Consequences of a Crime Under Criminal Law

August 5, 2022

Facing criminal charges in Australia is a serious matter to go through. But whilst the process and possible consequences of a conviction can be intimidating, it is essential to remember that you have rights and options.

More importantly, receiving the consequences for a crime can significantly impact your life, both immediately and long term. You will not only suffer the potential penalties, but a criminal record can have social, emotional and psychological effects on your well-being.

Fortunately, you do not have to go through the process alone, and some steps can be taken to give you the best chance of achieving a favourable outcome. The first step is appointing an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you.

Mardini Defence Lawyers have a proven track record of successfully defending our clients against all criminal charges. We understand the stress and anxiety of being charged with a crime, and we will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for your case.

 

What Are the Consequences of a Crime?

Penalties for criminal offences include fines, imprisonment, diversion, community corrections orders and compensation to any persons injured due to the conduct. You could also have a criminal record if you are convicted.

  1. Fines—Many crimes result in penalties. Your conviction will determine the amount you must pay. If you have difficulties paying the penalty, inform the court. However, you have options. You can ask the magistrate to:
  • Make a budget for you to pay one amount at a time.
  • Issue a community service instead of paying a fine.

The court can issue a warrant for your arrest if you do not pay.

  1. Diversion programs—Diversion programs are a method to get your situation out of the court system and avoid a criminal record. These are generally used for less complicated cases. As part of a diversion plan, you must agree to specific criteria.
  2. Community correction orders—Community correction orders allow you to do your sentence in the community. These judicial decrees come with one or more requirements. The terms offered by the court will be based on your specific requirements, your circumstances and the crime for which you are found guilty.
  3. Jail—If you are convicted of a serious crime or have a history of prior convictions, you may be sentenced to imprisonment. In certain situations, jail terms may be suspended, so you do not have to go to jail.
  4. Criminal records—If you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’ll be recorded on your criminal history, commonly known as a criminal record.

 

The Australian court uses two levels of criminal intent:

  • Mens Rea—This refers to criminal intent. This is the minimum level of intent the prosecution must prove for you to be guilty of the crime.

There are three different types of mens rea: 

  • Intention—This means you must have intended to commit the crime. This is the highest level of mens rea.
  • Recklessness—To be found guilty, you must be proven aware of the risk and went ahead with the act anyway.
  • Negligence—The prosecution must show that a reasonable person would have been aware of the risk and taken steps to avoid it.
  • Actus Reus—The physical act element of a crime. This action must be proved for someone to be guilty of a crime.

 

What Does Criminal Law Cover in Australia?

Criminal law in Australia covers a wide range of offences, from minor crimes, such as public nuisance and shoplifting, to more serious offences, such as murder and rape.

All offences are covered under Crimes Act 1914 and the Criminal Code Act 1995. These two laws set out the vast majority of crimes that exist in Australia.

Some of the more common offences include:

  • Assault—This covers a range of behaviours from minor pushing and shoving to more significant acts such as punching and kicking.
  • Burglary—This is when someone unlawfully enters a building to commit a crime.

There are three main categories of criminal offence in Australia:

  • Indictable offences—are the most severe type of criminal offence and can only be heard in the District Court or Supreme Court. Examples of indictable offences include murder, rape and armed robbery.
  • Summary offences— are less severe than indictable offences and can be heard in the Magistrates Court. These can include driving offences, public nuisance and shoplifting.
  • Strict liability offences—These are offences where there is no need to prove that the accused intended to commit the crime or was even aware that they were breaking the law. An example of a strict liability offence is drunk driving.

 

The punishment for a crime will depend on the severity of the offence and the offender’s criminal history. Punishments can range from a slap on the wrist to a jail sentence.

How Does a Criminal Record Affect You in Australia?

Undoubtedly, having a criminal record can make your life difficult in several ways. The immediate consequences may include being arrested and held in custody, losing your job or being banned from driving.

The long-term effects of a criminal record can include difficulties finding employment, travelling or getting insurance. Additionally, your travel options may be limited as you may not be able to obtain a passport.

The most unfortunate thing about having a criminal record is that this will appear on your National Police Certificate (NPC). The length of time that your criminal record will appear on your NPC will depend on the type and severity of the offence and your age when you were convicted.

For example, if you were convicted of a summary offence as an adult, it will generally be removed from your NPC 10 years after the date of your conviction. It would generally remain on your NPC indefinitely if you were convicted of an indictable offence.

 

Mardini Defence Lawyers: Defending You

Whilst facing a criminal charge is frightening, it is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty.

One of the most important things you can do if you are charged with a crime is to seek out experienced legal representation. A criminal lawyer in Sydney will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed and help you to understand the legal process.

At Mardini Defence Lawyers, we understand the gravity of criminal law offences, and we are here to help you through every step. We will ensure you have the best criminal defence lawyer to handle your case. Contact us today.

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If you are facing a criminal charge, we urge you to contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation. No case is too big or too small.

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