The offence of goods in custody is committed if a person has anything in their custody which may reasonably be suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
The maximum penalty if the goods are a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part is imprisonment for 12 months and/or a fine of $1100.
Maximum penalty if the goods are anything else is imprisonment for 6 months and/or a fine of $550
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What the prosecution must prove
The magistrate must first determine whether there is a reasonable suspicion that the goods were stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained. This suspicion must attach to the goods and not to the accused person.
The offence may be made out if the prosecution establish that the goods were otherwise unlawfully obtained. For example goods purchased with money obtained from the sale of drugs.
The Crimes Act provides that it is a defence to the charge if the accused person satisfies the magistrate that he or she had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the property was stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
What sentence will I receive?
The magistrate will consider a range of matters before passing sentence. This will include whether there was a plea of guilty, the circumstances of the offence, the value of the property, any criminal history of the offender as well as the subjective circumstances of the offender.
It is possible to avoid a criminal conviction for this type of offence, but this will depend on a number of factors. Contact one of our criminal lawyers for free advice, on (02) 9025 9888.