Destroying or damaging property

Information about the criminal charge of destroying or damaging property.

Destroying or damaging property is a criminal offence. If you are charged with destroying or damaging property, you will need to go to court.

Most destroy or damage property cases are heard in the Local Court. If the damage caused cost less than $2,000, the maximum penalty in the Local Court for destroying or damaging property is 2 years imprisonment and a $2,200 fine.

Higher penalties apply if:

  • the damage was over $2,000
  • you are charged with more serious types of destroying or damaging property, for example, destroying property with explosives, or
  • your case goes to the District Court. 

At court you will need to tell the court if you are pleading guilty or not guilty. You might have other options too, like negotiating with the police, or making a Section 14 application (a mental health application).

If you plead ‘not guilty’, the police will need to provide you with all the evidence they have against you before the hearing date.

If there is video evidence, such as CCTV footage, you might be able to view this at the police station before you enter a plea at court. You will need to speak to police to arrange this.

For more information on going to court, see Going to court

If you have been charged with destroying or damaging property, you should get legal advice.

If you are charged with destroying or damaging property, police will need to prove:

  • you destroyed or damaged property
  • that property belonged to someone else (including if it belonged to you and someone else jointly)
  • you were intentional or reckless about whether your actions might damage or destroy property.