Criminal Damage

Criminal Damage

In all Australian states and territories, it is illegal to intentionally harm or destroy property. Various names for this offense include malicious harm, deliberate damage, criminal damage, and property damage. The range of offenses includes serious offenses that could result in extended jail sentences as well as minor summary offenses that are subject to bail and small penalties. The offenses connected to criminal damage in the various Australian jurisdictions are compiled on this page.

Intentional Criminal Damage In Queensland

Section 469 of the Criminal Code governs the offense of malicious harm. The crime is still frequently referred to by its previous name, malicious harm.

The maximum punishment for wilful damage is five years in jail, unless there are extraordinary circumstances where a different maximum sentence is specified. In certain situations, such as when an explosion damages property or destroys a testamentary instrument (a will), the maximum penalties are extended.


Property damage in Victoria

In Victoria, the crime of causing damage to another person’s property is regulated by section 197 of the Crimes Act 1958. The maximum sentence for this offense is ten years in jail, or fifteen years if the harm is done with the intention of endangering the life of another person.

Wilful destruction or damage to property valued at less than $5,000 is another property damage offense included in Section 9 of the Summary Offences Act. A fine of up to 25 penalty units or a maximum sentence of six months in jail are applicable for this offense.


South Australia’s property damage

Section 85 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 defines the offense in South Australia. The maximum punishment for this offense is life in prison if the damaged property is a structure or a vehicle, or ten years in prison in all other circumstances.


Property damage or destruction in New South Wales

The offence is covered by section 195 of the Crimes Act 1900 in New South Wales. The maximum sentence for this offense varies from five to twelve years in jail and is determined by the specifics of the offense and the manner in which the harm is caused.

In New South Wales, there is additionally a charge for property damage with the purpose to cause harm or endanger life.


Property damage in the ACT

In the ACT, it is illegal to intentionally or carelessly damage property as stated in section 403 of the Criminal Code of 2002. This offense carries a maximum fine of $1000, a maximum 10-year jail sentence, or both.

Threatening to cause harm to property is another offense covered by the ACT.


The Northern Territory’s criminal damage

Under section 241 of the Criminal Code 1983, it is illegal in the Northern Territory to intentionally or carelessly destroy someone else’s property. A maximum 10-year prison sentence is the punishment for this offense.

A person commits an offense if they make threats to harm property.


Causing harm or destruction to property in Tasmania

Under section 37 of the Police Offences Act 1935, it is illegal in Tasmania to damage or destroy property. This is a summary offense that carries a maximum fine of ten penalty units or a year in jail.

There are further offenses linked to destroying computer data and a war memorial under the Criminal Code Act of 1924.


Criminal Damage in Western Australian ( WA )

Section 444 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 defines the offence of criminal damage in Western Australia. In case the damage does not above $50,000, this offense could be handled as a summary offense.

A summary offense carries a potential sentence of three years in jail and a $36,000 fine.


The following is the maximum penalty that can be imposed if the offense is handled as an indictable offense:

life in jail in cases where fire caused the damage;
If the offense was committed in an environment where racial aggravation was present, the sentence is 14 years; otherwise, it is 10 years.

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