According to the Regulatory Offences Act 1985, shoplifting is a regulatory offence and occurs when an individual steals any goods or property from a shop or store. A regulatory offence is a minor offence under law wherein the damaged goods or property’s value stolen or shoplifted is less than a specific dollar amount.
What Exactly are Regulatory Offences?
Under the Regulatory Offences Act 1985, there are three kinds of regulatory offences. These include:
- The illegal deal of shop goods or property worth $150 or less. This involves shoplifting, swapping out price tags, drinking or eating in the shop and not paying, and crossing out prices or removing the price tags.
- The unlawful damage to goods or property costing $250 or less.
- Leaving hotels or restaurants and failing to pay for accommodation, services, goods, or drinks and food worth $150 or less. This involves using an unauthorised credit card and/or bad cheques or simply leaving without paying.
The Magistrates Court handle regulatory offences, and if you’ve been charged with one, you can’t just request that your case goes to higher court. The great news is that you can’t be jailed for a minor offence. According to Connolly Suthers, one of the top criminal lawyers in Townsville however, in case you get convicted, this conviction would show up in your criminal history.
He adds that the police could likewise charge you with more severe offences such as stealing, wilful damage, or fraud instead of one of the three regulatory offences mentioned above. Aside from this, you could be penalised with hefty fines and jail time.
Other Critical Things to Keep in Mind
If you have been charged with any offence, you must request that the police give you a copy of the QP9 or Queensland Police form, which is a summary containing the police’s version of the incident that led you being charged. You must obtain this form before seeking legal help so that your lawyer would know what happened exactly and how he or she could build a solid defence for your case.