Stealing and/or offences of dishonesty

Stealing and/or offences of dishonesty


Stealing offences, no matter how serious, carry a maximum penalty of jail time. It is important that you work with experienced solicitors who are aware of your possible defences and options.

Stealing offences must show an element of dishonesty - which is judged by the standards of ordinary people. There are also several potential defences, explained in more detail below, that may apply to your case.

Goods In Custody

This charge is often laid following a search of a person, vehicle or property where the police suspect items in your possession to have been stolen, and carries a penalty of up to one year imprisonment (if the goods are a motor vehicle, 6 months imprisonment if anything else).

The first step is to consider whether the search that resulted in the items being found was legally conducted. If not, you can be found not guilty.

Another possible defence is to the knowledge of the goods existence, or that they were stolen. The prosecution must prove that you had knowledge, or a suspicion, that the goods were not lawfully obtained.


This charge is a stealing offence whereby the prosecution must show that you had an intention to permanently deprive the owner of an item that was lawfully theirs. Larceny carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

Possible defences include a 'claim of right', that is, you believe that the goods belong to you, or a lack of intention to permanently deprive the owner, or you obtained the goods by mistake.

Robbery or Steal from Person

The charge of robbery is the same concept as larceny however, involves an additional element of force. This force need not be physical, but rather that the item being taken was in someone's immediate presence and that person felt overpowered. This charge is serious, and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

Robbery charges are often aggravated, carrying a penalty of 25 years, by the use of corporal violence, being in the company of another, or using a weapon.

Robbery offences also carry Standard Non Parole Periods and Guideline Judgments, so it is important to ensure that you have experienced representation who can analyse your case to obtain the best result for you.


The most common fraud related charges are "dishonestly obtain financial benefit by deception" and "deal with identity information" and "make false document". These offences carry a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment per count of fraud.

Fraud related offences are almost always dealt with on Indictment in the District Court, and are considered serious offences. We work with Barristers who have experience both defending and prosecuting fraud matters, to ensure that your defence or sentence is handled with the level of technicality that is required for these complex matters.

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