The offence of Steal from person is found at section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900.
Steal from person includes bag snatching and where a person has property taken directly from them without any use or threat of violence. There are many ways to defend a Steal from person charge including where it can be established that a defendant did not have an intention to permanently deprive the victim or where a person has a claim of right to the property taken. Steal from person cases can also often be defended on account of there being issues with the identification of suspect.
If you are charged with the offence of Steal from person, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.
Pleading not guilty
You will be found not guilty of the offence of Steal from person if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:
- You stole a chattel, money or valuable security;
- From the person of the victim.
Steal from person involves you taking and carrying away property that belonged to another person with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of that property and the taking was done without the consent of the owner.
An intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property must exist at the time of the taking, so that if the obtaining of the property is innocent a later intent to steal is insufficient. If the accused takes the property without having decided whether to keep it or not, he does not commit larceny.
Claim of right is a defence to Steal from person. A person will have a claim of right where they possess a genuine belief that they have a bona fide claim of right to certain money. If you believed you were entitled to take the property, it does not matter that you did not believe you were entitled to take it in the manner you did.
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 or Blacktown to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Steal from person.
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.
Steal from person carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500.00 in the Local Court and 14 years imprisonment in the District Court. However, this penalty is typically reserved for the worst offenders. If the property stolen is valued at less than $2,000.00 then the maximum fine a court can impose is $2,200.00. Steal from person is a serious criminal offence. However, it is an offence than in some circumstances may be dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentence 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: