It is an offence under the Crimes Act to be married to two or more people at the same time.
This offence is known as ‘bigamy.’
The Crimes Act contains a defence to the offence of bigamy where your husband or wife has been continually absent for 7 years, or where they have been continually absent from New South Wales and you reasonably believed that they were deceased.
If you wish to rely on this defence, you will have to prove these facts.
If you are alleged to have committed bigamy, you could also face charges under section 94 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth).
However, the maximum penalty for bigamy if charged under the Crimes Act is greater than that which applies under the Marriage Act.
If you are charged with bigamy under the Marriage Act, you could face a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
In contrast, the maximum penalty for bigamy under the Crimes Act is 7 years imprisonment.
Bigamy is a summary offence, which means that it will be dealt with by a magistrate in the Local Court.
While these penalties may seem daunting, our expert criminal defence team can help you fight the charges and avoid an onerous penalty.
Section 92 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Bigamy’ and reads as follows:
Whosoever, being married, marries another person during the life of the former husband or wife, shall be liable to imprisonment for seven years:
Provided that no person shall be convicted under this section whose husband or wife has at the time of such second marriage been continually absent from such person for the space of seven years, or, if domiciled in New South Wales at the time of the first marriage, has been continually absent from New South Wales for the space of five years then last past, and was, on reasonable grounds, believed by the accused at the time of the second marriage not to be living, of which facts the proof shall lie on the accused.
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Being accused of bigamy can be difficult for you and your loved ones, but you can give yourself the best possible defence against the charges by getting an experienced criminal lawyer on your side.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we specialise in criminal law. Our lawyers are equipped with the expert knowledge and skills necessary to secure the best possible outcome in your bigamy case.
We understand that getting legal advice in these situations can be difficult – but we guarantee that our lawyers will guide you through every step of the process from start to finish.
In every matter, we seek to have charges dropped at an early stage by identifying problems with the prosecution case, such as a lack of evidence.
This often spares our client the time and expense of a defended hearing.
Alternatively, where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our lawyers will fight hard to protect your interests in court by presenting all evidence in the most favourable manner and raising all possible defences.
Our lawyers work tirelessly in every case to secure the best possible result for our clients.
We can also assist should you wish to simply plead guilty to the charges – in these cases, our lawyers will use their vast experience and knowledge to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
Take the first step towards a better future – call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our expert lawyers.