Offensive conduct

What is offensive conduct?

The offence of Offensive conduct is found at section 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1988.

Offensive conduct is one of the least serious criminal charges and is frequently dealt with by way of section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record.

If you are charged with the offence of Offensive conduct, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading not guilty

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Offensive conduct if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You conducted yourself in an offensive manner.
  2. In or near, or within view or hearing from, a public place or a school.

In determining whether the offence of Offensive conduct has been committed, the relevant question is whether, if there had been an ordinary reasonable person in the street at the relevant time, that person could have seen and been offended by your conduct. The reasonable man is to be taken as reasonably tolerant and understanding and reasonably contemporary in his reactions.

It is a sufficient defence if you satisfy the court you had a reasonable excuse for conducting yourself in the manner alleged.

If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:

Contact our offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown or Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Offensive conduct.

Pleading guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.

Offensive conduct carries a maximum penalty of 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $660.00; however, these penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders. Our solicitors have a proven track record of not only keeping our clients out of gaol but also, depending on the seriousness of the allegation, having the offence dealt with by way of section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

Why choose AC Law Group?

Our solicitors are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for offensive conduct offences. For these offences, a good lawyer can be the difference between a conviction or clean record and freedom or gaol. To read more about AC Law Group, click here.

To discuss your offensive conduct charge, call AC Law Group at our Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern offices or make a website inquiry today.

Case Study

Mr Correy represented a man accused of offensive behaviour – in that he was a peeping tom in bushes watching women urinating in a park – and assaulting police in that he struck them when he they tried to arrest him. Mr Correy cross-examined the police over two days. In the end the Magistrate found that the lighting was too poor to find beyond reasonable doubt that the Accused man was not simply in the bushes to urinate himself. The police evidence was found to be so inconsistent in regard to the assault police allegation that the Magistrate found the evidence of the Accused man should be accepted over the 6 police who gave contradictory evidence. The Accused man was found not guilty of all charges.

Case Study

AC Law Group represented a young man charged with offensive conduct following an argument at a poker night in an RSL. At the time, he had become involved in some push and shove, made threats and used profanity. Our solicitor argued that there had been significant provocation, including racial abuse, and that in addition our client had shown remorse by shaking the hand of the other person involved in the altercation and walking away. It was submitted that even though the defence was made out, the police appeared overzealous in charging. The Magistrate agreed with the submissions and dismissed the charge pursuant to section 10, meaning our client had no criminal record.

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