Using a false document (fraud)
There is not a criminal offence of fraud, but there are a number of offences that involve fraudulent behaviour, and Use False Document is one of those offences. If you have been charged with Use False Document, 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 Use False Document, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the offence set out in s 83A(2) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) which are as follows:
- The accused used a document; and
- The document used was false; and
- The accused knew the document was false; and
- The accused used the document intending to deceiving a person into accepting the document as genuine; and
- The accused intended that as a result of accepting the document as genuine, the person would act in a way that prejudiced somebody.
Will I have to go to court?
Charges for Use False Document are often 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 Use False Document.
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 10 years imprisonment if dealt with in the County or Supreme Court.
What sentences are usually given?
Between 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2021, there were 71 sentences imposed in the higher courts, with imprisonment imposed in 70% and community corrections order in 20%.
Between 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021 the Magistrates Court dealt with 406 cases and imprisonment was imposed in 52% of cases, and a community corrections order in 16% of cases.
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