Are you or someone you know facing charges for a public order offence in NSW? At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, we understand that navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when you’re facing criminal charges. In this article, we’ll delve into seven common public order offences in New South Wales, discussing their implications and offering insight into how our legal experts can assist you in these situations. 

The use of offensive language in a public setting is a criminal offence in NSW under section 4A of Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW). This may include verbal abuse, swearing, or making offensive gestures within a public place or school. Although the penalty may seem minor – a fine of up to $660 – it’s essential to understand that this can still lead to a criminal record.

At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, we can help you contest the charge or negotiate a lesser penalty. We understand that emotions can run high, and sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment that may not reflect your true character.

Public intoxication is an offence in NSW, with penalties ranging from fines to a potential criminal record. This can be embarrassing and may impact your future employment prospects. Our experienced lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, ensuring that you receive the best possible outcome for your situation.

In NSW, the offence of public intoxication stems from Police providing you with a “move on direction”. Police have the power to order you to leave a location if they believe your actions could cause injury to others, yourself, property, or be a risk to public safety.

If you fail to comply with a move on direction from Police and they find you within six hours to be intoxicated and acting in a disorderly manner you can be charged with “continuation of intoxicated and disorderly behaviour following a move on direction”. This means you could be liable to a fine of up to $1,650 and a conviction on your criminal record.

Graffiti, or marking property without the owner’s consent or a “reasonable excuse”, is a criminal offence in NSW under the Graffiti Control Act 2008 (NSW). If you are caught marking a property you are liable to a fine of up to $440. Should the marking on the property not be easily removed by wiping or use of water/detergent then you can face fines of up to $2,200, community service orders, or even imprisonment for up to 12 months. Our legal team at Jackson John Defence Lawyers, has extensive experience and we can help you explore your options, including diversion programs or alternative penalties.

Loitering refers to lingering in a public place after failing to comply with a move on order from Police, which can lead to fines and a conviction on your record. Failing to comply with a direction that has been given to you by Police can result in a $220 fine.

In certain situations, loitering can also be associated with other criminal activities, such as drug offences or prostitution. Section 352 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides Police with the power to apprehend any person loitering that they suspect is about to or has committed a serious indictable offence.

Rioting is defined as participating in a group of 12 or more people, that engages in unlawful violent behaviour with a shared goal, causing a resolute person at the scene to fear their personal safety. It is a serious offence in NSW and can result in imprisonment for up to 15 years under section 93B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). Our skilled criminal lawyers can help you build a strong defence, ensuring that your rights and freedoms are protected.

Affray is another serious offence in NSW, that involves the use or threat of unlawful violence, causing another person to fear for their safety. Regulated by section 93C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), this is a serious offence and can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment for up to 10 years.

An affray charge can arise from various situations, such as bar fights, street brawls, or any public or private disturbance involving violence or the threat thereof. If you are facing an affray charge, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal lawyer like the team at Jackson John Defence Lawyers. We will thoroughly examine the circumstances of your case and build a strong defence strategy tailored to your specific situation.

This may involve the following:

  • Challenging the prosecution’s evidence;
  • Assessing whether you acted in self-defence; and/or
  • Presenting mitigating factors that could lead to a reduction in the severity of the charges and/or penalties you face.

In some instances, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to have the charges downgraded to a less serious offence, for example common assault. Alternatively, we can argue for a non-conviction order or a good behaviour bond, which can significantly minimise the impact of the charges on your life and future prospects.

Lighting fires in the open air without a permit can lead to severe penalties in NSW, including fines and imprisonment, especially during total fire ban periods. The potential consequences of these fires, such as property damage, environmental harm, and even loss of life, make this a serious offence under the Rural Fires Act 1997 (NSW) and other related legislation.

It is crucial to understand the regulations surrounding lighting fires in the open air, which can vary depending on your location, the time of year, and current fire danger ratings. In some cases, a permit may be required to light a fire on your own property, while in others, a total fire ban may be in place, prohibiting any open air fires.

Section 100 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 (NSW) provides, if you set a fire without authority and permit the fire to escape onto another person’s land, you will be liable to a fine of up to $110,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment. A total fire ban becomes an aggravating factor when the Court assesses what penalty to impose. Should it be proven that you knew a total fire ban was in place the penalty increases to a fine up to $132,000 and/or 7 years imprisonment.

If you find yourself facing charges for lighting a fire in the open air, our team can help you understand the specific regulations and requirements that apply to your case. We will examine the circumstances surrounding the incident, as well as any mitigating factors that may be relevant to your defence.

For instance, we may be able to argue that you took reasonable precautions to prevent the fire from spreading. In some cases, we may also be able to negotiate with the authorities to reduce the severity of the charges or penalties you face, especially if this is your first offence or if you can demonstrate genuine remorse and a commitment to rectifying any damage caused by the fire.

Don’t hesitate to contact the team at Jackson John Defence Lawyers today to arrange your free 15 minute initial phone consultation.