The charge of intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property is commonly known as “malicious damage”. It is an offence that is dealt with in the local court, before a magistrate.
Plead not guilty
In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You intentionally or recklessly destroyed or damaged property;
- Which belonged to someone or yourself and another person.
If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.
Remember, the prosecution must prove that the property belonged to someone else, or you and someone else. This means, that they cannot prove the charge against you unless they can prove who owned the property.
You cannot be guilty of destroying your own property!
If the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.
If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence.
What is the penalty for intentionally or recklessly destroy damage property?
If this was your first offence, you will have a good opportunity to have the matter dealt with by way of a Section 10. Whilst it is not a trivial offence, magistrates will be open to a Section 10 argument.
The offence of Intentionally or recklessly destroy property carries a maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment in the Local Court if the damage does not exceed $5,000.00 and 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court if the damage exceeds $5,000.00. The maximum penalty in the District Court is 5 years imprisonment. However, Intentionally or recklessly destroy property is an offence frequently dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentence Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.
Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are: