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Break and Enter:

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An offence of breaking and entering does not only encompass breaking and entering for the purpose of stealing. An offence of break and enter can also occur where a person breaks or enters for the purpose of creating another offence like sexual assault or murder.

Break and Enter Offences

Under the legislation, the following offences and penalties encompass a break and enter:

  • Enter into a dwelling or break out of the dwelling with intent to commit or after committing an indictable offence – maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment;
  • Break, enter and assault another person with intent to murder – maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment;
  • Enter a dwelling with intent to commit a serious indictable offence – maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment;
  • Break, enter and commit a serious indictable offence – maximum penalty is  14 years imprisonment;
  • Break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence – maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment;
  • Armed with intent to commit an indictable offence – maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment; and
  • Being a convicted offender armed with intent to commit an indictable offence – maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

Break and enter for the purpose of stealing

Break and enter to steal is the most common of the break and enter offences. It has long been regarded as a serious offence and punishable under the law. The Court does not take break and enter offences lightly. . The maximum penalty for the offence is 14 years imprisonment. Historically, New South Wales has been the State with the highest imprisonment rates for break and enter offences. You should obtain immediate legal advice to ensure adequate preparation and representation in Court. Our Criminal Solicitors can assist you with any break and enter charge or charges and are highly trained in Court appearances.

As the penalties are diverse, the Court is given discretion on the penalty it decides to impose. There are a number of considerations the Court will take into account before imposing the penalty. In the case of R v Ponfield (1999) 48 NSWLR 327, the Court listed a number of factors that would affect the extent of the penalty.

The following factors were considered by the Court to present an accumulative effect on the penalty imposed:

  • The offence was committed while the defendant was on bail or parole;
  • The offence is a result of professional planning, organisation and execution;
  • The offender has a prior criminal record for similar offences;
  • The offence was committed on the premises of the elderly, the sick or the disabled;
  •  The offence was heightened by vandalism and other significant damages to the property;
  • The number of other offences that were committed at the time of offence;
  • The offence was committed in the course of repeat intrusions on the premises;
  • The value of the stolen property, money or otherwise;
  • Whether the defendant was aware that the premises was likely to be occupied at the time;
  • Any trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the break and enter including actual bodily harm or deprivation of liberty; and/or
  • The amount of force used or threatened to be used during the break and enter.

The amount of weight given to each factor will vary according to the case and it will be up to the Court to apportion the appropriate weights. The Court will also take into account any remorse felt by the offender or any rehabilitation steps taken by the offender in relation to the offence.

If you require advice on a break and enter offence, come and speak to one of our expert Criminal Lawyers. The first consultation is free. You will be given a preliminary assessment of your case and the potential options. Contact our office today.

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