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In NSW, malicious damage carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. Where the offence is committed in company with another person, the maximum penalty is 6 years imprisonment.
There are different maximum penalties if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, or during a 'public disorder'.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an malicious damage to property charge.
You will find a brief description of each of these penalties at the bottom of this page.
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 malicious damage might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel. A conviction for an offence of violence can rule out certain career paths such as teaching and a range of government employment options. Violent offences may also result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.
Such offences can be complicated if there are aggravating factors. 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. It is very important that you obtain legal advice before you take part in any police record of interview. Call us on 1300 168 315 for urgent advice.
The offence of Malicious Damage is contained in section 195 of the Crimes Act 1900 which states:
Property is defined in section 4 of the Crimes Act 1900. It includes:
Yes. A criminal conviction is very likely unless the Court is convinced that they should exercise their discretion not to convict you of the offence.
Where the value of the property charged exceeds $5000, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made, the matter will be dealt with in the Local Court.
Where the value of the property charged does not exceed $5000, this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that only the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made, the matter will be dealt with in the Local Court.
If the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum penalty for this offence if you are convicted in the Local Court is:
To convict you of a malicious damage to property charge, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the malicious damage to property offence.
No, it is not possible to bargain with the court that you would pay a larger fine to avoid a criminal conviction. If the court deals with you under section 10 there will be no fine, but there may be court costs (normally less than $80).
The common ways to defend this charge are:
Note: You cannot be convicted of malicious damage to property if you do not show the required intent. This means that you will not be convicted of the offence if the property was damaged accidentally.
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 correction order for an malicious damage to property 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 malicious damage to property charge: 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 for an malicious damage to property charge. (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 for an malicious damage to property charge: 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.
Fines for an malicious damage to property charge: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. 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 for an malicious damage to property 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.