Burglary and Break and Enter Offences in Victoria

Burglary and Break and Enter Offences in Victoria: An Overview of Categories, Penalties, Sentencing, and Possible Defences

Burglary and break and enter offences are serious criminal offences in Victoria, Australia. These offences involve entering another person’s property without their consent and with the intention of committing a crime, usually theft, assault, or property damage. The Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) is the primary piece of legislation that governs these offences in Victoria.

Offence Categories:


Section 76 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) defines burglary as entering any building or part of a building as a trespasser with the intention of stealing anything inside, committing an offence involving assault or damage to property, or committing an offence punishable by imprisonment for a term of five years or more.

Aggravated Burglary

This is a more serious form of burglary. It is committed when a person commits burglary and is armed with an offensive weapon, explosive, or firearm, or is in the company of another person or persons, or at the time of entering or at any time while in the building or part of the building a person is present therein. Aggravated burglary is defined in Section 77 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).

Penalties and Sentencing Process

The penalties for burglary and break and enter offences in Victoria are quite severe due to the serious nature of these offences.

  1. Burglary: A person found guilty of burglary could face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
  2. Aggravated Burglary: The maximum penalty for aggravated burglary is 25 years imprisonment.

The sentencing process involves a court hearing where the prosecution and defence present their cases. The judge considers several factors such as the gravity of the offence, the offender’s criminal history, whether the offender has shown remorse, and any other mitigating or aggravating factors. The judge then decides on the appropriate sentence based on these factors.

Possible Defences

There are several defences that may be raised against charges of burglary or break and enter offences:

  1. Lack of Intent: The accused did not have the intention to commit any crime upon entering the property.
  2. Consent: The accused had permission or believed they had permission to enter the property.
  3. Identification: The accused can challenge the evidence identifying them as the person who committed the offence.
  4. Duress: The accused was forced or coerced into committing the offence.
  5. Mental Impairment: The accused was suffering from a mental impairment that affected their ability to understand the nature and quality of their conduct.

It is important to note that the success of any defence depends on the circumstances of each case and the evidence available. Therefore, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a qualified professional if faced with charges of burglary or break and enter offences.