Have you been accused you of Aggravated Burglary? We will help you by answering your legal questions during a private consultation and provide clear strategic advice regarding Aggravated Burglary charges.
Police interviewYou should not want to say anything to the Police which can harm your defence later on. Contact one of our lawyers for legal advice before participating in a Police interview. We can answer your important questions such as:
- should I make a statement to Police?
- Should I attend a Police interview?
- Do I need to give my DNA?
- Will the Police leave me alone if I explain my side of the story?
- Will I be remanded?
Our lawyers can also attend the Police station with you if you feel more comfortable having someone on your side to make sure you do not say something you are not obliged to say that will hurt your case.
Pleading not guiltyIn defending an allegation of Aggravated Burglary, you want a lawyer who is going to ask the Police – Is there relevant CCTV footage? Is there DNA evidence? Did Police recover a weapon? Did Police recover matching clothing? Are there people who the Police have not spoken to who can shed some light on this case? Is there exonerating evidence which needs to be preserved?
The answer to these questions can lead to a charge of Aggravated Burglary being withdrawn or an acquittal.
Our firm are criminal defence lawyers who have dedicated our careers specifically to representing people charged with offences such as Aggravated Burglary. We have successfully defended people accused of Aggravated Burglary in the past.
Pleading guiltyIf you are pleading guilty to Aggravated Burglary, we can present your plea of guilty to get the best outcome. We will explain your personal circumstances to the sentencing Court and tender expert reports and character references which we can help you gather.
SentencingSentencing outcomes in the higher courts of Victoria Sentencing outcomes in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria
Jurisdictional LimitsAggravated burglary is an indictable offence, which means that it is triable by a judge and jury in the County or Supreme Court. However, this offence may also be heard summarily in the Magistrates’ Court if:
- The offence involves an intent to steal property the value of which does not exceed $100,000; and
- The Magistrate considers it appropriate to be dealt with summarily; and
- The accused consents to having the charge determined summarily.
More serious examples of aggravated burglary will be heard in the County or Supreme Courts.
Ultimately, it is the individual circumstances surrounding the charge that will determine which court is the most appropriate.
Elements of the offence of Aggravated BurglarySection 77 defines the elements that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt to satisfy a charge of aggravated burglary:
A person is guilty of an aggravated burglary if he or she commits a burglary and –
- At the time has with him or her any firearm or imitation firearm, any offensive weapon or any explosive or imitation explosive; or
- At the time of entering the building or the part of the building a person was then present in the building or part of the building and he or she knew that a person was then so present or was reckless as to whether or not a person was then so present.
What must accompany the physical element of trespass is the requisite intention to steal, assault a person or damage property at the time of entry. Intention formed after the accused entered the building will not satisfy this element. The ‘time’ the intention was formed depends on the way the evidence against the accused is framed. If it is alleged that the accused entered the house as a trespasser, it will be necessary for the prosecution to prove that accused had the requisite intention when he or she initially entered the house. If it is alleged that the accused entered a particular room in the house as a trespasser, it will be necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused had the requisite intention when he or she entered the room identified.
A person doesn’t need to successfully carry out the offence involving theft, assault or property damage to satisfy this element, as long as it was their intention to do so at the time of entering the building.
Aggravated burglary while armedFor the purpose of this section, the prosecution must prove that the accused had in their possession any of the articles listed below for the purpose of the burglary:
- a firearm;
- an imitation firearm (means anything which has the appearance of being a firearm, whether capable of being discharged or not);
- an offensive weapon;
- an explosive; or
- an imitation explosive.
This element will only be met if the accused knew that he or she had the article with him or her, or that the article was available for use.
Aggravated burglary when a person was presentFor the purpose of this section, the prosecution must prove at the time of the burglary the accused either:
- knew that a person was present in the building; or
- was reckless as to whether or not a person was present in the building.
An accused is reckless to whether or not a person is present in a location if he or she believes that a person is probably present. The accused must have turned his or her mind to the likelihood. For instance, if the accused saw a light on or came across an unlocked door at the building which is usually unoccupied at 11pm, turned their mind to the probability that someone was present and went ahead and trespassed regardless of that fact, there is a strong likelihood that this element will be made out.
Aside from general defences which may apply such as mistaken identity, the offence of aggravated burglary can raise complex legal issues in relation to the intention of the accused. Lack of intent can be a defence to this charge if the prosecution do not provide adequate evidence that the accused had the requisite intention. That is that at the time of entry into the premises to steal, assault or damage or the intention to use a weapon carried for the purpose of the burglary. For both of these scenarios, intention must be present at the time of entry.
In the higher jurisdictions, Aggravated Burglary (s77 of the Crimes Act 1958) carries a maximum penalty of Level 2 (25 years) imprisonment. This is the second highest level of maximum penalty available in Victoria after life imprisonment.