Section 195 Crimes Act | Destroying or Damaging Property


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Life can seem bleak when you’re facing court in relation to a ‘destroy or damage property’ offence, but by equipping yourself with the knowledge necessary to understand the charges, you can increase your chances of getting a positive result in your case.

Section 195 of the Crimes Act makes it an offence to destroy or damage property that belongs to another person.

Section 195 provides different penalties depending on the circumstances in which the property is damaged or destroyed:

  • Where you deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage property that belongs to someone else, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.
  • Where you use fire or explosives to deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage property that belongs to someone else, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment. 
  • Where you are with another person(s) when you destroy or damage the property, the maximum penalty is 6 years imprisonment.
  • Where you are with another person(s) and you use fire or explosives to destroy or damage property that belongs to someone else, the maximum penalty is 11 years imprisonment.
  • Where you deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage property that belongs to someone else during a ‘public disorder’ (such as a riot or violent protest), the maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment. 
  • Where you use fire or explosives to deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage property that belongs to someone else during a ‘public disorder’ (such as a riot or violent protest), the maximum penalty is 12 years imprisonment. 

These are obviously very harsh penalties, however it’s important to remember that they are maximum penalties, which means that they will only apply in the most serious cases.

Often, with the help of a good criminal lawyer, you may be able to avoid these onerous penalties by either pleading ‘not guilty’ and fighting the charges, or pleading ‘guilty’ and persuading the court to impose a more lenient penalty.

You can read more about ‘destroy or damage property’ offences here.

The Legislation

Section 195 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘destroy or damage property’ and reads as follows:

195 Destroying or damaging property

(1) A person who intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:
(a) to imprisonment for 5 years, or

(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 10 years.

(1A) A person who, in the company of another person or persons, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:

(a) to imprisonment for 6 years, or

(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 11 years.

(2) A person who, during a public disorder, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:

(a) to imprisonment for 7 years, or

(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 12 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

The specialist defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers appears in court regularly in relation to ‘destroy or damage property’ offences.

Our expert knowledge of this area of the law, combined with our outstanding advocacy skills, enables us to obtain the best possible results for our clients every time.

Unlike other law firms, who may push their clients to have the matter heard in court, we always try to have the charges dropped outside of court where possible, to save our clients the time and expense involved in a trial or hearing.

Should you wish to fight the charges in court, our highly experienced lawyers can give you the advice you need, including information about any defences that you may be able to raise, as well as the best possible representation in court.

We can also assist if you simply want to plead ‘guilty’ and have the matter dealt with leniently. In these cases, our lawyers will carefully prepare sentencing submissions which clearly highlight all factors that reduce the seriousness of your actions.

For the best defence in your ‘destroy or damage property’ offence, get the experts on your side. Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first appointment with us.