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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Offensive Behaviour Offences Offensive Behaviour Offences and Penalties in Queensland (QLD)

    Offensive Behaviour Offences and Penalties in Queensland (QLD)

    While offensive behaviours are usually prosecuted in a court, the degree of offence can determine the type of court that hears the matter. Summary offences in Queensland can be heard in lower courts (Magistrate/Local courts depending on the territory) or are heard "summarily" by higher courts.

    In Queensland, offensive behaviours are legislated by the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld). It usually specifies/prohibits certain unlawful actions, especially regarding a person and their behaviours in the community.

    If an individual is convicted in a Queensland court for an Offensive Behaviour offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a criminal history check in Queensland.

    Punishments for Behaviour Offences in Qld

    Not all behaviour offences may be prosecuted in court. The Police officer may - seeing the triviality of the case, opt to fine the offender. However, the accused can contest such "on-the-spot" fines in court for a full-court proceeding.

    Some of the offences of ill behaviour are described in Division 1 of the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) to include;

    • ✔ Public Nuisance

    Some many actions or circumstances may constitute such offence under Queensland laws. It is an offence that carries;

    • 25 penalty units, or
    • Six months imprisonment

    If a person commits any ill behaviour in a licensed/private environment or around its vicinity.

    Section 6 of the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) tags it public nuisance offence if the person;

    • Behaves in
    • a disorderly manner
    • an offensive manner,
    • Threatening way,
    • Violent way

    Or, through any of the actions, the person is likely to interfere or cause congestion to free flow.


    • ✔ Prevents public peace in any form

    Subsection 3 of Section 6 of the Act further explains this part where a person can be guilty if they;

    • Behave offensively, use indecent and abusive language
    • Use threatening languages

    For most public nuisance offences, a person doesn't need to complain to an officer before they begin a proceeding against the offender.


    • ✔ Urinating in a public space in Queensland

    It is indecent to urinate in a public place or a private area not designated for such. Anyone found guilty of such offence is guilty of an offence that incurs;

    • Four penalty units if the offence is in a licensed premise,
    • Two penalty units in other cases

    It is evidence that the person urinates if the liquid was discharged from their pelvic region.


    • ✔ Begging in a public space

    Section 8 of the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) prohibits a person from causing a nuisance by soliciting alms in public areas. This section may be expanded to mean;

    • Where a person begs for money or goods in an open area
    • Encourages or pushes a child to beg for cash or goods
    • Solicits for money or other aids in a public space

    It is an offence that carries the maximum penalty up to;

    • Ten penalty units or
    • Six months imprisonment.

    • ✔ Wilful exposure

    It is prohibited for a person to expose any sensual part of their body in any public place. It includes exposure of genitals or any other sexual behaviours in an area dominated by kids or where they are likely to be present.

    • It is an offence that incurs as much as two penalty units, or
    • 40 penalty unit or 1-year imprisonment depending on the presence of aggravating circumstances

    For this section, it is also an offence if the person committed such an act in a private area that the public can easily assess. Unless the person has a reasonable excuse, it is entirely abhorrent behaviour under Queensland laws.


    • ✔ Getting intoxicated in a public area

    One guilty of an offence if intoxicated in a public area through liquor or other substances. It is an offence that incurs as much as two penalty units.

    The Offence of Unlawful Assembly in Qld

    Section 10A of the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) describes an offence where three or more persons are gathered for a specific purpose. It is an unlawful assembly if their shared purpose were such that would;

    • Cause a person in the vicinity unlawful violence
    • Poses a risk to a person's health,
    • Poses threat to the welfare of the animal
    • Causes some form of biosecurity risk
    • Likely and attempts to disrupt a business operation
    • Is dangerous to the safety of food or other basic amenities available for humans/animals.
    • Or any other disruptive, threatening or scary acts,

    Each person in the gathering are guilty of an offence that incurs;

    • Two years imprisonment if the person continues to participate despite knowing the nature of the gathering.
    • Otherwise, they are liable to punishments of 1-year imprisonment.

    When the court hears such cases, it is immaterial that;

    • The original assembly is lawful at the time
    • The common purpose was lawful at the time
    • That no one would reasonably fear for their safety (even when such acts are scary)

    Offences relating to illegal presence on a property

    It is unlawful for a person to break into or remain in a yard for dwelling in an illegal manner.

    • ✔ Trespassing

    It is an offence that incurs as much as 20 penalty units or one year's imprisonment for a person to enter private premises and remain there illegally.

    If the area was a business premise, it is an unlawful act that incurs as much as

    • 20 penalty unit, or
    • 1-year imprisonment

    This section does not include an industrial officer that enters the business.


    • ✔ Unlawful Driving of motorbike in public land

    It is a criminal act for a person to drive or operate a motorbike on private land contravention of the local law. It is an offence that incurs as much as 20 penalty units.


    • ✔ Unlawfully gathering in a building structure.

    It is an offence that two or more persons to unlawfully enter;

    • Any part of a public building that is used for business,
    • Premises or building used for business purpose

    It is an offence to remain in any of these buildings. It is an offence that incurs penalties up to 10 penalty units or six months imprisonment.


    • ✔ Possession Offences

    It is an offence to possess an implement or equipment that can be used to commit further offences like;

    • Burglary and dwelling,
    • Stealing or unlawfully using a vehicle
    • Used to injure a person
    • Unlawfully destroy a property

    These offences incur as much as 20 penalty units or 1 year imprisonment. It is also an offence to possess any of these equipment if used to commit crime.


    • ✔ Keeping a property suspected to be stolen

    While stealing is a severe offence under Australian and Queensland laws, possessing such an item is also an offence. If you cannot convincingly prove to the court about the origin of such material, you are liable to fines up to

    • 20 penalty units or
    • One year’s imprisonment

    • ✔ Graffiti instrument

    It is a minor offence under Section 17 of the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) for a person to possess a material or instrument that is;

    • Reasonably possible to be used for graffiti, or
    • Being used for graffiti
    • Attempted or suspected to be used for graffiti at any point

    It is an offence that incurs 20 penalty units or 1-year imprisonment. However, for this offence, the court may issue a community corrections order in the place of a fine or imprisonment term.


    • ✔ Preventing Public meetings

    It is a criminal act under section 20 of the Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) to intentionally prevent or enter any activity that will contain a public meeting. It is an offence that incurs as much as ten penalty units or six months imprisonment.


    • ✔ False advertisements

    It is an offensive act under section 21 of the Act to publish any misleading and untrue information about;

    • A child is supposed to be born but not,
    • Lie about a person’s death,
    • Funeral for a person who still lives,
    • Marital status of two people,
    • Employments of a person

    Where any of these events are untrue and misleading to the public. It is an offence that incurs as much as ten penalty units or six months imprisonment


    • ✔ Throwing things at a sporting event

    It is an offence for a person to throw or send a missile in a public space or event that may;

    • Injure a person,
    • Damage the property,
    • Disrupt the event

    It is an offence that incurs as much as ten penalty units or six months imprisonment under the law.

    Will an Offensive Behaviour Offence in Queensland show up on a criminal background check certificate?

    If an individual is found guilty of an offensive behaviour offence in Queensland (QLD), the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their criminal history check.

    Individuals can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

    Sources

    Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2005-004

    Summary Offenses Act 2005 (Qld) (Austlii References) - http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/soa2005189/

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