Criminal Law

Destroying or Damaging Property

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What is destroying or damaging property?

Destroying or damaging property charges can potentially lead to a criminal conviction, affecting your career, reputation and travel.

The prosecution must prove the following elements of the charge before you can be found guilty of destroying or damaging property:

  • You intentionally or recklessly damaged property; and
  • That property belonged to another person

If any of these elements cannot be made out you will be found not guilty.

Defences to the charge

Defences to the charge of destroying or damaging property are:

  • Self-Defence – you damaged the property while defending yourself or someone else from another person, or you were protecting property.
  • Duress – where you damaged the property under the threat of death or serious harm.
  • Necessity – where it was essential to avoid/prevent death or serious injury to yourself or some other person.

Penalties

Maximum penalties are as follows:

  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property – Section 195 (1) (a) – 5 years imprisonment
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property using fire or explosives – Section 195 (1) (b) – 10 years imprisonment
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property in company of another person – Section 195 (1A) (a) – 6 years imprisonment
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property using fire or explosives in company (with another person) – Section 195 (1A) (b) – 11 years imprisonment
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property during a public disorder – Section 195 (2) (a) –7 years imprisonment
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property using fire or explosives during a public disorder – Section 195 (2) (b) – 12 Years imprisonment.

Pleading guilty

Speak to our criminal defence lawyers about how to prepare your case for sentence and achieve the best possible outcome.

Considering the facts of your case and receiving a discount for entering an early guilty plea may increase the chances of avoiding a criminal conviction.

Contact us today or book an appointment online.

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