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Summary Offences

Summary offences are minor criminal offences that must be dealt with in the Magistrates Court. Victorian summary offences are contained in the Summary Offences Act 1966 and other legislation. A person found guilty of a summary offence may be dealt with by way of a fine, good behaviour bond or a short term of imprisonment.

It may also be possible for a person facing summary charges to be dealt with by way of diversion. If this occurs, the person is diverted away from the criminal justice system and does not receive a criminal conviction or a criminal penalty provided they comply with the requirements of their diversionary program.

Some of the common summary offences are summarised below.

Public drunkenness

Under section 8 of the Summary Offences Act, it is an offence to be drunk in a public place. This is a fine-only offence, with a maximum penalty of a fine of 8 penalty units. The offence of being found drunk and disorderly in public place is a more serious offence, which carries a maximum penalty of three days imprisonment or a fine of 20 penalty units.

Obscene behaviour in public

A person who behaves in an obscene, indecent, threatening or abusive manner is a public place is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for up to two months or a fine of up to 10 penalty units. However, the maximum penalty for this offence increases to three months and 15 penalty units for a second offence and six months and 25 penalty units for a third offence.

Sexual exposure

A person who exposes themselves sexually within view of the public is liable to imprisonment for up to two years.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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