Section 199 Crimes Act 1900 | Threatening to Destroy or Damage Property


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Being charged with a criminal offence such as “threatening to destroy or damage property” can be confronting and upsetting.

However, a positive first step in fighting the charges is trying to understand what the law says about the offence.

Section 199 of the Crimes Act 1900 essentially contains two offences in relation to “threatening to destroy or damage property.”

Under section 199(1), it is against the law to:

  • Make a threat to someone else to destroy or damage their property, or property belonging to another person, or
  • Make a threat to destroy your own property in such a way that may endanger another person’s life, or cause bodily injury to another person.

The maximum penalty for making these kinds of threats is 5 years’ imprisonment.

It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that you actually destroyed or damaged any property; the threat alone is sufficient to bring charges under this section.

Under section 199(2), it is also against the law to commit either of these offences during a “public disorder.”

A “public disorder” is any kind of civil disturbance that poses a risk to public safety, such as a riot or violent protest.

The maximum penalty for making these threats during a public disorder is 7 years’ imprisonment.

Before you can be found guilty of an offence under this section, the prosecution must prove that you intended to cause the other person to fear that the threat would be carried out.

For more information about ‘destroy or damage property’ offences, please see our offences page here.

The Legislation

Section 199 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of threatening to destroy or damage property and reads as follows:

Section 199 – Threatening to Destroy or Damage Property

(1) A person who, without lawful excuse, makes a threat to another, with the intention of causing that other to fear that the threat would be carried out:

(a) to destroy or damage property belonging to that other or to a third person, or

(b) to destroy or damage the first-mentioned person’s own property in a way which that person knows will or is likely to endanger the life of, or to cause bodily injury to, that other or a third person,

is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

(2) A person who, during a public disorder and without lawful excuse, makes a threat to another, with the intention of causing that other to fear that the threat would be carried out:

(a) to destroy or damage property belonging to that other or to a third person, or

(b) to destroy or damage the first-mentioned person’s own property in a way which that person knows will or is likely to endanger the life of, or to cause bodily injury to, that other or a third person,

is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

While the penalties under section 199 may seem harsh, our highly experienced criminal lawyers can help you fight the charges and escape these onerous penalties.

Our criminal law experts have a wealth of experience defending and winning these types of cases, so you can rest assured that we will give you the best possible defence against the charges.

We consistently achieve outstanding results in these cases by raising problems with the prosecution case at an early stage, which often results in the charges being dropped outside of court.

We are also able to secure verdicts of “not guilty” by raising any defences to the charges in a compelling manner – for example, where you made the threat in self-defence.

In every case, we push to have the charges dealt with in the Local Court, where the maximum penalties are much lower.

If you simply wish to accept the charges against you and plead guilty, our criminal law specialists can help you persuade the magistrate or judge to deal with the matter leniently by presenting sentencing submissions which focus on any positive factors, such as your good character and limited criminal record.

No matter how serious the charges are, our experts can help you secure the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and find out how we can help you win your “threatening to destroy or damage property” case.