Break and Enter Offences in Sydney
There is a range of offences relating to the unlawful entry of properties in New South Wales, ranging from minor offences to serious crimes. Offences relating to trespass in NSW are governed by the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901. Break and enter offences are set out in the Crimes Act 1900. This article outlines the trespass and break and enter offences in Sydney and the rest of NSW.
If a person comes onto private property for a lawful purpose, such as delivering mail or paying a visit, they are not breaking the law. However, if the owner or occupant asks them to leave, they must do so. If they do not leave after being asked to do so, they are committing a criminal offence under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901.
Under section 4 of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act, it is an offence to enter inclosed lands without permission in NSW. This offence can attract a fine of up to five penalty units (or 10 penalty units if the land is prescribed premises).
Under section 4A, steeper penalties apply where the offender remained on land after a direction to leave or where the offender behaved offensively whilst remaining on the land. The penalty that applies in this case is 20 penalty units where the land is a prescribed premise or 10 penalty units otherwise.
Under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act, any civil action taken in relation to a trespass must be commenced within two months of the trespass.
Break and enter offences in Sydney
Division 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 contains a number of break and enter offences, which carry different maximum penalties depending on the circumstances of the offence.
Break and enter with intent to murder
Section 10 of the Crimes Act 1900 makes it a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to 25 years to enter a dwelling house and commit an assault with intent to murder a person or inflict grievous bodily harm on a person.
Enter dwelling house with intent
Under section 111, entering a dwelling house with the intention of committing an indictable offence is an offence punishable by a maximum of ten years imprisonment.
Enter dwelling house and commit offence
Under section 112, entering a dwelling house and committing a serious indictable offence is punishable by imprisonment for 14 years.
Enter dwelling house with intent
Section 113 contains the offence of entering a dwelling house with intent to commit a serious indictable offence. This offence is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. If an offence under this section is committed under circumtances of aggravation or special aggravation, higher penalties apply.
Circumstances of aggravation
A person commits an offence under circumstances of aggravation if they commit an offence and any of the following circumstances exist either before, during or immediately after the offence:
- they are armed with a weapon;
- they are in company with one or more other persons;
- they use violence;
- they inflict bodily harm (intentionally or recklessly);
- they deprive a person of their liberty;
- there is a person or persons present in the place where the offence is committed and the offenders knows there are persons present.
A person commits an offence under circumstances of special aggravation if any of he following circumstances exist either before, during or immediately after the offence:
- where the offender intentionally wounds a person;
- where the offender inflicts grievous bodily harm;
- where the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon.
Entry does not have to be unlawful
It is worth noting that break and enter offences and ‘entering with intent’ offences in NSW do not require the offender to have entered the dwelling or building as a trespasser. A person can be found guilty of break and enter even if they originally entered the dwelling house or building with the occupier’s consent.
If you need legal advice in relation to break and enter in Sydney or in any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.