Charged with a property offence, or white-collar crime offence? We provide legal advice and representation at Court for all property offences in Victoria.
Property offences in Victoria are generally prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). Several of the most prevalent property offences include:
By clicking on any of the above links you will be directed to our blog page, where we have set out in some detail the elements, defences, and penalties for each of these offences.
Several property and dishonestly related offences are also prosecuted under commonwealth legislation, refer to Part 7.3 (‘Fraudulent Conduct) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
Most offences are prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court more serious offences are heard in the County or Supreme Court
Our Courts also hear property offences prosecuted in contravention of federal legislation (for example, welfare fraud, taxation offences, corporate crime).
The Magistrates’ Court has jurisdiction to hear property offences where the value of the property is less than $100,000.
Offences which exceed this financial limit are usually heard in the County Court of Victoria. Most property offences contained in the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) are indictable offences. The penalties available for property offences vary greatly and are not necessarily representative of the maximum penalty available. Theft, although attracting a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment may be referred for a diversion where the property value is low. Similarly, the same is true for handle/receive stolen goods.
Sentencing Outcomes for Property Offences
The sentencing outcomes for property offences such as those described above varies greatly from case to case. Whilst some indictable offences (such as Handle Receive Stolen goods), carry a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, such offences are frequently heard and determined in the Magistrates’ Court (often as an alternative to theft) and may be suitable for diversion (depending upon the property of the value in question).
On the other end of the scale, serious and sophisticated dishonest behaviour can attract immediate imprisonment (even when finalised in the Magistrates’ Court).
Sentencing is an inherently complex process and there are many factors that are synthesised to determine a sentencing outcome for property offence, these factors include:
Matters personal to the accused (their age, intellectual functioning, physical and mental health).
Gravity of the offending in questions (as determined by the value of the property, the extent of loss suffered by a victim of the offending).
Whether the accused has any prior convictions, and particular prior convictions for dishonest offences (sentencing considerations such as specific deterrence may come into play when there is a history of dishonesty offences).
Policy considerations (a plea of guilty will attract a sentencing discount).
Many sentencing options are available for property offences and include:
Community Correction Order
Conviction or Without conviction
Many of the factors referred to above will also inform the Court as to whether the Court will impose the sentence with or without conviction. Specifically, section 8 of the Sentencing Act provides a non-exhaustive list of factors a Court will consider to determine the issue of whether to record a conviction.
Property Offence Resources
Property Offences in Victoria
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