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Public nuisance

It’s easy to go out on a weekend, have a little too much alcohol, and ultimately be charged with public nuisance. Please keep in mind that you can be charged if you commit the following behaviour in a public place:

  • Public nuisance offences (this includes; swearing, threatening behaviour or even just being loud);
  • Urinating in a public place (this does not include using public toilets);
  • Beg for money or goods in a public place (this does not apply if you are registered to ask for donations to a charity);
  • Expose your genitals in a public place or in a place where your genitals can be seen from a public place; and
  • Be intoxicated in a public place.

Police officers are able to issue infringement notices for the above offences. You can receive an on-the-spot fine or even be arrested for public nuisance offences. If you are issued a fine, police officers will also issue you a ‘Public Nuisance Ticket Information Sheet’ which provides information for payment, court election and accessing any relevant court diversion programs and community support networks. Although there is no conviction recorded for an on-the-spot fine, the police can keep a record of the fine being issued and this can be later used in court.

If you opt to pay the fine, then you are not required to attend court, and no criminal history is recorded. Alternatively, if you disagree with the infringement notice, than you may wish to have your matter dealt with in court. If you do attend court, the Magistrate will use their discretion if a conviction is recorded and if any another penalty is imposed.

In the alternative, if you are not issued with an on-the-spot fine, a police officer may just ask you to leave the public place and not return within a reasonable time (usually no more than 24 hours) if they reasonably suspect that your presence or behaviour is:

  • Causing anxiety to someone (as long as this anxiety is reasonable in the circumstances);
  • Interfering with a trade or business (such as you are getting in the way of people entering or exiting the place);
  • Disrupting an event or gathering where you are; or
  • Disorderly, indecent, offensive or threatening to someone else.

If a police officer asks you to leave the place you are, they must explain why you are being told to leave. If you don’t obey the police officers directions than you are breaking the law and they may issue you an infringement notice.

If you are charged with any of the above offences please contact our office for free advice. While these offences might seem minor, they can really impact a person’s criminal history, and therefore travel plans and future employment.

 

Written by Solicitor Dave Garratt LLB (Hons), Grad Dip LP