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In NSW, using or possessing a pistol or a prohibited firearm without authorisation carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. A pistol is defined as anything that is reasonably capable as being fired by one hand and it is also limited to specific dimensions. There is a list of prohibited firearms in schedule 1 of the Firearms Act 1996 which can be found here. (link to http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/fa1996102/sch1.html)
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:
The offence of Unauthorised possession or use of a pistol or prohibited firearm is contained in section 7 of the Firearms Act 1996 which states: A person must not possess or use a pistol or prohibited firearm unless the person is authorised to do so by a licence or permit. Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 14 years.
To convict you of unauthorised possession of a firearm, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
Possible defences to unauthorised use or possession of a pistol or prohibited firearm charge include but are not limited to:
This offence is a Table 2 offence. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however, the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If they do so, this will give rise to harsher penalties.
Intensive correction order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.
Periodic detention (commonly known as weekend detention): This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.
Suspended sentence: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.
Community service order(CSO): This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.
Good behaviour bond: This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.
Section 10: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.