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BREAK, ENTER & STEAL OFFENCES

BREAK, ENTER & STEAL OFFENCES

There are a number of break and enter offences that can be prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1900. Part 4, Division 1, Subdivision 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) contains a number of break and enter offences, including:

  • Break out of a dwelling-house after committing, or enter with intent to commit, an indictable offence, pursuant to section 109. Maximum penalty 14 years imprisonment.

  • Break, enter and assault with intent to murder, purusant to section 110. Maximum penalty 25 years imprisonment.

  • Enter a dwelling house with intent to commit a serious indictable offence, pursuant to section 111. Maximum penalty 10 years imprisonment.

  • Break, enter and commit a serious indictable offence, pursuant to section 112. Maximum penalty 14 years imprisonment.

  • Break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence, pursuant to section 113. Maximum penalty 10 years imprisonment.

  • Being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, pursuant to section 114. Maximum penalty 7 years imprisonment.

  • Being a convicted offender armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, pursuant to section 115. Maximum penalty 10 years imprisonment.

As an example, section 112 of the Crimes Act 1900 makes it a criminal offence to break into a residential or commercial premises to steal property or for the purpose of committing any other serious indictable offence. A ‘serious indictable offence’ is any offence that carries more than five years imprisonment, including offences such as indecent assault, larceny, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The maximum penalty for an offence under section 112 is 14 years imprisonment.

A person can be charged with an offence of “Break, Enter and Steal” or “Break, Enter and Commit Serious Indictable Offence”, if he or she:

(1) Breaks a part of the property, like a door, window, screen, or lock;

(2) Enters the premises, being an apartment, house, shop, or building; and

(3) Having entered those premises, stole an item or items of property belonging to another; or

(4) Having entered those premises, committed a serious indictable offence, such as stealing, committing further damage to property, or assaulting the occupier of that premises.

There are different levels of ‘aggravation’ or seriousness of this offence depending on the conduct engaged in or the offence committed while inside the house or premises.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 14 years imprisonment.

If the offence is committed in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ the maximum penalty for this offence is 20 years imprisonment. ‘Circumstances of aggravation’ include having a weapon, being in the company of another person or knowing that there is someone else inside the house.

If the offence is committed in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ the maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment. ‘Circumstances of aggravation’ include wounding or very seriously assaulting someone in the house or being in possession of a dangerous weapon.

As with any criminal offence, the prosecution must prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have a defence available, the prosecution must negate that defence beyond reasonable doubt if the Court is to find you guilty. If you are charged with the offence of break, enter and steal, or any other offence constituting theft, please contact KF Lawyers to arrange for a consultation to discuss potential defences and range of sentences that are available in your situation.

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