Break and Enter Offences
Break and Enter Offence Lawyer in Sydney NSW
Being charged with a “break and enter” offence is serious and can have a stressful impact on you and your family. With the help of your expert break and enter offence lawyers we’ll maximize your chances of getting the best possible result.
Pleading Not Guilty
To be found guilty of a break and enter offence at least two elements are required to be proved beyond any reasonable doubt:
- That you broke and entered into a private property or premises without the owner’s consent
Private property includes another person’s home, vehicle, commercial properties such as a school, church and business, etc.
It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove you broke into a property even if you did not do it forcefully. For example, you do not necessarily have to smash a window to enter a place. It is sufficient to prove you broke and entered into a property if you gained access from an unlocked but closed door, window or gate.
Another instance that the prosecution can prove is that you obtained entry to a premise from fraudulent activities, threats or using the owner’s keys without permission.
However, if the door, window or gate was already physically open the prosecution will not be able to prove that you entered without the owner’s consent.
- That a serious indictable offence was committed. This is an offence that carries a period of imprisonment of 5 years or longer such as assault or larceny
You will have the opportunity to defend the charges if you plead not guilty. You should contact one of our experienced criminal lawyers who can advise you on your options.
We defend your case by:
- Casting doubt in court on the case of the prosecution
- Push for the charges to be dropped by raising defences early which can explain or justify your actions
Commonly Raised Defences
Commonly raised defences include:
- Circumstances where you were coerced, threatened or under duress to break and enter the property
- Where there are circumstances of necessity. This includes breaking and entering to save someone’s life or protect them from serious injury
- Where you received the permission of the owner to perform the break and enter
If you wish to plead guilty and do it at an early stage you may be able to receive a more lenient sentence. You may be able to achieve a better outcome as pleading guilty early shows the magistrate you have taken responsibility for you actions.
Your case will go straight to sentencing and you will avoid any risk and fees that might have applied during a trial.
Before pleading guilty you should always get advice from an experienced criminal lawyer. Our lawyers will be able to advice based on your circumstances and if there are any opportunities that you may have missed to fight the charges and be found not guilty. We can also push to get you’re a lighter sentence. If your offence is not serious we can convince the court that you are a person of good character and possibly avoid a conviction altogether.
The types of penalties that a magistrate in NSW can impose are:
- Section 10
- Good behavior bond
- Community service order
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Suspended sentence
- Full-time imprisonment
When determining the penalty you will get the courts will take into consideration the circumstances surrounding your case. This includes looking at the seriousness of the offence based on whether it was planned or not, whether you were on bail or parole at the time and the extent of damage caused to the property due to your conduct.
You should always consider engaging us to represent you. We will use our experience and knowledge to get you’re the best possible outcome.
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Other Break and Enter Offences
Break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence.
This is under s113 of the Crimes Act in NSW. This means that you can still be charged even if you don’t commit a serious indictable offence but have the intention of doing so. For example if you are caught in the act of stealing.
Caught upon enclosed land with an armed weapon
If you are caught on enclosed land with a weapon or instrument, housebreaking instrument, or disguises you may be charged under s114 of the Crimes Act. For example if you are wearing a balaclava and found holding bold cutters.
Previously convicted of indictable offence
If you have previously been convicted of an indictable offence and you are found with an armed weapon with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence then you may be charged with more severe penalties.
Aggravating circumstances are factors that make an offence more serious. If the prosecution is able to prove that an offence is committed in aggravating circumstances the court will impose a harsher penalty if the prosecution is able to prove that an offence is committed in aggravating circumstances.
Aggravating circumstances may occur before, during or after the offence and include the following:
- Armed with an “offensive weapon or instrument”
This includes anything with the potential to cause harm on another person. For example, bats, clubs, knives and sharp objects. It can also refer to objects that are not generally considered a weapon such as bottles and cars. There is no requirement that the weapon was used but rather that it was in your possession.
- Armed in the company of one or more other persons
There must have been at least more than one person physical present at the time of the offence that shared a common purpose with the accused. The court will consider the actions of the group and whether it caused any intimidation to the victim. It will not be sufficient to say that someone was involved if they are not physically present. For example if they planned the offence earlier or where on lookout somewhere else.
- You inflicted corporal violence on another person
Corporal violence refers to the physical injury of another person.
- You inflicted actual bodily harm
Actual bodily harm refers to harm that has a long lasting impact. It does not need to be permanent. Some examples are bruises, cuts and scratches. It also includes emotional harm where evidence of a serious lasting psychiatric impact can be proved.
- You deprive someone of their liberty
This includes confining someone or holding someone against their will.
- You knew that there was someone inside the property where you committed the offence
There are two additional circumstances of aggravation. These are known as special aggravation:
- Wounding or maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm upon another person
- Being armed with a dangerous weapon
Penalties for Break and Enter in NSW
The maximum penalties for each offences are listed below:
|Offence||Maximum Penalty (imprisonment)|
|Break, enter and commit a serious indictable offence||14 years|
|Break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence||10 years|
|Enter a dwelling house with intent to commit a serious indictable offence||10 years|
|Being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence||7 years|
|Break out of a dwelling house after committing, or with intent to commit an indictable offence||14 years|
|Being a convicted offender armed with intent to commit an indictable offence||10 years|
|Break, enter and assault with intent to murder||25 years|
These are the most severe penalties for each offence. Generally the penalties will not be as harsh. The court will generally take into consideration the following when determining the penalty:
- If you were on bail or parole at the time of offence
- Whether the offence was planned prior
- Whether the offence was committed in the presence of the elderly, sick or disabled persons;
- Whether any vandalism or property damage occurred
- Whether you repeatedly targeted a particular property
- The value of the property involved
- The amount of force that was used
- The trauma, if any, suffered by the victim
Based on the statistics on average half of the offenders convicted of break and enter offences end up in prison. 64% of offenders charged with aggravated break and enter and 49% of offenders charged with non-aggravated offences end up in goal. For this reason it is extremely important to have an expert criminal lawyer on your side and advising you of the best possible approach for your case to ensure that you keep your freedom.
Ross Hill & Associate Solicitors are an experienced team of attorneys. With extensive experience in dealing with break and enter cases in Sydney we will ensure that you get the best outcome for your case. Click here to see more info on our homepage.
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