Section 31 Crimes Act 1900 | Documents Containing Threats


Death threats are taken very seriously by the courts and may result in harsh penalties under the law, even if the threats are not actually carried out.

Section 31 of the Crimes Act 1900 says that it is an offence to make death threats through documents – for example, through letters, emails, faxes and so on.

However, with the help of our expert defence team, you can give yourself the best possible defence against the charges to secure a positive future.

Under section 31, it is an offence to either intentionally or recklessly send or deliver any document threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm on another person.

To be found guilty under this section, the prosecution must prove that you knew the contents of the document and that you sent it to another person.

You can still be charged under section 31 even where the person who was supposed to receive the document did not actually receive it; or where the threat in question was not actually communicated to the other person.

The maximum penalty under this section is 10 years imprisonment.

While this is obviously a lengthy penalty, it is important to remember that it is a maximum penalty and therefore only applies in the most serious cases.

The Legislation

Section 31 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “documents containing threats” and reads as follows:

31 Documents containing threats

(1) A person who intentionally or recklessly, and knowing its contents, sends or delivers, or directly or indirectly causes to be received, any document threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm on any person is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) It is immaterial for the purposes of an offence under this section whether or not a document sent or delivered is actually received, and whether or not the threat contained in a document sent, delivered or received is actually communicated to the person concerned or to the recipient or intended recipient of the document (as relevant in the circumstances).

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Being charged with creating or distributing threatening documents has the potential to result in onerous penalties under the law.

However, with the assistance of our highly experienced criminal defence lawyers, you can fight the charges to avoid these harsh penalties.

As a firm that specialises exclusively in criminal law, our experts have a leading advantage over other “general” lawyers, who are not as familiar with criminal law.

This is reflected in our demonstrated track record of having charges dropped by finding problems with the prosecution evidence at an early stage in the proceedings.

Should your matter proceed to court, our senior criminal defence lawyers will fight hard to persuasively raise all defences to maximise your chances of being found ‘not guilty.’

Our expert defence team is also highly skilled in delivering compelling sentencing submissions and can assist you in obtaining the most lenient penalty possible where you simply wish to plead guilty.

An excellent result in a criminal case requires the insight and experience of an exceptional legal team. So don’t risk your liberty by engaging junior lawyers – call us on (02) 9261 8881 and get Sydney’s best criminal defence team on your side today.