Control of Use of Dangerous Articles

The charge of Control of Use of Dangerous Articles is found in section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence for a person to carry a ‘dangerous article’ in a public place or licensed premises without a lawful excuse.

Have you been accused of Control of Use of Dangerous Articles? Make time to speak with one of our experienced defence lawyers. Our lawyers are experienced Court advocates who specialise in criminal defence work.

Police Interview

The Police Interview is part of their investigation to gather evidence to prove their case against you. It is not the time or place for you to try to explain your side of the story and hope that they will end their investigation against you. They are looking for evidence to support charging you. You should call a lawyer before being interviewed. It is worth getting legal advice before answering any questions, even those that seem harmless.

Pleading Not Guilty

There are different ways to fight this charge. We may be able to argue that the article is not capable of being used as a weapon. There may not be evidence that it was carried with the intention of being used as a weapon. Alternatively, you might have a lawful reason for carrying the item. It may be required by your employment or a lawful activity. We can give you advice about whether any of these arguments apply in your case.

Our lawyers are proactive in their approach and will look for evidence to support your defence, which the Police may have over-looked. You want a lawyer on your side who is going to vigorously defend you in Court.

Pleading Guilty

If you choose to plead guilty, we work with you to achieve the best result. We learn about your circumstances and background so we can present your story to the Court. We can help collect character references and reports. There is significant preparation for a plea hearing and therefore it is worth speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Sentencing

Sentencing in the higher courts of Victoria
Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Possess or Carry a Dangerous Article in a Public Place Without Lawful Excuse in the Higher Courts of Victoria Between 2016 and 2021Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Possess a Dangerous Article in a Public Place in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Which court will the case be heard in?

It is an indictable offence but it may be heard summarily. This means that the offence may heard either at the Magistrates’ Court or higher courts.

What is the legal definition of Control of Use of Dangerous Articles?

A person is in a public place or a licensed premises and possesses an article capable of being used as a weapon without a lawful excuse.

Examples of Control or Use of Dangerous Articles
  • Our client was arrested for assault, and the police found a box-cutter in his pocket. He didn’t have a lawful excuse for the boxcutter – for instance, he didn’t use it as part of his employment. Police charged him with possession of a dangerous article.
“Did you have a lawful excuse for the dangerous article?”

 

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990.

Elements of the offence

For an accused to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The accused possessed or carry a dangerous article in a public place; or
  • The accused possessed or carry a dangerous article in licensed premises or in a public place that is in the immediate vicinity of licensed premises; and
  • The accused was without lawful excuse from doing so.

‘Dangerous article’ is defined as:

  • an article which has been adapted or modified so as to be capable of being used as a weapon; or
  • any other article which is carried with the intention of being used as a weapon
Defences
  • The item in your possession was not a dangerous article
  • You had a lawful excuse for carrying the item
Questions in cases like this
  • Is the item actually a dangerous article? Is it an item which has been adapted or modified so as to be capable of being used as a weapon?
  • Were you carrying the item with the intention of using it as a weapon?
  • Were you carrying the item in a public place or on a licensed premises?
Maximum penalty of section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990

The maximum penalty for the offence of Control of Use of Dangerous Articles (section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990) is 60 penalty units or imprisonment for 6 months if the offence was committed in a public place, and 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 1 year if the offence was committed in a licensed premises.

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