Dishonest Dealings with Documents Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

  • for a basic offence: 10 years’ imprisonment
  • for an aggravated offence: 15 years’ imprisonment

Possible Defences

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

What Is The Charge of Dishonest Dealings with Documents?

If you intentionally falsify a document and/or use a false document to deceive another then you may be guilty of an offence [Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 140]. Common examples include doctoring bank statements or mortgage documents, falsifying medical prescriptions, and sometimes statutory declarations (this is also an offence under the Oaths Act 1936 (SA) and is therefore a person can be charged under that act instead).

What Is The Penalty For Dishonest Dealings with Documents?

The maximum penalties for dishonest dealings with documents are:

  • for a basic offence: 10 years’ imprisonment
  • for an aggravated offence: 15 years’ imprisonment

Whether the offence is aggravated depends on whether offence occurred under certain aggravating circumstances. These are listed in s 5AA in Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA). They include (but are not limited to) factors such as whether to offence was committed:

  • against a victim under the age of 12 or over the age of 60;
  • against a victim who had a particular relationship to the offender (e.g., a child, spouse or domestic partner);
  • in association with a criminal organisation;
  • whilst the offender was in a position of authority or trust;
  • against a victim who was in a position of vulnerability because of physical disability or cognitive impairment.

What Are The Possible Defences For Dishonest Dealings with Documents?

It may be a defence to the charge that you:

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

What The Prosecution Must Prove

  • You dishonestly engaged in conduct with the intention of:
    • deceiving another, or people generally, or to facilitate deception of another, or people generally, by someone else; OR
    • to exploit the ignorance of another, or the ignorance of
    • people generally, about the true state of affairs; OR
    • to manipulate a machine or to facilitate manipulation of a machine by someone else;
  • By engaging in the conduct you benefited yourself or another, or caused a detriment to another.

In relation to this offence, to ‘engage in conduct’ means to:

  • create a document that is false;
  • falsify a document;
  • have possession of a document knowing it to be false;
  • produce, publish or use a document knowing it to be false;
  • destroy, conceal or suppress a document.

In relation to this offence, a document is false if the document gives a misleading impression about:

  • the nature, validity or effect of the document;
  • any fact (such as, for example, the identity, capacity or official position of an apparent signatory to the document) on which its validity or effect may be dependent;
  • the existence or terms of a transaction to which the document appears to relate.

Case Studies For Similar Offences

We have defended thousands of criminal cases over many decades and constantly achieve outstanding results for our clients. Please view our results by clicking the cases below:

Fraud

Fraud

Reference: 1400268

Deception

Deception

Reference: 1400789

Centrelink Fraud

Centrelink Fraud

Reference: 1600629

Need help?
Just get in touch.

Call us on (08) 8110 7900 to make an appointment with one of the knowledgeable lawyers for assistance with your matter.