In Queensland, stealing, robbery and burglary are all common criminal property related offences. In this article, we discuss the three offences and the penalties for each. If police charge you with any of these offences, you need an experienced Brisbane Criminal Lawyer on your side.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STEALING, ROBBERY AND BURGLARY?
While stealing, robbery and burglary are similar, the penalties for each differ. If police charge you with a property offence, it is important to distinguish the differences between each. This will help to identify any defences open to you based on the evidence.
Stealing is found in Section 391 of the Criminal Code. To prove an offence of stealing, the prosecution must prove:
1. There is property capable of being stolen.
2. The item of property is owned by someone.
3. The defendant took the item of property without the owner’s consent. The defendant must have moved the property or dealt with the property by some physical act without the owner’s consent.
4. When the defendant took the item of property, they did so intending to permanently deprive the owner of it.
Scenarios involving stealing include:
1. Removing a wallet or purse from someone without their consent.
2. Taking an item from a store without paying for it.
3. Finding an item at a shopping centre and keeping it without taking it to the police or the shopping centre management.
4. Borrowing money from someone without their consent intending to repay it to them at a later date.
In Queensland, the maximum penalty for stealing is 5 years imprisonment. But, the maximum penalty increases in situations, including, but not limited to:
1. If you stole from your employer.
2. If you stole a Will.
3. If you stole property worth more than $5,000.
4. If you stole a firearm.
The charge of robbery also involves stealing, but involves confronting the complainant. Whereas, stealing can occur with no knowledge of the complainant at the time of the offence.
The criminal offence of robbery is found in Section 409 of the Criminal Code. To prove an offence of robbery, the prosecution must prove:
1. The defendant stole property.
2. At the time of, or immediately before or after the defendant stole the property, they used or threatened to use actual violence to any person or property.
3. The threat of violence or the use of violence must have been done for the purpose of obtaining the property or overcome resistance to the property being stolen.
A classic example of a robbery is a street robbery. The defendant approaches the complainant who is walking along the street. The Defendant may tell the complainant to hand over their wallet or they will punch them in the head. The complainant then hands over their wallet to the defendant. Another example is a bank robbery. The defendant may go into a bank armed with a gun. The defendant may point the gun at the bank teller and demand cash. The bank teller hands over cash to the defendant.
In Queensland, the maximum penalty for an offence of robbery is 14 years imprisonment. If a defendant commits the robbery in any of the following situations, the maximum penalty increases to Life Imprisonment:
- The defendant is or pretends to be armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon.
- The defendant is in company with 1 or more persons.
- At the time of or before or after the robbery the defendant wounds or uses any other personal violence to any person.
What is an “offensive weapon”?
An offensive weapon is anything used as a weapon at the time of the robbery. The item of property may commonly be used for an innocent purpose. Examples of offensive weapons include hammers, baseball bats, clubs, pitchforks, walking sticks, golf clubs etc.
Unlike robbery, the victim doesn’t need to be present at the time of the burglary. There does not need to be any violence or threat of violence to anyone or anything.
The criminal offence of burglary is found in Section 419 of the Criminal Code. To prove an offence of burglary, the prosecution must prove:
1. The defendant entered the dwelling (home) of the victim.
2. At the time the defendant entered the dwelling they intended to commit an indictable offence.
Burglaries commonly occur when a defendant enters the home of a victim and steals items of property.
The maximum penalty for burglary in Queensland is 14 years imprisonment. But, the law says the maximum penalty increases to Life Imprisonment in the following situations:
1. The defendant broke into the victim’s dwelling.
2. The offence was committed at night (between 9:00PM and 6:00AM).
3. The defendant used or threatened to use actual violence.
4. The defendant was or pretended to be armed with a dangerous weapon or offensive weapon, instrument or noxious substance.
5. The defendant was in company with 1 or more persons.
6. The defendant damaged, or threatened or attempted to damage, any property.
WHAT SHOULD I DO I I’VE BEEN CHARGED WITH STEALING, ROBBERY OR BURGLARY?
The three offences of stealing, robbery and burglary are serious criminal offences. If police charged you with either of these offences, you must get legal advice from a Brisbane Criminal Lawyer straightaway. Get legal advice early in the peace so you can receive help with the legalities. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to explain the process to you and your options and guide you. The criminal lawyer will analyse the evidence so they can achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
THE NEED FOR THE BEST REPRESENTATION
If police charge you with stealing, robbery or burglary, you are in deep trouble. As you will have read, the consequences for you are serious. You need the experience of the Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group in your corner fighting for you. Our criminal lawyers are highly trained and experienced in representing clients charged with stealing, robbery and burglary.
If you or someone you know are facing a charge of stealing, robbery or burglary, contact our Brisbane Criminal Lawyers now on (07) 3153 6215 for a free no-obligation chat.