Possess Equipment Capable of Making Identification Information
In NSW possessing equipment capable of making identification information with the intention of committing or facilitating an indictable offence is a serious offence that carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for three (3) years. In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:-
- Prison Sentence
- Home Detention
- Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)
- Suspended Sentence
- Community Service Order (CSO)
- Community Corrections Orders (CCO)
- Good Behaviour Bond
- Section 10A
- Conditional Release Order (CRO)
- Section 10
The Offence of Possession of Equipment Capable of Making Identification Information:
The offence of ‘possession of identification information’ is set out in section 192L Crimes Act 1900, which states: “A person who: (a) possesses any equipment, material or other thing that is capable of being used to make a document or other thing containing identification information, and (b) intends that the document or other thing made will be used to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, an indictable offence, is guilty of an offence.”
What Actions Might Constitute “Possession of Equipment Capable of Making Identification Information”?
Identification information is defined in section 192I of the Act that means information relating to a person that is capable of being used to identify or purportedly identify that person. This section also provides a non-exhaustive list of examples, including:-
- Name and address;
- Date or place of birth; marital status; relative’s identity;
- Driver’s licence or licence number;
- Passport or passport number;
- Biometric data (for example, fingerprints or eye scan data);
- Credit/debit card or number;
- Digital signature; or
This section is broadly drafted and includes any equipment or material or other thing capable of making identification material. This broad drafting of the offence means that you can be charged with an offence under this section even if you have just one bit of the puzzle in creating an identification document.
Examples of equipment or material under this section may include:-
- Printers and/or blank cards to produce driver licences;
- Equipment to print and stamp passports;
- Computers, even, which are more than capable of creating a digital signal allowing someone to purport to be someone else, or possess an authority to act.
The word ‘intention’ is also important to take note of. Once you are in possession of any identification material, you must intend to commit or facilitate the commission of an indictable offence. You can be charged with an offence under this section even if committing the indictable offence is impossible or to be committed at a later date.
It is also relevant that the ‘indictable offence’ intended to be committed does not have committed by you. It is still an offence under this section if your actions are used to facilitate an indictable offence by another person.
What The Police Must Prove:
To convict you of “possession of identification information” the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:-
- Were in possession of identification material;
- With intent to commit or facilitate the commission of;
- Any indictable offence, whether by you or another person.
Possible Defences For Possession of Equipment Capable of Making Identification Information:
Under 192M(2) of the Act, it is not an offence to attempt to commit an offence under this section.
Under 192M(1) of the Act, this section does not apply when you are dealing with your own identification information.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
This offence is a Table 2 offence. That means that your matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court. However, the Prosecutor can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If they do so, this will give rise to harsher penalties.
Types of Penalties:
Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). 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 (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: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. 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): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). 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: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). 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 Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.
Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. 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.