Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime

Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime

In Victoria, Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime is found in section 195 of the Crimes Act 1958. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was found to be in possession of a property which the Police suspect to be stolen or obtained via a criminal act.

Have you been accused of Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime?
 
Police Interview
If the police contact you to interview you about allegations of Dealing with Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime, it is worth speaking with one of defence lawyers first to have your important questions answered:

  • Will I be remanded?
  • Will the Police leave me alone if I tell my side of the story?
  • Will it help if I answer some questions and say ‘no comment’ to other questions?
How you conduct yourself in a police interview for the offence of Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime is extremely important.

The police will ordinarily consider charging someone with this offence if they find something in the person’s possession that they suspect is the proceeds of crime, however they do not have any other evidence to substantiate this suspicion. Making admissions in an interview about whether something is the proceeds of crime could mean the police decide to charge you with the more serious offences of Theft or Handle Stolen Goods.

Speaking with a lawyer prior to your interview will assist you to navigate the interview process to put you in the best position to deal with this charge.

Pleading Not Guilty
Our lawyers have enormous experience defending people charged with Dealing with Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime. We will review the evidence and consider whether the police have reasonable grounds to suspect the property is proceeds of crime, as is required to make out the charge. We can also critique the police case and consider whether the evidence establishes that you were ‘dealing’ with the property in question.

If appropriate, we would also request that the police disclose further evidence relevant to the alleged suspicion or explore gathering evidence to demonstrate that the property was legitimately obtained.

Pleading Guilty
If you decide to plead guilty to this charge, our experienced lawyers will help you prepare a thorough and considered plea in mitigation. We would prepare submissions on your behalf, help you gather character evidence and direct you to attend offence-specific courses that will demonstrate evidence of rehabilitation upon completion.

Whether or not you prepare a considered plea in mitigation with the assistance of a lawyer will impact the type of sentence you receive and may be the difference between you receiving a with or without conviction sentence, depending on your circumstances.

Sentencing
Sentencing in the higher courts of AustraliaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Deal With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime in the Higher CourtsSentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of AustraliaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime in the Magistrates' Courts
Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime is normally heard in the Magistrates’ Court, but it can also be heard in the County Court.
 
Examples of Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime
  • The police have a warrant to search a man’s home and find a large amount of cash. The man has been unemployed for some time.
  • A CEO of a company is charged and convicted for tax evasion and luxury vehicles at their home are seized by the Federal Police
  • A drug operation is shut down by the Federal Police and money and weapons are seized
Legislation
This offence can be found in section 195 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).

Elements of the offence
For an accused to be proven guilty, the following elements must be established in court:

  • The accused dealt with property.
  • The property was suspected of being proceeds of crime.
  • The suspicion was on reasonable grounds.
“Can the Prosecution prove that you ought to have known that the property was stolen?”

  • The property was legitimately purchased / obtained
  • There could not be a reasonable suspicion that the property was proceeds of crime
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • How did you get the property?
  • Is there a legitimate / legal reason for you having the property?
Questions a Judge will Ask
A judge presiding over a trial will ask the jury to consider:

  1. Is it reasonable to believe that the property was stolen
  2. Did the accused have the property in his/her possession
  3. Did the accused have a lawful excuse for possessing the property.

The maximum penalty for the offence of Dealing With Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime (s195 of the Crimes Act 1958) is level 7 imprisonment (2 years).