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Car Stealing

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton
Craig Robinson
Andrew Tiedt
Andrew Fraser
Mariah Maltezos
Sarah Marinovic
Michael Hempsall
Will Del Din
Trudie Cameron

The maximum penalty for the charge of stealing a motor vehicle or vessel (Section 154F of the Crimes Act 1900) is 10 years imprisonment.

This offence is separate from an offence under section 154A of the Crimes Act, which is the offence of "joyriding". Joyriding involves the taking of a vehicle without the owner's consent. This offence involves that same element, but there is also an additional element required being the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the car.

For example, a teenager may take a car for the purposes of a joyride without intending to permanently deprive the owner of the car. The appropriate charge in that circumstance is a charge under section 154A. A person who takes a car, with the intention of keeping or otherwise permanently depriving the owner of that car is appropriately charged under section 154F.

In NSW, a court can impose a range of penalties for a charge of stealing a car.

You will find a brief description of each of these penalties in the "Penalties" section.

Which court will hear your matter?

This matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either you or the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What is the law part and the short description?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received, you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
59794 Steal motor vehicle – T1
59795 Steal vessel – T1

What the prosecution must prove:

To convict you of a charge of stealing a car, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you stole a car; and
  2. With the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the car;
  3. You were the person who committed the offence.

They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the receiving stolen goods offence.

What are the possible defences for stealing a car?

Possible defences to a car stealing charge include but are not limited to:

Types of penalties:

Section 10 for car stealing 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.

Fines for car stealing charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a receiving stolen goods charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Good behavior bond for a car stealing 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.

Community service order for a car stealing 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.

Suspended sentence for a car stealing 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.

Periodic detention for a car stealing charge (commonly known as weekend detention): This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.

Intensive correction order for a receiving stolen goods 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.

Intensive correction order for a receiving stolen goods charge (ICO):This is an alternative to full-time imprisonment where the court has sentenced an offender to imprisonment for not more than 18 months. Instead of sentencing you to imprisonment in jail, it allows you to serve the sentence in your home. You will be strictly supervised and are subject to electronic monitoring. In order to be eligible for home detention, the court must first find that no penalty other than imprisonment is an appropriate for the offence you committed. Read more.

Jail for a car stealing charge: This is the most serious penalty for the charge of receiving stolen goods and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.


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where to next?

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.

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