Summary Offences In Melbourne
Summary offences in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria are governed by the Summary Offences Act 1966. Summary offences are offences that are finalised in the court of summary jurisdiction. For adults, this is the Magistrates Court and for juveniles, it is the Children’s Court. Many summary offences are fine-only offences; others carry short terms of imprisonment as their maximum penalty.
Summary offences vs indictable offences
Summary offences are offences that can only be dealt with in the summary jurisdiction. Examples include being drunk in a public place, disorderly behaviour in public and wilful destruction of property.
Indictable offences are offences that may be dealt with summarily with the consent of defence and prosecution or which may be dealt with on indictment (in the higher courts). Examples include stealing and making threats to kill.
Strictly indictable offences are offences that may only be dealt with in the higher courts. These matters commence in the Magistrates or Children’s Courts, but are then committed to a higher court if they are to be proceeded with. Examples of strictly indictable offences are murder, manslaughter and treason.
Common summary offences in Melbourne
Some common summary offences in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria are outlined below.
Wilful damage to property
Wilful destruction or damage to property with a value of less than $5,000 is a summary offence under section 9 of the Summary Offences Act. It carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 25 penalty units or imprisonment for six months.
Drunk in public
It is an offence under section 8 to be found drunk in a public place. This is punishable with a fine of up to 8 penalty units.
It is an offence under section 9 to be found drunk and disorderly in a public place. The penalty for a first offence is a fine of up to 20 penalty units or imprisonment for three days. The penalty for a second or subsequent offence is a fine of 20 penalty units or imprisonment for one month.
It is an offence under section 17A to behave in a disorderly manner is public. This offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 10 penalty units.
Section 19 governs the offence of sexual exposure. A person is guilty of sexual exposure if they intentionally expose their genitals in public or within view of the public and in a sexual manner. This offence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
It is a defence to a charge of sexual exposure if the accused had an honest and reasonable but mistaken belief that they were not within view of the public.
It is an offence under section 10 to post bills or deface property. This offence carries a fine of 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three months.
An assault under section 23 of the Summary Offences Act in Melbourne or the rest of Victoria is a summary offence. The penalty is a fine of 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three months.
Infringement notices for summary offences in Melbourne
If a police officer finds a person who he or she believes to be in breach of certain provisions of the Summary Offences Act, he or she may serve them with an infringement notice (on the spot fine). If the person pays the fine, they do not have to attend court and will not have a conviction recorded. The offences that may be dealt with by way of an infringement notice include being drunk or drunk and disorderly in public and behaving in a disorderly manner in public.
If you require legal advice or representation in relation to summary offences in Melbourne or the rest of Victoria or in any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.