Stealing offences in Queensland fall under the category of offences relating to property in part 6 of the Criminal Code 1899. Offences can include stealing, obtaining goods by deception, receiving stolen goods, and burglary. Shoplifting offences under $150, and leaving a hotel or restaurant without paying, are dealt with in the Regulatory Offences Act 1985. Penalties for stealing offences can include fines, community service orders, probation, suspended sentences, through to a term of imprisonment. The type of penalty will depend on the offence, and whether there were elements of aggravation.
Shoplifting, or Leaving a Hotel or Restaurant without Paying
Shoplifting offences are more than just leaving a shop without paying. It can also include eating, or drinking, something in a shop and not paying, swapping, removing, or altering price tags, or leaving a restaurant or hotel without paying. If the offence is under $150 it is normally dealt with by way of a fine. However, if the goods removed have a total value of over $150 situations which may seem like a shoplifting offence will in fact be a stealing offence. Offences relating to leaving a hotel, or restaurant, without paying may result in fraud charges if the value is over $150. These matters will then be dealt with under the Criminal Code. In all cases no matter what the value offenders will receive a summons to appear in the Magistrates Court, and if convicted will result in a criminal record.
Stealing is defined as taking something belonging to someone else, without their consent, and keeping it with no intention of giving it back. This could include an item from a shop with a value greater than $150, an animal, jewellery, a car, money, or anything of value. The penalty for stealing varies greatly depending on the item stolen, and the offenders past criminal history. Generally stealing can incur a term of imprisonment for up to 5 years. However, if the offender uses violence, threatens violence, item is stolen from a public office, item is stolen from a dwelling and exceeds $1000, or item is taken from a locked room or box had to be opened the penalty increases to a maximum jail term of 10 years. If a firearm is stolen, with the intent to be used in an indictable offence, then the maximum penalty can be 14 years imprisonment.
Receiving Stolen Property
It is an offence to receive stolen property, or property which is tainted. Tainted is defined as property which has been obtained by way of an act constituting an indictable offence. If you knowingly receive stolen property, and you have reason to believe it has been stolen, then you have committed an offence. Depending on the offence penalties can range from 7 years imprisonment to 14 years imprisonment. If the property was obtained by committing the crime or the property was a firearm, or ammunition, then you could be looking at a 14 year jail term. The penalties for these offences are high in the hope that it will be a deterrent for people buying stolen property, and to limit the supply, and demand, of stolen goods.
Fraud is stealing that involves obtaining goods, money, services, or property dishonestly. This could include obtaining property that belongs to someone else, applying someone else’s property to your own use, gaining a benefit or advantage, inducing or causing any person to deliver property to another person. An example of fraud would be claiming benefits from Centrelink in which you are not entitled, or leaving a restaurant without paying if the value exceeds $150. Penalties for fraud offences vary depending on the severity of the offence but can result in a 5 year term of imprisonment.
The offence of Burglary occurs when a person enters someone’s premises with the intent to steal. The definition of premises for the offence of Burglary can include a building, structure, dwelling, tent, caravan, vehicle, or similar place. There are three different types of Burglary offences depending on what occurred, and how the premises were entered. If a person enters a premises with the intent to commit an indictable offence the penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment. If a person enters premises and does commit an indictable offence then the penalty is 14 years imprisonment. If the offender gains entry to the premises by any break, and commits an indictable offence, then they are liable to imprisonment for life.