Dangerous Use of Firearm

Legislation around the use of firearms are stringent in Australia in order to protect civilians. Without a valid permit, individuals are not authorised to possess or use firearms in Australia. Furthermore, these firearms must be registered to avoid heavy penalties. Regardless of these elements, it is a criminal offence to trespass or use the firearm dangerous beyond its genuine purpose, given when a permit is granted. In fact, the offence of dangerously using a firearm is found under section 93H of the Crimes Act 1900 which states that:

  1. Any person who, possessing a firearm, imitation firearm, spear gun or imitation spear gun, enters any building or land (other than a road), unless the person:
    1. Is the owner or occupier of the building or land or has the permission of the owner or occupier, or
    2. Does so with a reasonable excuse, or
    3. Does so for a lawful purpose,

    is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

  1. A person who fires a firearm or spear gun in or into any building or on or on to any land, unless the person:
    1. Is the owner or occupier of the building or land or has the permission of the owner or occupier, or
    2. Does so with a reasonable excuse, or
    3. Does so for a lawful purpose

    Is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

  1. The onus of proving the matter referred to in subsection 1 a, b, and c and subsection 2 a, b and lies with the defendant.

As a leading criminal defence law firm based in Sydney, our expert team of criminal lawyers possess a wealth of knowledge in relation to the crime of dangerously using a firearm.

If you or somebody you know is facing such charges, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders now for a FREE first consultation.

PENALTIES

The charge of dangerously using a firearm is perceived as a very serious offence as seen in Section 93H of the Crimes Act 1900. The Act states that any one who is found guilty of the offence should be liable to a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years.

However, Crimes Statistics Australia revealed that in 2015-2016, only 17% of individual convicted with a firearm offence was sentenced to a full time custodial order such as gaol. This means the Court has the ability to enforce alternative punishments in appropriate circumstances. It is important to be aware that this is determined on a case by case basis, taking past criminal history, personal character and the nature of the offence into consideration.

Upon thorough deliberation of the circumstances, the Court may use their discretion to enforce penalties such as intensive correction orders (ICOs), home detention, community service orders (CSOs), good behaviour bonds, a monetary fine or a suspended sentence if these are determined to be sufficient penalties relative to the specific crime.

GUILTY

In order to be found guilty of dangerous use of firearms, the prosecution will have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you were in possession of a firearm; and
  • You fired that firearm;
  • In any building or on any land without a reasonable excuse, permission from the owner or occupier of the building or land, or a lawful purpose.

If the prosecution is able to successfully establish these allegations, it is likely that the above penalties will be enforced. If you tend to agree with the allegations against you, you will have the opportunity to plead guilty. In this instance, the case will proceed to sentencing whereby the Court will decide the appropriate punishment relevant to your specific offence.

However, pleading guilty often warrants more successful outcomes as opposed to being found guilty otherwise. Submitting a guilty plea to the Court often demonstrates regret and remorse towards the unlawful activities that you participated in. As a result, it is not uncommon for the Court to impose less serious penalties and alternative punishments as discussed above.

If you or some you know has been charged with dangerous use of firearms, contact our criminal defence lawyers for a FREE consultation.

NOT GUILTY

Alternatively, you have the option to plead not guilty to the crime of dangerously using a firearm. If you plead not guilty to the offence, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did commit the crime. If the prosecution is successful, you will be penalised accordingly.

However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, our Sydney based team of criminal defence lawyers have achieved positive results for clients in such situations. To keep you protected from conviction or to avoid penalties that can detrimentally impact your lifestyle, our criminal defence lawyers will use their rich experience of 29 years to challenge the allegations made against you with the below defence strategies. If our lawyers are successful at securing you a win, there is a chance that the Court will completely dismiss the charges against you, and you may no longer be penalised. It may also reduce the severity of penalties or downgrade the entire case to a less significant charge which will prove more favourable than a full time custodial sentence in gaol.

THE DEFENCE

There are many legal defences that our criminal defence lawyers may use in order to disprove allegation put forth by the prosecution. These defences include:

Duress: Encompasses the use of unlawful coercion to persuade a person to partake in an activity they would not usually participate in. This coercion can take form of harmful threats such as death or grievous bodily harm in which the accused believes that if they do not participate in the activity, they can be at risk.

Necessity: Involves circumstances in which the accused debates that their actions are acceptable and justifiable as they were in imminent danger by either human or natural forces. To prove that acts were a form of necessity, it must be established that the activity was only undertaken in order to avoid particular consequences that are deemed as “irreparable evil”, the individual must holistically believe that they were in a situation of “imminent peril” and that the individual believed they had no other alternatives to avoid the impending threat.

WHICH COURT?

Charges relating to dangerously using a firearm is classified as a table 2 offence. This means that the case will typically be heard before a Local Court. However, in some circumstances, an election may be made by either yourself or the prosecution for the matter to be heard before a District Court whereby the penalties incurred are generally more severe.

The Defenders have a wealth of experience in defending criminal cases all over NSW. Therefore, we are able to effectively represent our clients regardless of the specific Court your matter is heard in.

For more information, contact our criminal law firm to schedule a FREE consultation.