Dishonesty – s 135.1 Commonwealth Criminal Code
Charged with a commonwealth offence of dishonesty is a stressful experience. Our Sydney team of experienced criminal lawyers specialise in fraud offences, and have proven their clients innocence in some of the most complex fraud trials in Australia. They specialise in getting fraud charges dropped early, and have done so many times for over 20 years in avoiding a criminal conviction and prison.
Your Options in Court
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
You can only be guilty of a commonwealth dishonesty offence if police can prove each of the following elements of the charge:
If charged with s135.1(1) or (3) Commonwealth Criminal Code:
- You obtained a gain from a commonwealth entity or caused a loss to a commonwealth entity i.e. Centrelink;
- You intended to obtain the gain or cause the loss
- This was caused by you doing something;
- At the time of doing it, you were dishonest
If charged with s135.1(5) Commonwealth Criminal Code:
- You caused a loss or caused a risk of loss to a commonwealth entity i.e. Centrelink;
- You were dishonest, in other words ordinary people would consider your actions to be dishonest, and you knew your actions were dishonest.
- At the time, you either believed a loss would occur, or at least knew there was a substantial risk of the loss occurring;
You will be found not guilty and the fraud charge dismissed in court if police are unable to prove each of the above elements to the charge beyond reasonable doubt.
Defences to this charge
You will be Not Guilty if:
- Honest and reasonable mistake of fact: Where you honestly believed you were allowed or entitled to do what you did that caused the loss or gain, and that belief was reasonable to have held in the circumstances.
- You either didn’t know your actions would cause you obtaining a gain or a loss, or you didn’t even know there was a substantial risk of it occurring by your actions.
- You did not obtain a gain or cause a loss.
- Your actions did not cause the gain or loss
- Duress or Necessity. i.e. Your life was threatened, which caused you to take the actions you did causing the gain or loss.
You will be not guilty and your charge dismissed if any one of those defences apply to your case. Our senior lawyers specialise in fraud cases and focus on getting charges dropped early. Speak to them now on how to strengthen your best defence early in your case.
If you decide to plead guilty to a commonwealth offence of dishonesty, see below for extremely useful tips on how to best prepare and present your case to maximise your chances at avoiding prison and a criminal conviction.
25% discount on punishment
Pleading guilty to an offence of dishonesty at the earliest time in your case requires the Judge to give you a discount of up to 25% on your punishment. This results in a much lighter punishment and better court outcome. This discount gets smaller and smaller the later you enter the plea of guilty.
To avoid missing out on the discount towards a better result in court, it’s very important to get experienced advice as early as possible in your case by a lawyer specialising in fraud offences.
Good character references
Good character reference Letters are often from a charity, employer or colleague, family and friend. It can include a letter from you too. Each one should express your good character, your insight into the offence, remorse and your shame. The Judge reading it can then allow further leniency which often results in a better outcome in court.
Our senior lawyers will review each reference letter, they will guide you through the process to ensure its done properly before handing it to the Judge to read.
Negotiate to drop charges
You can negotiate with police to drop your fraud charge early in the case by getting an experienced specialist fraud lawyer to analyse the police evidence, pick the holes in it, and use this to convince police to drop the charge.
Our experienced expert fraud lawyers have successfully convinced police, DPP and ASIC to drop their clients charges countless times over 20 years. As specialists in getting charges dropped early, they know how to maximise your chances at getting this done.
The set of police facts is often drafted initially by police. It’s often therefore one sided, and expresses what you did, how much worth of money was involved and how you committed the offence that you plead guilty to. The Judge reading this will likely give you a heavier punishment. By negotiating this document, you can change the set of facts to make it more favourable to you, putting you in a much better light to the Judge reading it. This often results in a much lighter punishment in court.
Our senior lawyers have a proven record of success in negotiating the set of police facts, and achieving exceptionally lenient outcomes for their clients.
Your court outcome can be significantly improved with a much lighter punishment by getting a powerful court report from a highly respected specialist psychologist or psychiatrist. Your specialist fraud lawyer should ensure that the psychologist or psychiatrist is asked to express opinions on your state of mind, your remorse and insight to maximise your chances at getting the best possible outcome.
Our senior lawyers use only the top, most respected and experienced psychologists and psychiatrists best suited to your case for drafting a court report.
The maximum punishment for an offence of dishonesty under the commonwealth law is a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years.
The maximum punishment is reserved for only the most serious offenders, and is rarely ever given. Below are other types of punishment option available for a Judge.
Types of punishment
The Judge can give you any one of the following types of punishment, depending on the above tips and the way you prepare and represent your case:
- Section 10 non conviction
- Section 9 good behaviour bond
- Community Service Order
- Section 12 suspended sentence
- Intensive Corrections Order
- Home Detention
- Full Time Imprisonment
Speak to an experienced lawyer who specialises in fraud offence cases to maximise your chances at getting the best possible court outcome. No stone should be “un-turned” by the end of your case to secure a great outcome. Speak to one of our Sydney fraud specialist lawyers for realistic and practical advice now.