Section 148 & 149 Crimes Act 1900 | Stealing Property in Dwelling House


Most people would be aware that stealing is a criminal offence; however, the law specifies particular penalties for stealing in certain situations.

For example, section 148 of the Crimes Act deals with ‘stealing property in a dwelling house.’

This essentially refers to situations where you are alleged to have stolen items from a person’s home.

It’s important to bear in mind that this offence is different to the offence of ‘break, enter, and steal,’ which involves breaking into property that is secured – for example, entering property through a closed door, or breaking a window in order to gain entry.

In contrast, ‘stealing property in a dwelling house’ does not involve breaking in – for example, this may refer to cases where you enter the property through an open door, gate or window.

The law imposes a heavier penalty in these cases than for ordinary stealing (larceny) offences – where you are charged with stealing property in a dwelling-house, the maximum penalty is 7 years
imprisonment, compared to 5 years imprisonment for ordinary stealing cases.

The law also specifies heavier penalties where you threaten or menace a person inside the house in the course of stealing an item – in these cases, the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

A ‘menace’ generally refers to any express or implied threat which would cause an ordinary person to act unwillingly.

While these penalties may seem excessive, it is important to bear in mind that they are the absolute maximums. They will therefore only be imposed in the most serious cases.

Our criminal law experts have a wealth of experience defending all types of stealing matters and can assist you in avoiding these onerous penalties.

The Legislation

Section 148 & 149 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Stealing Property in Dwelling House’ and reads as follows:

148 Stealing property in a dwelling-house

Whosoever steals in a dwelling-house any property shall be liable to imprisonment for seven years.

149 The same with menaces

Whosoever steals any property in a dwelling-house, and uses thereafter any menace or threat to any person therein, shall be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Being accused of stealing from a house can have a devastating impact on your life, giving rise to harsh penalties that can adversely affect your future.

However, with the assistance of our dedicated criminal law specialists, you can give yourself the best possible defence against the charges.

Our expert lawyers have worked on a wide variety of stealing cases and accordingly have an in-depth understanding of this complex area of law.

We will work with you to get the charges dropped as early as possible by carefully examining all evidence in order to find problems with the prosecution case, and writing to the prosecution highlighting these issues.

This often enables us to have matters dropped at an early stage; sparing our clients the time and expense of a defended hearing or criminal trial.

Where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our defence team will work tirelessly to prepare a strong defence case to maximise your chances of being found ‘not guilty.’

Our lawyers will dedicate the time to call all relevant witnesses and collect any favourable evidence to support your side of the story.

We guarantee representation in court by one of our expert senior defence lawyers, who are renowned for their ability to effectively cross-examine all prosecution witnesses in order to cast doubt upon the prosecution case.

Our expert lawyers can also assist you in achieving the best possible outcome should you wish to plead guilty by preparing sentencing submissions which emphasise any positive factors in your matter.

We can also assist you in obtaining any documentation such as character references and medical records which may assist you in achieving a lenient penalty.

So, for the best outcome in your stealing matter, call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and get Sydney’s best criminal defence team on your side today.