Participating In a Criminal Group
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Participating in a criminal group is a rarely laid criminal charge.
When it is charged, it is often charged as a lessor charge than another charge that is laid against an accused person. Sometimes as a ‘back up’ charge.
Plead not guilty
In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You knew or ought to reasonably have known that you participated in a criminal group; and
- You knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that your participation in that group contributed to the occurrence of any criminal activity.
If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.
It is important to note, in considering this offence, how the law defines a criminal group. A criminal group according to the Crimes Act is a group of 3 or more people who have as their objectives or one of their objectives is:
a) obtaining material benefits from conduct that constitutes a serious indictable offence; or
b) obtaining material benefits from conduct engaged in outside New South Wales (including outside Australia) that, if it occurred in New South Wales, would constitute a serious indictable offence; or
c) committing serious violence offences; or
d) engaging in conduct outside New South Wales (including outside Australia) that, if it occurred in New South Wales, would constitute a serious violence offence.
If the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.
If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.
The offence of participate in criminal group carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment in the District Court.
Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are: