If you are found guilty (or plead guilty) to break and enter, depending upon the circumstances of the offence, and your previous criminal history, the Court may impose a heavy fine and imprisonment.

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Break and Enter Lawyers in NSW

Our Criminal Law Team can assist you with matters related to break and enter offences, we have the experience and expertise necessary to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

We’ve been defending the people of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast and the Hunter region since 1969 and have helped our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes in all Criminal Law matters.

We are used to dealing with the Police and know all the ‘ins and outs’ of the Courts and Justice system.

If you have been charged with break and enter, contact our Criminal Law Team today to book a teleconference or appointment. We’ll fight vigorously to protect your freedom and rights.

What is a break and enter offence?

It is an offence under the Crimes Act for an individual to enter another person’s dwelling/house with the intent to commit an indictable offence therein.

The “indictable offence” is usually to steal the property of another person or to assault another.

The offence will be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is made for trial on indictment. The maximum penalty which can be imposed in the Local Court is two years imprisonment.

If the matter is elected to be heard in the District Court, the maximum penalty is ten years, however, where there are circumstances of aggravation, the period of imprisonment can extend to 14 years and, in situations of special aggravation, imprisonment can extend to 20 years imprisonment.

Under the Crimes Act, it is an offence to break into a dwelling or house with the intent to commit a serious indictable offence. Any person who breaks and enters and the serious indictable offence is stealing, or destroying or damaging property and the value of that property does not exceed $60,000, then this matter will be dealt with in the Local Court, unless an election is made for the matter to be dealt with in the District Court of NSW.

What are the penalties for break and enter?

If the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum period of imprisonment is two years. If the matter is not an offence as noted above, the matter will be heard by the District Court of NSW. The maximum period of imprisonment if the matter is listed in the District Court is 14 years imprisonment, however, where there are circumstances of aggravation, the maximum period of imprisonment is 20 years and, in special aggravating circumstances, the maximum period is 25 years.

Under the Crimes Act, it is an offence to break into any house with the intent to commit a serious indictable offence, even if this indictable offence does not occur. Where the serious indictable offence is stealing or malicious damage of property, the matter will be dealt with in the Local Court and maximum period of imprisonment is two years. If it is not an offence concerning stealing or malicious damage of property, the maximum period of imprisonment is two years, however, in circumstances where there are aggravating features of the offence, the maximum period of imprisonment is 14 years and, in special aggravating circumstances, the maximum period of imprisonment is 20 years.

If an individual is found guilty of breaking into a house and committing a serious indictable offence, there is a standard non-parole provision of 5 years which applies to the offence and for an offence with special aggravating circumstances, the standard non-parole provision is 7 years.

If you are found guilty, or plead guilty, to a break and enter offence depending upon the circumstances of the offence and you previous criminal history the Court may impose the following sentences (click here).

Is it an offence to possess ‘break and enter’ implements (tools)?

Yes. It is an offence under the Crimes Act for an individual to possess tools that are capable of being used to break into houses and/or safes, even if the offender has not used those tools to break into a house or safe. Such tools are commonly referred to as housebreaking implements.

Either the prosecution or the defendant can elect to have the matter heard in the District Court. If no election is made it will be heard in the Local Court. If the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum period of imprisonment is two years. If the matter is heard by the District Court of NSW the maximum period of imprisonment is 7 years.

If you possess these tools legitimately this is called having a lawful excuse.

It is unnecessary for the Prosecution to prove that you intended to use the tools or that you had them in your possession for that purpose as it is sufficient for the prosecution to prove that they were capable of being used for that purpose. If charged, the onus falls on the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that they had possession of the implements for a lawful purpose i.e. for work purposes.


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