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Section 111 Crimes Act 1900
Enter Dwelling House

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.

The Legislation

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.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

Recent Cases

The Right Lawyer Makes All the Difference: Our Client Receives Intensive Correction Order While His Co-Accused Is Sentenced to Full Time Imprisonment

Our client is a 21-year-old man who lives in Blacktown. He was charged with aggravated break, enter and steal motor vehicle, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. It was alleged that with another man, he broke into an underground carpark in a unit complex, then broke into a Mercedes Benz car and drove it out of the carpark. There were multiple CCTV cameras inside the carpark depicting both our client and his co-accused. Our client has suffered from drug dependence from the age of 15 years. He has a lengthy criminal record in both the Children’s and adult courts, largely consisting of dishonesty and property offences, and has served time in prison. He was on parole at the time for 23 previous offences, and had relapsed into drug use, as his co-accused had done. Our defence team nevertheless successfully applied for bail. During the bail application, lengthy submissions were made regarding the fact the prosecution could not establish the essential element of  “break” – as there was no evidence about how he accessed the underground carpark. Our client’s co-accused, who was at least equally complicit in the offence and had in fact driven the motor vehicle, was represented by another criminal defence lawyer who did not make a bail application for her client. We were told that the reason for that decision was that his lawyer felt it was inevitable her client would receive a prison sentence, and that a bail application was therefore futile. After intense negotiations, we convinced the prosecution to withdraw the charge of aggravated break, enter and steal. Due to our firm’s efforts, the prosecution also withdrew this charge for our client’s co-accused. Upon withdrawal, our client and his co-accused  pleaded guilty to steal motor vehicle and break out in company. Our client’s case then proceeded to a sentence hearing during which our senior associate made lengthy submissions in mitigation. Significantly, in the lead-up to the sentencing hearing we directed our client to obtain full time employment and undertake drug rehabilitation, which he did to his great credit. In the result, and despite the fact our client was at least equally complicit with his co-accused and had a far more substantial criminal history, our client was given an intensive correction order (which means he did not serve any more prison time) while his co-accused was sentenced to 22 months in full time custody. During the sentencing, her Honour made clear that our client would not have been allowed to remain at liberty if he were not gainfully employed and did not undertake rehabilitation. Our client is thriving in his job and his life.

No Conviction for Aggravated Break and Enter and Commit Serious Indictable Offence

One of our Senior Lawyers obtained a section 10 (no conviction) for a highly-publicised ‘aggravated break, enter and steal’ case heard at the Downing Centre District Court. After a night out with some friends, our client, a 19-year-old man, was hanging out outside a clothing store with three other friends. He leant against the door to the store, which incidentally opened as staff had forgotten to engage the security locks on the door to the shop. Our client, along with two co-accused, then entered the shop and stole a number of items of clothing valued at around $1000. Members of the public observed them leaving the store and reported the incident to police, who located the group a short time later in an alleyway along with the stolen clothing. Our client was charged with ‘aggravated break and enter and commit serious indictable offence,’ which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. Statistics published by the Judicial Commission show that 65% of people charged with this offence in higher courts receive a sentence of imprisonment. Undeterred by this, our senior lawyer worked tirelessly to obtain the best result for our client. Following the break and enter, our client was held hostage in the Sydney siege late last year. Understandably, this affected his mental health – however it also was a test of character for our client, who was commended for his ‘bravery and maturity’ during the ordeal. Our senior lawyer was able to obtain a psychologist’s report to support our client’s case and prepared submissions which emphasised the appropriateness of a lenient penalty. After lengthy verbal submissions on the sentencing date, the judge was ultimately persuaded to impose a ‘section 10 good behaviour bond’ despite the seriousness of the charge. This means that our client escapes a criminal record, which would have had a detrimental impact on his life and future. The Judicial Commission statistics indicate that less than 1% of ‘aggravated break and enter and commit serious indictable offence’ cases dealt with in the higher courts over the past 7 years were finalised by way of a section 10 good behaviour bond.

Home Invasion Charges Dropped

The DPP has withdrawn all proceedings against our 27 year old client from Glebe who was charged with several offences including Specially Aggravated Break, Enter and Commit Serious Indictable Offence.

The charges arose from a home invasion that occurred in Guildford in December 2011. It was alleged that our client and 3 other co-accused broke into the home, damaged property and seriously assaulted and injured the occupant. Sydney Criminal Lawyers® has been fighting for the withdrawal of our client's charges since the start of the case. Two of the other co-accused pleaded 'guilty' earlier in the proceedings and were given lengthy prison sentences. They were represented by other lawyers. The third co-accused maintains a plea of 'not guilty' and faces a lengthy and expensive District Court trial. Only our client's proceedings were dropped.

Bail Granted for 3 x Aggravated Break, Enter and Commit Serious Indictable Offence

The Magistrate in Central Local Court granted bail to our client who allegedly engaged in three separate offences of aggravated break, enter and commit serious indictable offence and intentionally or recklessly destroy / damage property in the Lindfield area in May and June 2013.

Bail was granted despite the Magistrate finding that the police case is very strong because the offences are captured by CCTV footage which depicts our client and the distinctive clothes allegedly worn by our client during the offences were found at his home.

It was a difficult bail application because our client has previous convictions for drug supply and drug possession, and there was a 'presumption against bail' for the current offences.

Suspended Sentence for Aggravated Break, Enter and Commit a Serious Indictable Offence in Company

In Downing Centre District Court, our 29 year old Brighton-Le-Sands client was given a 'suspended sentence' for aggravated break, enter and steal upon a two-storey house in Killara, where he and another person broke into the home and stole a large amount of jewelry and other items.

Our client undertook extensive counselling to address the underlying cause of his offending, and Sydney Criminal Lawyers® was then able to convince the Presiding Judge not to impose a full-time custodial sentence.

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