Theft & Stealing Offences

Have you been charged with the criminal law offence of stealing? It's important to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Learn more about this offence below.

Definition of Stealing: 391 Stealing (Criminal Code Queensland)

(1) A person who fraudulently takes anything capable of being stolen, or fraudulently converts to the person’s own use or to the use of any other person anything capable of being stolen, is said to steal that thing.

(2) A person who takes or converts anything capable of being stolen is deemed to do so fraudulently if the person does so with any of the following intents, that is to say—

  • an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the thing of it;
  • an intent to permanently deprive any person who has any special property in the thing of such property;
  • an intent to use the thing as a pledge or security;
  • an intent to part with it on a condition as to its return which the person taking or converting it may be unable to perform;
  • an intent to deal with it in such a manner that it can not be returned in the condition in which it was at the time of the taking or conversion;
  • in the case of money—an intent to use it at the will of the person who takes or converts it, although the person may intend to afterwards repay the amount to the owner.

398 Punishment of Stealing (Criminal Code Queensland)

(1) Any person who steals anything capable of being stolen is guilty of a crime, and is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for 5 years.

In Queensland, it is an offence to fraudulently take or convert to their own use anything that is capable of being stolen. A person will be charged with stealing if they take or convert something capable of being stolen in order to permanently deprive the owner of the item, permanently deprive any person who has special property in the thing, use the thing as a pledge or security, part with it on a condition as to its return which the person taking or converting may be unable to perform, or deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be returned in the condition it was taken. The police must prove that the complainant did not give the accused consent to take or convert the item.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years’ imprisonment. However, if the circumstances of the offence are aggravated, the maximum penalty may increase to between 10 and 14 years’ imprisonment. Aggravated circumstances include when the property stolen valued more than $5,000.00, if the property stolen was a firearm or ammunition, or if the property was stolen from a dwelling and is valued at more than $1,000.00. There are other circumstances of aggravation which may increase an offender’s sentence. Stealing offences are usually heard in the Magistrates Court, however, if the circumstances are serious enough then the matter must be dealt with in the District Court.

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Stealing, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Imprisonment (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service;
  • Bonds;
  • Restitution;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Are there any defences available to this charge?

Yes. The facts of your case will determine which defences will be available for you. The following defences may be available to you:

  • Property was not capable of being stolen;
  • Accused had consent of owner;
  • Accused mistakenly thought they had consent of owner;
  • Property was abandoned by the owner.

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a stealing allegation or if I am charged with Stealing?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide the police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court.

Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

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