Can You Be Arrested For Using Mace Spray in Australia?

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Capsicum spray

Can You Be Arrested For Using Mace Spray in Australia? Can You Be Arrested For Using Mace Spray in Australia? Self-defence sprays such as mace or pepper spray can cause incapacitation if they are sprayed in a person’s face.

Some of the effects of these sprays include eye irritation, temporary blindness, pain, and in rare cases, they can even lead to death.

Due to the severity of the effects of self-defence sprays such as mace, if you are caught using mace spray in Australia without a justifiable reason, you face a fine and in some serious cases the possibility of a prison sentence.

Mace and pepper spray are considered to be dangerous weapons and the unrestricted use of them is prohibited by the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998.

If you are found carrying a potentially harmful spray, you can be arrested and charged with a weapons offence.

What are the penalties for using mace?

Possessing or using a prohibited weapon comes with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

As it is a table 2 offence, a charge of possessing or using a prohibited weapon can be dealt with summarily, or as an indictable offence.

If dealt with as a summary offence, the maximum penalty is two years in prison, or a fine of $5,500.

The penalties for using pepper spray or mace spray in Australia are the same as for possessing it.

If you have been caught carrying or using mace, the penalty you get will depend on the circumstances, and whether it is considered reasonable for you to have been carrying a spray at the time you were found with it.

Are there any defences against a charge of carrying mace?

If you have been charged with possessing or using a prohibited weapon, you may be able to use a number of different defences, depending on the circumstances.

Self-defence or protection are considered to be reasonable reasons for carrying harmful sprays, as long as the perceived level of risk justifies carrying the mace or pepper spray.

Some of the factors that may help your defence include:

  • A history of being attacked or threatened previously, particularly if it was in the same area as you were found in possession of the mace or the threat was very recent.
  • Being found with mace spray in an area that is known to be dangerous or high risk, particularly if it is at night.
  • Age, gender and any other factors which might make you more vulnerable to being attacked can all help justify your possession of a dangerous weapon.
  • Being of previous good character with no previous weapons offences or history of aggressive or violent behaviour.

If you are facing charges of carrying any prohibited weapon, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer for advice about your defence.

Find a criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in successfully defending weapons charges.

An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to take all the circumstances of your case into consideration, and help you find the best defence for your particular situation.

Are there any other types of spray that are illegal?

As well as pepper spray and mace, there are a number of other sprays that are illegal to carry in NSW.

These include hair spray, lighter fluid and any other type of spray that could be harmful if used as a weapon.

Carrying these sprays all comes with the same penalty as using or possessing mace spray in Australia.

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Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with 25 years of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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