Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse

Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse is found in section 9(1)(e) of the Summary Offences Act 1966 in Victoria. It is committed by a person who was found to have entered premises without authority or the permission to do so. For this offence, the person may have climbed a fence or gone into an area which they know is not for the public, or have entered a place when there was a sign saying that entrance is forbidden.

Have you been accused of Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse?

Police Interview

Police will want to interview you in relation to Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse if they think you are guilty. It is important to discuss with a lawyer the processes of engaging in a police interview before you attend. We assist our clients with police interviews regularly and can offer advice on what to expect.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you think you have been wrongly charged Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse or think you have a defence which means you are not guilty, it is important to talk this through with one of our experienced lawyers.

We can go through the brief of evidence with you and listen to your side of the story before deciding on a strategy for your case. We will work hard to defend you.

Pleading Guilty

If you are pleading guilty to Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse, it is important that you have a lawyer assist you with a plea. We regularly appear in pleas and have experienced lawyers who can assist you in putting a plea together and appear for you at court. It is important that a plea puts your best case forward to get you the best possible sentence.

Sentencing

Sentencing in the higher courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Wilfully Enter a Private Place or Scheduled Public Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse in the Higher Courts of Victoria Between 2016 and 2021Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Wilfully Enter a Private Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Which court will the case be heard in?

As a summary offence, any summons for this charge will primarily be handled by the Magistrates’ Court.

Elements of the offence

The prosecution must prove the following two elements:

  • The accused wilfully entered a private or scheduled public place; and
  • The accused was given notice (whether it be verbally or in writing) prohibiting that accused entry

What does ‘Wilfully’ Mean?
The Prosecution must prove that a person intended to trespass and that they did not know that they had no lawful authority to be there.1

Examples of Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse
  • Entering a school yard at night
  • Entering a staff only area of a shop
  • Entering a job site without permission or lawful excuse
Legislation

Entering a place without authority or lawful excuse as described above is an offence pursuant to section 9(1)(e) of the Summary Offences Act 1966.

Defences

A person charged with this offence may rely on one of the following defences:

  • honest and reasonable mistake of belief
  • necessity
  • lack of intent
  • sudden or extraordinary emergency
  • incorrect factual matrix
Questions in cases like this
  • Did you enter the exclusion area?
  • Did you have a reason for being there?
  • Was it in fact you that entered the property?
Maximum penalty for section 9(1)(e) of the Summary Offences Act 1966

The offence of Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse (s9(1)(e) of the Summary Offences Act 1966) carries a fine of 25 penalty units (around $4,000) or six months imprisonment as the highest possible sentence.

Case studies related to Entering a Place Without Authority or Lawful Excuse
Other important resources


[1] Anderson v Winther.