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Public Order Offences

This section deals with offences that you can be charged with for behaviour in a public place that affects or is likely have an affect on other people in a way that could harm, endanger, embarrass or offend, disrupt or annoy other people.

The police have a legal duty to uphold the public ‘peace’, which means they have to take action to stop the law being broken and to restore public order.  

Most of the offences that are known as public order offences are listed under the Summary Offences Act 2005 Queensland 

Local councils also make laws about behaviour that affects the public in their areas, such as:

  • by-laws that ban alcohol in some public places
  • laws about busking
  • fining owners who fail to pick up after their dogs
  • fining people who park in designated areas without a permit.

Penalties for public order offences range from fines to jail sentences, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
Laws about behaviour in public are mostly concerned with keeping order or keeping the peace. These laws relate to things like:

Begging In a Public Place

What the law says - Sections 8 of the Summary Offences Act

A person must not

  • beg for money or goods in a public place
  • cause, procure or encourage a child to beg for money or goods in a public place; or
  • solicit donations of money or goods in a public place.

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Begging in a Public Place is 10 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

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Being Drunk in a Public Place

What the law says - Sections 10 0f the Summary Offences Act Queensland

A person must not be drunk in a public place.
Maximum penalty-2 penalty units.

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Graffiti Instrument

What the law says - Sections 17 of the Summary Offences Act Queensland

A person must not possess a graffiti instrument that-

  • is reasonably suspected of having been used for graffiti; or
  • is being used for graffiti; or
  • is reasonably suspected of being about to be used for graffiti.

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Graffiti Instrument is 20 penalty units or 1 year's imprisonment.

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Imposition

What the law says - Sections 22 of the Summary Offences Act Queensland

  • A person must not impose or attempt to impose on another person to obtain money or an advantage.
  • A person imposes or attempts to impose on another person if the person
  • makes an oral or written representation that is false or fraudulent with intent to obtain money or an advantage from the other person; or
  • by dress, apparel or otherwise, fraudulently seeks to obtain money or an advantage from the other person.

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Imposition is 20 penalty units or 1 years imprisonment

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Loitering

It is an offence for someone who is known to be a thief or known to have committed drug-related offences to loiter (hang around) in a public place that is known to be associated with drug-related crimes. The police must prove that the person was in the place with the intention of committing an indictable (serious) offence.

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Public Nuisance

What the law says - Sections 6 of the Summary Offences Act Queensland

A person must not commit a public nuisance offence
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Public Nuisance is 10 penalty unt is or 6 months imprisonment.

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Sale of Potentially Harmful Things

What the law says - Sections 23 of the Summary Offences Act

A person (the Seller) must not sell a potentially harmful thing to another person if the seller knows or believes, on reasonable grounds, that the other person-

  • intends to inhale or ingest the thing; or
  • intends to sell the thing to another person for inhalation or ingestion whether by that person or someone else.

In this section

Potentially harmful thing

  • means a thing a person may lawfully possess that is or contains a substance that may be harmful to a person if ingested or inhaled ( examples include glue, paint, solvent); and
  • includes mentholated spirits; and
  • does not include a thing intended by its manufacturer to be inhaled, or ingested by a person using it.

Sell includes

  • sell by wholesale, retail or action; and
  • supply in trade or commerce or under an arrangement; and
  • agree, attempt or offer to sell; and
  • keep or expose for sale; and
  • cause or permit to be sold.

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Sale of Potentially Harmful Things

  • for the first offence - 25 penalty units or 3 months imprisonment.
  • For the second or later offence - 50 penalty units or 1 year imprisonment.

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Threatening Violence

What the law says - Sections 75 of the Criminal Code Queensland

  • Any person who Maximum penalty-2 years imprisonment.
  • with intent to intimidate or annoy any person, by words or conduct the threatens to enter or damage a dwelling or other premises; or
  • with intent to alarm any person, discharges loaded firearms or does any other act that is likely to cause any person in the vicinity to fear bodily harm to any person or damage to property commits a crime
  • If the offence is committed in the night the offender is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

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Throwing Things at a Sporting Event

What the law says - Sections 24 of the Summary Offences Act Queensland

(1) A person at a sporting event must not throw or propel an object that may

  • injure a person; or
  • damage property; or
  • disrupt the event.

Subsection (1) does not apply to a person actually participating in a sporting event who throws or propels an object the person ordinarily throws or propels as part of the sporting event.

It also does not apply to a person who is a spectator at a sporting event who returns an object ordinarily used in the sporting event to a person actually participating in the sporting event in a way not intended to contravene subsection (1).

Maximum penalty—10 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

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Trespassing

What the law says - Sections 11 0f the Summary Offences Act Queensland

  • A person must not unlawfully enter, or remain in, a dwelling or the yard of a dwelling.
  • A person must not unlawfully enter, or remain in, a place used as a yard for, or a place used for business.
  • This section does not prevent an authorised industrial officer entering a workplace in accordance with the terms of the person's appointment as an authorised industrial officer.

See the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, section 391A for safeguards applying to starting proceedings for particular offences in this division.

Maximum penalty—20 penalty units or 1 year's imprisonment.

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Use of Motor Vehicle

What the law says - Sections 25 of the Summary Offences Act 

A person must not

  • unlawfully use a vehicle without the consent of the person in lawful possession of the vehicle; or
  • have a vehicle in the person's possession without the consent of the person in lawful possession of it (the other person) with intent to temporarily or permanently  deprive the other person of the use or possession of the vehicle.

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Use of Motor Vehicle is 20 penalty points or 1 years imprisonment. 

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