Knives and Offensive Weapons
If the object you have does not meet the criteria of a firearm or prohibited weapon it may still be an offensive implement under the Summary Offences Act 1988. The definition of an offensive implement is very wide and includes
- Anything made or adapted for use for causing injury to a person or,
- Anything intended, but the person having custody of the thing, to be used to injure or menace a person or damage property.
The penalty for this offence is 50 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment.
Having custody of a knife in a public place, without a reasonable excuse is also an offence. A knife can include a blade, razor or any other blade. It is up to the defence to prove that you have a reasonable excuse for possessing the knife.
The penalty for Custody of a knife is 20 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment.
These are offences under the Firearms Act 1996 some common offences and penalties are:
Unauthorised possession of a prohibited firearm and/or pistol 14 years imprisonment
Unauthorised possession of a firearm 5 years imprisonment
What is the difference between unlicensed and unregistered firearms?
The application of an unlicensed offence attaches to the person using the firearm. For instance, the person using the firearm does not have a licence for that purpose, or alternately the person has a firearms licence but their possession or use of the firearm is outside that scope.
An unregistered firearm relates to the gun itself. Meaning that the firearm was not registered with the Register of Firearms.
See more information on Firearm Prohibition Orders.
It is important to remember to obtain competent legal advice early in your matter. At Catron Simmons Lawyers, will be able to assist you in determining whether there are any viable defences, ensure that you are charging appropriately relating to the offence and/or assist you in preparing a submission to the court for a more just outcome.
These are offences under the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998. There are a number of different styles of weapons that are prohibited in NSW, all of which are contained in Schedule 1 of the act.
Some common examples are:
- Butterfly or flick knife
- Spear Gun, cross bow
- Sling shot
- Kung Fu Sticks or Nunchaku
- A laser pointer is not a prohibited weapon, but it is still illegal to have possession of one see section 11FA of the Summary Offences Act 1998.
The offence for being in possession of a prohibited weapon is 14 years imprisonment.
What are the alternatives to imprisonment?
You should obtain legal advice before going to court and pleading guilty to any offence. A well presented sentencing will ensure that you receive the best outcome for your situation.
In NSW, a court can impose any of these types of penalties:
Non Conviction Dismissal (s10(1)a)
This is an order of the court that means there is no conviction recorded and no further action/penalties. Essentially as soon as you leave the court the matter is completely finalised.
Conviction Only s10A
This is an order from the court that means you are convicted of the offence but there is no further penalty and the matter is completely finalised once you leave the court room.
Community Release Order (CRO)
A CRO is the less serious of the bonds; they come in two forms conviction CRO and non-conviction CRO. These bonds can be supervised by Community Corrections or not, it is a matter for the court. That being said the court can order supervision and Community Corrections can discontinue supervision if they deem appropriate. A standard condition of all orders is that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear in court if called upon to do so. Additional conditions can also be imposed like any other bond that can include but not limited to alcohol/drug restrictions and/or rehabilitation, curfew, community service orders, non-association and/or place restriction orders.
A Court can order a fine as the whole or part of a penalty, meaning the court can order a bond in conjunction with a fine. A fine is a conviction. The maximum fine available for each offence varies and is usually articulated as part of the offence as a penalty unit. Generally speaking, after the court has sentenced you and given you a fine you have 28 days to pay, however, the court registry can increase this time to pay the fine and arrange payment plans. Failure to pay the fine will result in an enforcement order, this can have consequences such as suspension of your drivers licence and/or registration. Following this further orders such as a civil enforcement order, community service and/or goal may be utilised instead.
Community Corrections Order (CCO)
A CCO is the more serious of the bonds and are used when the offence is to serious to be dealt with by way of a fine or CRO. The CCO cannot exceed three years. This bond can be supervised or unsupervised by Community Corrections. A standard condition of all orders is that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear in court if called upon to do so. The court can add additional orders including but not limited to alcohol/drug restrictions and/or rehabilitation, curfew, community service orders, non-association and/or place restriction orders.
Intensive Correction Order (ICO)
An ICO is a type of imprisonment or custodial sentence yo to two courts that the court decides can be served in the community. The ICO is the most serious of court orders that an offender can serve in the community and are not available for a number of offences involving Violence, breaches of public safety and child related matters. The court can add conditions to an ICO such as home detention, electronic monitoring, curfews, community service work, alcohol/drug restrictions, place restrictions, association orders and/or whatever the court see fits. An ICO is monitored and supervised by Probation and Parole NSW and any breaches of the order are referred to the NSW State ParolAuthority (SPA) and not the courts. Often the offender is required to then serve the remainder of their sentence in custody as a result of a serious breach.
What are my options? What is a conviction?
A conviction means that the court has found you guilty and has deicide to record the offence in a ‘formal’ declaration.
It is possible to have a matter ‘proven, but no conviction recorded’ if the court sees fit. This is commonly referred to as a s10 (although it is now a Community Release Order without conviction or s10(1)a)).
If convicted of any offence, this is recorded on your criminal record. This existence of a criminal record may affect future employment, travel especially to places like the United States.
If you believe you are not guilty of an offence it is important to get legal advice early as there are discounts offered by the court for early pleas in sentencing.
What is written notice of pleading? Should I complete it?
A Written Notice of Pleading is a a document that is given to you by Police when charged or alternatively a letter or document sent to the court outlining your wish to plead guilty to the charges enforce the court.
Although this can be an attractive option and the forms seem fairly straightforward and it means that that you would not have to attend court this is actually a bad idea. A written notice stops the court understanding more about you as a person, your income, responsibilities and factors that could mitigate the punishment on sentence.
On a written plea of guilty the magistrate only has the Police Fact Sheet and Criminal Record as information, and often the penalty imposed would be greater, as the Court is not aware of the above factors. It is important to understand and agree with the contents of any fact sheet before they are tendered as this is what the court will base all their decisions on.
At Catron Simmons Lawyers, we can put forward the best case in your defence to often a fairer and more just outcome.