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First offence penalties - stealing

Generally the Penalties Imposed by a Court for a First Offence are Less than for Repeat Offenders. The Reasons for a Reduction in Penalty May Include:

  • Good character
  • Need for rehabilitation
  • Greater remorse
  • Extra curial punishment – The effect that a harsh penalty may have upon someone’s employment, travel and membership with associations

It is possible for all offenders charged with stealing or break enter and steal to avoid a criminal conviction if the court makes an order under section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. However, a first offender is far more likely to receive a section 10 than a repeat offender.

The table below outlines the percentage of section 10’s issued to first offenders for stealing or break enter and steal type offences against all other penalties imposed. Obviously, the more serious the offence the lower the percentage.

For more serious offences, where a section 10 is unlikely or unavailable, we have listed the average jail term for first offences.


Offence Percentage of first offenders who get a section 10 Average jail term for first offenders
Break, Enter and Steal CRIMINAL LAW
Goods in Custody CRIMINAL LAW
6 months
Illegal Use of Motor Vehicle CRIMINAL LAW
Receiving Stolen Goods CRIMINAL LAW
>18 months
Steal from Dwelling House (up to $2000) CRIMINAL LAW

If you would like us to advise you on your chances of obtaining a section 10 for a stealing or break enter and steal offence, please contact us.

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