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  • Offensive Behaviour Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    There are many behaviours in Victoria that are prohibited under the Victorian legislation through various laws. Most of these offences can be settled through minor fines and expiation notices unless the Police decide to prosecute the offender in a local court.

    Offensive behaviours include a whole range of disorderly and disruptive actions in Victoria. The Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) guides and describes various offences within the state of Victoria.

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

    Sentencing for Behaviour Offences in Victoria

    The Local or Magistrate court in Victoria hears all behaviour offences in Victoria unless settled by on-the-spot fines. The court may also opt against issuing sentencing in some instances, especially where they consider the crime to be minor.

    Threatening, disorderly or other abusive behaviours in Victoria

    Section 17 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) prohibits all offensive or abusive actions in a public space or towards a particular person.

    An offence under this section includes cases where the person;

    • Sings an obscene/disrespectful song, hymn or tune.
    • Draws, paints or displays an obscene figure or representation
    • Uses profane indecent or threatening abusive or insulting words,
    • Behaves in a riotous or indecent offensive manner.

    The person is guilty of an offence that incurs;

    • First Offence - Ten penalty units or two months imprisonment
    • Second Offence - 15 penalty units or three months imprisonment
    • Third Offence - 25 penalty unit or 6-month imprisonment.

    Offences against public order in Victoria

    It is an offense for a person to cause disorder or disruption while in public space or other spaces that the public can easily access. Division 1 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) describes actions that can constitute such offences as;

    Offences relating to sensible order of the town

    It is against the order of town to participate in any of these actions in a public space;

    • Burn rubbish,
    • Leave a flammable material or other such materials
    • Opens a drain or removes the path of a road without first checking with relevant authorities.

    It is also an offence in this section for a person to annoy or obstruct normal activities by;

    • Flying a kite publicly,
    • Playing a game,
    • Blocking the footpath of another
    • Does a blasting operation near a public space without first obtaining permission
    • Make an unauthorised cellar or opening from the footpath.
    • Sets of fireworks without first obtaining consent.
    • And other actions that will cause reasonable fear, worry, disruption to daily activities.

    Anyone the court finds guilty of this offence is liable to minor fines of up to 5 penalty units.

    Disobeying a Move-on Order

    The Victorian legislation authorises a Police or protective officer to issue a "move-on" direction to a person. The directions may include leaving a place and never returning for a temporal period (usually 24 hours).

    The official can impose a move-on direction for many reasons, especially where they consider the individual disruptive, endangering or likely to cause any harm to the safety of people.

    A person who disregards this move-on order in any manner is guilty of an offence that incurs five penalty units.

    Offences of personal injury or damage to property

    It is an offensive act for a person to participate intentionally or recklessly in an act that will likely cause personal injury/damage.

    Section 7 and Division 2 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) describe the actions for such offence to include;

    • Placing upon any road or footpath canal such structures that will likely cause death or injury
    • Leaves an excavation or dangerous formation near public space
    • Disregarding the maintenance or repairing of cover rail, or fence
    • Throws an offensive matter or any other animal into the waterway
    • Throws or discharge a stone to the detriment of another

    It is an offence that incurs as much as 25 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

    Wilful destruction, damage of property

    It is an offensive act for a person to destroy properties in Victoria that don't belong to them. It is an offence that incurs 25 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

    It includes cases where the person;

    • Destroys, pollutes or damages a pump/waterway
    • Being an artisan destroys or spoils other goods or works

    Wilfully damages any private or public property. And the damage done should not be more than $5000.

    It is an offence to wilfully Trespass in any place and refuses to exit the property after the legal occupier requests so. An occupier, in this case, can include any person who has legal claims over such property

    It is also an offence to breach private or public property in a manner that will breach the peace or cause reasonable apprehension.

    Defacing a property through illegal bills

    It is an offence under section 10 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) for a person to post, write or paint over;

    • Public road,
    • Bridge,
    • House building,
    • Fire-hydrant system or
    • Any other private property without the consent of the legal occupier

    Any action that defaces a property is a minor offence in Victoria that incurs 15 penalty units or up to 3 months imprisonment.

    Subsection 6 of s10 of the Act also allows the court to impose the costs of correcting/obliterating such a thing that is painted.

    Public lighting of fires

    Section 11 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) prohibits all open and illegal lighting of fires. It states that a person must not light or use a fire in the open air or carry any flammable material around.

    It is also an offensive act for a person to leave the charge of a light fire without designating another person.

    It is an offence that incurs as much as 25 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

    Such an offence may also lead to an Arson offence in Victoria.

    Offences of Drunkenness in Victoria

    There are various offences relating to the il behaviours of people intoxicated by an alcoholic substance or other liquors under the law.

    Persons found drunk

    Section 13 of the Act makes it criminal for a person to be found drunk in a public place. It is an offence that incurs as much as eight penalty units.

    Being drunk and disorderly

    A person will be guilty of an offence if they are drunk and disorderly in a public place. It is an offence that incurs as much as;

    • 20 penalty units or three days imprisonment under the law for first-time offenders
    • 20 penalty units or 1-month imprisonment for subsequent offenders

    Sexual exposure offences in Victoria

    It is an offence for a person to expose any part of their genitals or intend to commit such a crime. It also includes where such offence is sexual or the exposure is within the view of public space.

    A person guilty of this offence under this subsection is guilty of a crime that incurs as much as two years imprisonment (Level 7 imprisonment).

    Improper behaviour in a refreshment house

    It is a criminal act for a person to conduct themselves disorderly in a place where liquors or other refreshments are sold. It includes all improper conduct and unhealthy behaviours a person executes in a gaming premise.

    An offence under section 20 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) that attracts fines of up to 5 penalty units for first-time offenders. Subsequent offences of this kind incur about three months imprisonment term.

    Disturbing religious worship

    Section 21 of the Act considers a person guilty of an offence if they wilfully or unlawfully;

    • Disturb a meeting or religious gathering,
    • Assaults anyone or the person officiating such gatherings,
    • Cause meaningful disturbance to anyone in such gatherings

    It is an offence that incurs as much as 15 penalty units or three months imprisonment.

    Police entry into a premises on a public premis

    Victorian legislation permits the Police to enter into a building/premises at any time as long as it is on a public premise. It is an offence to needlessly delay a Police officer or other necessary official to enter public properties.

    It is an offence that incurs as much as one penalty unit.

    Common Assault in Victoria

    Assault offences in Victoria are a serious offensive act. Common Assault is an offence that incurs as much as 15 penalty units or three months imprisonment. It is an offence as described in section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).

    Aggravated Assault

    It is an offence with aggravated nature if the accused person causes severe harm or where the victim is;

    • Less than 14 years of age
    • The offence is greater than that for a common assault

    It is an offence that incurs as much as 25 penalty units in fines and six months imprisonment.

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

    If an individual is found guilty of an offensive behaviour offence in Victoria (Vic), 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.

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