Being charged with a criminal offence can be extremely distressing, especially if it is your first offence.
However, when it comes to defending yourself in court, it’s important to know what the law says about the charges.
Section 111 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “entering a dwelling house with the intention to commit a serious indictable offence.”
This is different to the offence of “break and enter,” as it does not involve breaking into a house.
Rather, this section deals with cases where you simply enter a residence without the resident’s permission, for example, through an open gate, window or door.
To be found guilty under this section, the prosecution must also prove that you had the intention to commit a “serious indictable offence” within that residence.
A “serious indictable offence” is any offence which carries a term of imprisonment of five years or more, such as assault or larceny.
If you are found guilty of “entering a dwelling-house,” the maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment.
If the prosecution proves that you committed the offence in “circumstances of aggravation,” the maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment.
“Circumstances of aggravation” include any of the following situations:
- Where you were armed with an offensive weapon or instrument;
- Where you were with another person, or group of people when you committed the offence;
- Where you inflict corporal (physical) violence on another person;
- Where you intentionally or recklessly inflict actual bodily harm on another person (in other words, where you cause some kind of injury to another person that is more than merely “transient or trifling,” such as bruises or scratches);
- Where you deprive another person of their liberty (in other words, where you hold someone against their will, for example tying them up or holding them in a locked room);
- Where you knew that there was someone inside the house or building when you committed the offence.
You may also face harsher penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment if it is proved that you committed the offence in “circumstances of special aggravation,” which include:
- Where you intentionally wound or inflict grievous bodily harm upon another person (in other words, where you cause both layers of the skin to be broken, or where you cause “really serious injury” to another person, such as a broken bone or damage to internal organs);
- Where you inflict grievous bodily harm upon another person, and you are reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to that person;
- Where you are armed with a “dangerous weapon,” such as a firearm, prohibited weapon or spear gun.
While these penalties are obviously very harsh, it’s important to bear in mind that they are maximums, which means that they will only apply in the most serious cases.
With the help of our highly-experienced criminal defence team, you can avoid these harsh penalties by fighting the charges in court.
Section 111 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “enter dwelling-house” and reads as follows:
111 Entering dwelling-house
(1) Whosoever enters any dwelling-house, with intent to commit a serious indictable offence therein, shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.
(2) Aggravated offence A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
(3) Specially aggravated offence A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (2) in circumstances of special aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® is a leading law firm specialising exclusively in criminal law.
With a proven track record of fighting and winning “enter dwelling-house” cases, you can rest assured that our criminal law specialists are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to protect your innocence.
We can advise you of the steps you can take to defend the charges, as well as any defences that you can raise, for example where you were coerced or threatened into entering the property.
In many cases, we are able to have these types of charges dropped by identifying problems with the prosecution case early on.
However, where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, you can rest assured that our senior lawyers will work alongside Sydney’s most reputable criminal barristers to give you the strongest possible defence against the charges.
Alternatively, if you simply wish to plead guilty from the outset, our highly-respected lawyers can help you achieve the best possible outcome by preparing compelling “sentencing submissions” which focus on positive factors such as your good character or limited chances of reoffending.
For the best result in your “enter dwelling-house” case, call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our criminal law specialists.