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Throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles / vessels


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW it is an offence to throw rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels.

A person can be charged with this offence if they drop or throw a rock or other object at or towards a vehicle or vessel. The vehicle or vessel must be on a road, railway or waters, there must be a person in that vehicle and the act must risk the safety of any other person.

The offence is commonly charged in circumstances where people throw rocks at cars from overpasses on freeways because of the high danger this causes to drivers, other motorists and other road users.

The maximum penalty for 'throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels' is 5 years imprisonment.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge.


THE OFFENCE OF THROWING ROCKS AND OTHER OBJECTS AT VEHICLES AND VESSELS:

The offence of 'throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels' is contained in s 49A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and states:

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

  • the person intentionally throws an object at, or drops an object on or towards, a vehicle or vessel that is on any road, railway or navigable waters, and
  • there is a person in the vehicle or vessel, and
  • the conduct risks the safety of any person.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

WHAT ACTIONS MIGHT CONSTITUTE THROWING ROCKS AND OTHER OBJECTS AT VEHICLES AND VESSELS?

Examples of 'throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels' include:

  • Standing on an overpass and dropping rocks on or near cars travelling on the freeway below;
  • Throwing screws in front of a truck as it drives past; or
  • Pouring water onto the skipper of a boat as it’s about to travel under the bridge you’re standing on.

WHAT THE POLICE MUST PROVE:

To convict you of ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels’ the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you threw or dropped an object;
  • That you threw or dropped that object on or towards a vehicle or vessel;
  • That there was a person in that vehicle or vessel;
  • That your conduct caused risk to any person.

POSSIBLE DEFENCES FOR THROWING ROCKS AND OTHER OBJECTS AT VEHICLES AND VESSELS

The most common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • To argue that you did not throw or drop an object;
  • To argue that you did not throw or drop the object intentionally;
  • To argue that you did not throw or drop the object towards a vehicle or vessel;
  • To argue that no one was in the vehicle or vessel;
  • To argue that your actions did not cause any risk to the safety of any person;
  • To raise necessity, duress or self-defence as the reason for your conduct.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

The offence of ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles’ is a Table 2 offence. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court.


Types of penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

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.

Fines: 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.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. 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.


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.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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