As the Queensland Government continues to crack down on violent crime, the courts will continue to treat offenders who commit offences involving theft, dishonesty, and violence harshly. Community expectations around tougher policing and a firmer stance on these types of theft charges means that this position is likely to continue. In these circumstances, you should understand what are the main offences in Queensland that relate to theft and dishonesty, and how they range in seriousness.
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For fearless defence against all different types of theft, get in touch with the criminal defence lawyers Brisbane relies on today - Beavon Lawyers. Give us a call on 1800 558 533 or get in touch online to request a free consultation.
Exploring the Major Types of Stealing Crimes
The offence of shoplifting, or unauthorised dealing with shop goods, is arguably an example of a lesser of the types of theft charges in the category of dishonesty offences. Nevertheless, these types of stealing crimes can be made out by a broad range of conduct and is not limited to simply taking something from a shop without paying. Conduct that could constitute shoplifting includes eating or drinking at a restaurant without paying, swapping or interfering with price tags, or leaving a licensed premises without paying.
It is important to note that if the value of the goods stolen is less than $150, then the offence falls under the Regulatory Offences Act 1985 (Qld) and could carry a fine of up to 6 penalty units ($862.50). However, if the amount stolen is greater than $150, then you may be charged with the more serious offence of fraud or stealing, and the penalties may be more severe. Namely, the offence of stealing is contained in Section 391 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) (Criminal Code). This section provides that a person who fraudulently takes anything capable of being stolen, or converts it for their own use, steals that property.
The maximum penalty for stealing is 5 years imprisonment. However, the maximum penalty can increase to 10 years imprisonment in select circumstances, including, but not limited to, if the property was stolen from a dwelling and exceeds $1000 in value, the property was stolen from a vehicle, or if the perpetrator has a previous conviction. Furthermore, the maximum penalty can increase to 14 years imprisonment if the property stolen is a firearm and is being stolen for the purpose of committing an indictable offence. Essentially, the offence of stealing is wide-ranging, and it is crucial to obtain legal advice if you have been charged, so that the intricacies of your case can be discussed with a lawyer.
Robbery and Burglary
Robbery is another of the key types of theft charges, and is contained in Section 409 of the Criminal Code. That section confirms that when someone uses violence, or threatens the use of violence, immediately before or after the stealing of property, they commit the offence of Robbery. As such, the two key ingredients of the offence are the act of stealing coupled with the further element of violence.
The use of violence, or the threat to use violence, may come about as a result of the victim attempting to resist the stealing of the property. In those circumstances, it does not matter that the violence was only the result of the victim’s attempt at resisting the theft, and it is enough to make out the offence. The maximum penalty for robbery is 14 years imprisonment, although the maximum penalty can be increased to life imprisonment in three key circumstances of aggravation:
- The offender is armed, or pretends to be armed, with a dangerous weapon.
- The offender is in the company of other persons.
- The offender wounds or uses violence against any person.
Furthermore, the related offence of Burglary is also punished severely by the courts. The offence is contained in section 419 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that any person who enters a dwelling with the intent to commit an indictable offence commits a crime, with the maximum penalty being 14 years imprisonment. Similarly, there are aggravating circumstances in which the maximum penalty can increase, including if there is damage to property, the use of violence, or if the offence is committed in the night. While Robbery and Burglary are similar types of stealing crimes, Burglary focuses on the offender being in a dwelling in order for the offence to be made out.
Trust Beavon Lawyers for Fearless Defence
If you have been charged with any of the above types of theft charges, it is important to obtain legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer can advise on the prospects of contesting any charges, or whether there is scope to negotiate any charges with the police.
If you need legal advice or representation surrounding any of the different types of theft, the friendly staff at Beavon Lawyers are always happy to assist. Appearing on a range of matters right across Queensland, our expert lawyers know the law well, and negotiate with the police on a daily basis as part of the court process. For fearless defence, contact the theft lawyer team at Beavon Lawyers via 1800 558 533 or request a free consultation online.