ Court. However, depending on the circumstances of the offence and any other charges laid, the case may be heard in a higher court. Expert legal advice is important in ensuring the most appropriate defence to a charge of Criminal Damage.
Once the case goes to court, it is up to the prosecution to prove all the elements of the offence. It is important that you seek expert legal advice to prepare a defence and to represent you in court as this offence carries a significant maximum sentence of imprisonment.
The maximum penalty this offence carries is 2 years imprisonment if it is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, but if dealt with in the County or Supreme Court the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.
What sentences are usually given?
Between 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2021, 20 people were sentenced for Criminal Damage in the higher courts, with 65% (13 people) sentence to imprisonment, with the sentences imposed ranging up to 4 years.
Between 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021 the Magistrates Court dealt with 13,160 cases and imprisonment was imposed in 38% of cases (5,001 people), a community corrections order in 20% of cases (2,632 people) and fines in 19% of cases (2,500).
What do I do now?
To ensure the best chance of a successful defence, it is important to get in contact with an expert criminal lawyer as soon as possible. At Emma Turnbull Lawyers, we have experienced criminal defence lawyers who can assist you in defending this charge.
Contact our office today to speak to an accredited criminal law specialist, on (03) 9077 4834 or at email@example.com