If police have caught you with a weapon and believe you had the intention of carrying out an indictable offence, such as breaking and entering or stealing, while armed, they may charge you with being armed with intent.
If you are facing this or any other charge, it is important to speak to a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced criminal lawyer can help you decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty, and if you choose to plead not guilty, they can help you prepare your defence.
What do I have to be armed with?
You can be armed with any type of weapon, from firearms to a crowbar, as long as there is clear evidence that you intended to commit an indictable offence with the weapon.
What is an indictable offence?
An indictable offence is one that is generally dealt with in the district or supreme court, and is tried by a judge and jury rather than a magistrate.
More severe than summary offences, examples of indictable offences can include assault, stealing, and breaking and entering, as well as a number of other serious charges.
If you have been charged with the intention to commit an indictable offence, the prosecution will need to prove that you intended to commit this offence and not a less serious one.
What are the penalties for this offence?
The charge of being armed with intent in NSW carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.
Other common penalties for this offence include fines, good behaviour bonds, and community service.
The penalty you will get depends on the strength of your defence, and the seriousness of the offence.
Defences to armed with intent charges
The best defence in your circumstances will depend on the nature of the offence, and how strong the evidence is against you.
In order to successfully prosecute you for this offence, the police need to prove that you had the intention of committing an indictable offence.
Some of the common defences to armed with intent charges include duress, necessity and self-defence. Intoxication can also be a successful defence in certain circumstances.
It is possible to get a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order for an armed with intent to commit an indictable offence charge.
Your defence lawyer can help you ask for a non conviction order if it is appropriate in your circumstances.
A non conviction order is a finding of guilt with no conviction and no penalties.
To successfully obtain a non conviction order, you may need to provide character references and show no previous history of similar offences.
If the prosecution does not have a strong case against you, your lawyer may be able to apply to have the charges dropped.
If you are facing charges of being armed with intent it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer with a proven track record of successfully defending similar matters.
The right lawyer may be able to help you avoid the maximum prison term, or even avoid a conviction altogether.