CRIMINAL LAW

Do you understand the meaning of crime?

DON’T BE A BUSH LAWYER, GET ADVICE.

The first thing you should know is that you do not need to answer Police questions. The only time you must go to the Police station is if you are arrested. It is best to give Police your name and address if that is requested, but don’t answer any questions or agree to go to the Police station.  Get in contact with a lawyer right away.

If you are charged with a crime, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt all of the elements of crime.  Lawyers call these the actus reus, which is the thing done, and the mens rea which is the guilty mind.  If the thing has been done (actus reus) but without a guilty mind (mens rea), then it is possible that you have not committed a crime. However, note, there are some crimes that area strict liability offences.  That is, if the actus reus is present, the prosecution does not need to prove mens rea.

THERE ARE MANY CRIMES LISTED IN THE CRIMES ACT.

The NSW Crimes Act is the major criminal law statute for New South Wales, it is an extensive legal document of 582 different sections which define an extensive list of offences under New South Wales law.

The Victorian Police (on their website) suggest there are in excess of 5000 individual statutory and common law offences.  They group these into 27 broad offence categories.

Example of the categories of crime, include;

  • offences against the person, (assault, for example)
  • economic offences (property/white collar/computer),
  • drug offences,
  • driving offences,
  • public order offences,
  • preliminary crimes (attempts and conspiracy)
  • offences against the sovereign, (for example, treason)

 

POLICE INVESTIGATION POWERS

The Police are empowered to make investigations, but there are limits on what the Police can do.  Key among these limitations are that you are entitled to a RIGHT TO SILENCE.  You do not have to answer questions and we recommend that you do not answer questions without having your lawyer present.

The Police MAY NOT ENTER YOUR HOME OR OTHER PRIVATE PROPERTIES. You are not obliged to allow the Police to enter a premise unless they have a warrant.  Ask for a copy of a warrant if the Police seek to enter your premises and let the Police know you object to them entering.  The Police must give you a copy of any warrant, if your lawyer is not with you, take photographs of the warrant with your cell phone and send them to your lawyer for comment.  GET LEGAL ADVICE.

 

IF YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND COURT.

The NSW Police will issue you with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) advising you of the charges and the date at which you must attend court.  GET LEGAL ADVICE.

 

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED.

Normally, you should be eligible for BAIL.  Bail is a little complex and if the Police oppose bail, you will be held in custody.  It is best to GET LEGAL ADVICE.

 

IF YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY.

You may be able to get a suspended sentence or a bond.  Sometimes you can avoid having a criminal offence placed on your record.  GET LEGAL ADVICE.