A Criminal Offence is when a person breaks a law and commits a crime against another person or persons in the community. In this article, we will describe what a criminal offence is in NSW and a bit about what to expect if you or a loved one has been charged.
Laws fall into two categories in Australia, there are Commonwealth Laws and State Laws. State laws can differ from state to state, but Commonwealth laws apply Australia-wide. Each law is written with defined offences and contains a maximum penalty a court can impose upon a person convicted of committing an offence.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offence in NSW, this means that the state has accused you or them of committing an act that is against the law. Should you be found guilty, the magistrate or judge will then decide what penalty or punishment you should be sentenced to.
What can you be charged with?
There is a broad range of different offences covering a lot of different situations. Most people charged with a criminal offence will have their matter heard in the local court. For more serious offences, the matter may be heard in the district court or even the supreme court.
Common Criminal offences:
- Driving offences
- Larceny (stealing)
- Destroying or damaging property
- Possessing a prohibited drug
- Common assault.
Who can charge you?
There are a number of government departments that can bring charges against you. Who charges you with a criminal offence will depend on the type of crime you are accused of committing and where it occurs.
Offices That Can Bring Charges Against You:
- NSW Police
- Federal Police
- Transport for NSW (TfNSW)(formerly known as Roads and Maritime Services or RMS)
- Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions or Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
- NSW Environment Protection Authority.
A prosecutor will be assigned to run the case against you in court. They must prove to the court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the offence. This means that the magistrate must be certain that you committed the offence.
Private individuals may also bring a charge and prosecute another person with a criminal offence. Under the law, This is known as a private prosecution. If you are involved in a private prosecution, you should get legal advice as soon as possible.
What is a defence?
The defence is your chance to provide an explanation or reason that explains or proves why you should not be found guilty of the offence you are charged with.
A defence may include:
- You denying that you did what the prosecutor says you did, or
- You providing a legal excuse or justification for your actions.
Examples of legal defences include:
- A genuine accidents
- An honest and reasonable mistake
- The self-defence or defence of another person
- A necessity or duress (where you were forced to do something to avoid something worse happening)
- If you had a legal right to do what you did.
A legal defence should always be presented by a defence lawyer who can help to navigate the legal process and fight on your behalf to ensure that the best defence is provided for you in court.
Should you or a loved one be facing criminal charges, contact our office now. We have a team of lawyers who will ensure you are not alone in facing these charges and will fight by your side for the best possible outcomes. What is a criminal offence in NSW: Contact CM Law
Thank you for reading this article, please note that this content is accurate at the time of posting but is not updated regularly. The content throughout this site should be viewed as informational and informative but not considered legal advice. We cannot guarantee that any of the information on the website is current and laws are regularly changing. For more accurate information or to obtain proper legal advice, please contact our office today.