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