Introduction

The purpose of this section is to set out the most common offences dealt with, and orders made by, the Local Court under New South Wales Acts and regulations.

There are two types of offences dealt with in the Local Court — summary offences and indictable offences dealt with summarily.

The maximum penalties that the Local Court may impose for these offences under particular Acts and regulations are set out in the penalties tables below. A number of Acts contain provisions that set maximum penalties that may be imposed by the Local Court. Where as a consequence of the application of such a provision, a penalty is lower than that provided for under the particular offence provision, an asterisk appears next to the penalty and there is a reference to the limiting provision below the penalties table.

Indictable offences

Subject to any law or practice that provides for an indictable offence to be dealt with summarily, indictable offences are punishable by information (an indictment) in the Supreme Court or the District Court, on behalf of the Crown, in the name of the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions: s 8 Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (CP Act).

Where the penalty for an indictable offence is a term of imprisonment only, a court may impose a fine not exceeding 1000 pu on an offender whom it convicts on indictment and the fine may be imposed in addition to, or instead of, any other penalty that may be imposed for the offence: ss 15(2), (3) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

In many instances, indictable offences may be dealt with summarily. For the purposes of comparison, in a number of the penalties tables below the maximum penalties for offences dealt with on indictment have been included in square brackets below the maximum penalty for those offences which may be dealt with summarily.

Summary offences

A summary offence is an offence that is not an indictable offence: s 3 CP Act. Subject to a contrary provision, an offence that is permitted or required to be dealt with summarily is to be dealt with by the Local Court: s 7(1).

The following offences must be dealt with summarily (s 6):

  • an offence that under this or any other Act is required to be dealt with summarily

  • an offence that under this or any other Act is described as a summary offence

  • an offence for which the maximum penalty that may be imposed is not, and does not include, imprisonment for more than 2 years, excluding the following offences:

    • an offence that under any other Act is required or permitted to be dealt with on indictment

    • an offence listed in Table 1 or 2 to Schedule 1.

Time limit

Subject to the provisions of any other Act which specify another period within which proceedings for summary offences may be instituted, such proceedings must be commenced not later than 6 months from when the offence was alleged to have been committed: s 179 CP Act.

Indictable offences dealt with summarily

Chapter 5 CP Act requires that the indictable offences listed in Tables 1 and 2 of Sch 1 CP Act be dealt with summarily by the Local Court unless:

  • in the case of Table 1 offences — the prosecuting authority or person charged elects to have the offence dealt with on indictment

  • in the case of Table 2 offences — the prosecuting authority elects to have the offence dealt with on indictment: s 260 CP Act.

Section 259 CP Act provides that all the offences listed in Tables 1 and 2 are indictable offences, subject to the provisions in Ch 5.

Time limit

There is no time limit for offences dealt with summarily under Ch 5: s 270 CP Act.

Table 1 offences

Section 267 CP Act prescribes the maximum penalty that may be imposed for an indictable offence listed in Table 1 dealt with summarily under Ch 5 in any case where the maximum penalty (when the offence is dealt with summarily) is not provided for:

  • the maximum term of imprisonment is 2 years or the maximum term provided by law for the specific offence, whichever is the shorter term: s 267(2)

  • the maximum fine is 100 pu or the maximum fine provided by law for the specific offence, whichever is the smaller fine: s 267(3)

  • instead of imposing a term of imprisonment, the Local Court may impose a fine not exceeding 100 pu for a Table 1 offence in any case where a fine is not otherwise provided by law for the offence: s 267(5)

  • any option provided by law to impose a term of imprisonment, or a fine, or both continues to apply: s 267(6).

The maximum penalty the Local Court may impose for:

  • attempting to commit an offence

  • being an accessory before or after the act

  • aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence that is a misdemeanour

  • conspiring to commit an offence

  • inciting the commission of an offence

is the same as the Local Court may impose for the offence concerned: s 267(4B) CP Act.

Table 1 offences are included in the penalties tables below.

Table 2 offences

Section 268 prescribes the maximum penalty that may be imposed for an indictable offence listed in Table 2 dealt with summarily under Ch 5 in any case where the maximum penalty (when the offence is dealt with summarily) is not provided by law:

  • the maximum term of imprisonment is, subject to this section, 2 years or the maximum term of imprisonment provided by law for the offence, whichever is the shorter term: s 268(1A)

  • maximum fines which the Local Court may impose for a range of offences under particular Acts are set out: s 268(2).

  • a fine may be imposed as referred to in s 268(2) for an offence in addition to or instead of any term of imprisonment that may be imposed by law for the offence: s 268(2A)

The maximum penalty the Local Court may impose for:

  • attempting to commit an offence

  • being an accessory before or after the act

  • aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence that is a misdemeanour

  • conspiring to commit an offence

  • inciting the commission of an offence

is the same as the Local Court may impose for the offence concerned: s 268(2A) CP Act.

Table 2 offences are indicated in the penalties tables below under the relevant provision.