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In NSW, intimidation or stalking carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 50 penalty units.
The vast majority of people who plead guilty or are found guilty of this offence do not serve a term of full-time custody. However, only a small minority escape a conviction being recorded and a punishment being imposed.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an intimidation or stalking charge.
The offence of intimidation or stalking is contained in section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. It reads as follows:
A person who stalks or intimidates another person with the intention of causing the other person to fear physical or mental harm is guilty of an offence.
Intimidation is defined as being one of the following:
Stalking is defined to include following a person, or approaching or attending a person’s home or place of work, or any other place they attend regularly.
To convict you of Intimidation, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
To convict you of stalking, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
Possible defences to a Intimidation or stalking charge include but are not limited to:
This matter is a "table" matter. This means that it is normally heard in the Local Court, but it will occasionally be heard in the District or Supreme Court.
The consequences of a conviction can be serious depending upon what you do for a living. Some jobs require you to have no criminal convictions and a conviction for an intimidation or stalking charge might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel. Moreover a conviction for an intimidation or stalking charge can completely rule out certain career paths such as teaching and a range of government employment options. Charges may also result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.
It is important to get legal advice at an early stage to ascertain precisely what the consequences of a conviction may be and whether you have a defence to the charge.
Home Detention for an intimidation and stalking charge: Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.
Intensive corrections order for an intimidation and stalking charge (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.
Suspended sentence for an intimidation and stalking charge: 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 for an intimidation and stalking charge. (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 for an intimidation and stalking charge: 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.
Fines for an intimidation and stalking charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for an intimidation and stalking charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.
Section 10 for an intimidation and stalking charge: 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.