We offer you a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Please call us on 02 8539 7475 or email us for a call back.

close

What is a break and enter offence?

A break and enter offence occurs where access to a premises has been obtained by breaching the security of the premises with the intention of committing an offence such as theft or assault.  It can include such actions as breaking through a window or climbing over a fence into someone’s property.

Break and Enter Offence

The prosecution must prove that the person

  • Broke into a house or dwelling; and
  • Entered the premises; and
  • Had an intent to commit an offence or did commit an offence

Custodial Penalties

Break and enter is a serious offence and the courts can impose a lengthy term of imprisonment. Depending on the circumstances of the offence, an offender may be liable for up to 25 years in prison.

Non-Custodial Penalties

  • A dismissal of charges and the conditional discharge of an offender (this is also known as a ‘Section 10’)
  • Good Behaviour Bond
  • Fine
  • Community Service Order
  • Suspended Sentence
  • Intensive Correction Order
  • Home Detention

Aggravated Forms of the Offence

The seriousness of a break and enter offence can be increased by the presence of an aggravating circumstance. An aggravated offence  can be classified as either aggravated or specially aggravated.

Aggravated

A break and enter offence will be aggravated where immediately before, during or immediately after the offence the alleged offender:

  • Is armed with an offensive weapon, or instrument,
  • Is in the company of another person or persons,
  • Uses corporal violence on any person,
  • Intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person
  • Deprives any person of their liberty
  • Knows that there is a person, or that there are persons, in the place where the offence is alleged to be committed.

Specially Aggravated

A break and enter offence will be specially aggravated where immediately before, during or immediately after the offence the alleged offender:

  • Intentionally wounds or intentionally inflicts grievous bodily harm on any person,
  • Inflicts grievous bodily harm on any person and is reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to that or any other person,
  • Is armed with a dangerous weapon.

What defences are available?

There are specific defences in criminal law that may negate an element of an offence, in effect reducing or removing an accused’s liability for an offence.  These include:

Duress

Duress occurs where the accused has performed their illegal actions because of serious threats of violence against themselves or family members. In more simple terms, you may be able to rely on the defence of duress if you were forced to commit the break and enter offence. For more information on duress, please see our dedicated article.

Necessity

The defence of necessity may be relied upon in circumstances where the accused was compelled by some danger or threat to commit a crime. This danger or threat needs to have been of a kind that may cause a person to have reasonably believed that they were exposed to the serious danger or threat.

Self-defence

Self-defence may potentially be relied upon as a defence to a break and enter offence. This defence is substantiated in circumstances where the accused’s criminal actions were carried out in the defence of themselves or someone else.

Plead to a Lesser Offence

It may be possible for your lawyer to negotiate with the prosecution to downgrade the offence if you plead guilty.  For more information about the decision to plead guilty or not guilty, please see our dedicated article on this topic.

Why BSM Lawyers?

Brander Smith McKnight’s team of criminal defence lawyers have extensive experience with break and enter offences and are able to advise you of your legal rights, create an effective defence strategy and advocate strongly for you in court to achieve the best possible outcome.  Our criminal lawyers are regularly in the Local and District Courts and are proud of the excellent results they achieve for our clients.  We will carefully listen to you, review the representations made by the police and negotiate with the prosecution.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

FAQs

chevronI had a key to the property I broke into, can I still be charged with a break and enter offence?

You may still be found guilty of a break and enter offence if you used a key to break into a property. This will depend on whether you had the authority to use the key.

chevronCan a break and enter offence be downgraded?

You may be able to downgrade a break and enter offence by pleading guilty to a lesser offence. For example, you may negotiate with the prosecution to plead guilty to a regular break and enter offence if you are being charged with an aggravated break and enter offence.  One of BSM’s expert criminal lawyers can negotiate a plea to a lesser break and enter charge.  In addition, an aggravated break and enter offence may be potentially reduced if at trial the jury or judge is not satisfied that you have committed the aggravated version of the offence.

We are conveniently located in Sutherland, Parramatta, Sydney CBD and Wollongong.

Head Office

phone close