Being charged with a weapons offence can negatively impact your life; resulting in onerous penalties that can put a strain on your plans for the future.
However, by taking positive steps early on to understand the charges against you, you can put yourself in the best possible position when it comes to fighting the charges.
Our weapons law experts can then give you the guidance and representation you need to secure a positive outcome in your case.
The possession of dangerous articles other than firearms is an offence under section 93FB of the Crimes Act 1900.
That section states that there are four different types of “dangerous articles” recognised by the law:
- Anything other than a firearm that is capable of discharging liquid, powder, gas or chemical irritants, or dense smoke (such as pepper spray or a fire extinguisher);
- Anything other than a firearm that may cause bodily harm;
- A fuse that can be used with an explosive or detonator;
- A detonator.
If you are found guilty of possessing any of these items in a public place, you could face a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment, and/or a fine of $5,500.
A public place is any area that is open to the public – such as a park, beach or shopping centre.
Section 93FB also sets out various defences to the charge – if proven, you will be found “not guilty” of possessing a dangerous article in a public place.
One such defence is where you are able to prove that you had a “lawful purpose” for possessing the dangerous article – for example, for work purposes or scientific research.
Another defence that is set out in section 93FB is “self-defence.” This means that you will be found “not guilty” where you prove that your actions were reasonable for the purposes of “self-defence”
In determining whether or not your actions were reasonable, the court will consider how imminent the threat was, the circumstances of the offence (such as the time and location where you possessed the dangerous article), the type of dangerous article, and your age, characteristics and experiences.
For example, if you were a young woman walking alone at night in an unsafe area, and you had been mugged previously, the court may find it reasonable for you to have pepper spray in your possession based on the circumstances.
Section 93FB of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Possession of Dangerous Articles’ and reads as follows:
93FB Possession of dangerous articles other than firearms
(1) A person who, in a public place, possesses:
(a) anything (not being a firearm within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1996) capable of discharging by any means:
(i) any irritant matter in liquid, powder, gas or chemical form or any dense smoke, or
(ii) any substance capable of causing bodily harm, or
(b) a fuse capable of use with an explosive or a detonator, or
(c) a detonator,
is liable, on conviction before the Local Court, to imprisonment for 2 years, or a fine of 50 penalty units, or both.
(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under this section for possessing anything referred to in subsection (1) if the person satisfies the court that he or she had a reasonable excuse for possessing it or possessed it for a lawful purpose.
(3) A person is not guilty of an offence under this section for possessing anything referred to in subsection (1) (a) if the person satisfies the court that he or she possessed it for the purpose of self-defence and that it was reasonable in the circumstances to possess it for that purpose.
(4) In considering a defence under subsection (3), the court must have regard to its reasonableness in all the circumstances of the case, including:
(a) the immediacy of the perceived threat to the person charged, and
(b) the circumstances, such as the time and location, in which the thing was possessed, and
(c) the type of thing possessed, and
(d) the age, characteristics and experiences of the person charged.
If you’ve been charged with possession of a dangerous article other than a firearm, it’s important to get advice from a lawyer who has a demonstrated track record of defending these types of cases.
As Sydney’s weapons law experts, our defence team has the skills and experience necessary to help you escape the harsh penalties under the law.
Our lawyers are passionate about defending weapons cases and will push to have the charged dropped outside of court by raising any problems with the prosecution case at an early stage.
Alternatively, we can help you recognise and understand any defences to the charges that you may have, which, if raised successfully, will result in a verdict of “not guilty.”
It’s important to get a reputable lawyer on your side even if you simply wish to plead guilty, as the right legal team can make all the difference when it comes to securing a lenient outcome.
Our lawyers are highly experienced in presenting “sentencing submissions” in serious criminal and weapons cases – so you can count on us to put forth your case in the most positive light to maximise your chances of getting a lenient penalty.
In many cases, we have been able to help clients obtain a “section 10 dismissal or conditional release order,” which is where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record – which means that you won’t have to worry about the impact of a criminal record on your work or travel plans.
For the best result in your “possession of a dangerous article” case, call the weapons experts today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference to find out how we can help you win your case.