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Police & Criminal Law

On this page

State Case Lists

A daily list of the cases to be heard in these State Courts. The list is updated late in the day if you wish to check the list for the following day.

Types of Crime

Summary Offences

  • Charges are tried by a magistrate in the Magistrates Court
  • Less serious offences than those tried by a judge and jury ("indictable offences")
  • Penalties are less severe
  • You cannot insist on a jury trial
  • Proceedings for a summary offence must be started within 6 months of the alleged offence

Examples of Summary Offences are drink driving, offensive conduct or language

Indictable Offences

  • Charges are tried by a judge and jury
  • Serious charges such as murder are tried in the Supreme Court
  • There is no time limit for when charges must be laid for an indictable offence

Examples of Indictable Offences are murder, robbery, malicious wounding and dangerous driving.

Your Rights, Criminal Law Basics

  1. You are innocent until proven guilty.
  2. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  3. Silence can rarely be used to suggest guilt.
  4. A person who has been acquitted cannot be tried again for the same offence. (the double jeopardy rule)
  5. A person charged with a summary offence may ask the police for further details of the charges (for example; where, when and how the police claim the offence occurred).
  6. If the police fail to provide these details, then the Court must either adjourn the charge until they are supplied, or dismiss the charge.
  7. A request for particulars should be made in writing at least 14 days before the hearing.

Common Types of Crimes


Can include threats (real) of violence or where a victim is struck without their consent. More serious kinds of assault carry bigger penalties.


Can include instances where you find something and keep it, "borrowing" money without consent, receiving stolen property and obtaining money or goods by false pretences (usually telling lies).

A person charged with shoplifting can be searched by a police officer.

Store staff who believe on reasonable grounds that somebody has stolen from the store can detain the suspect until the police arrive.

Shoplifting is usually punished by a fine, but repeated offences may lead to a jail sentence.

Need Advice From A Lawyer?

If you have been served with a summons or have been requested to attend a police station for any reason, it is best you seek advice from a lawyer.

It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible - don't leave it to the last minute.

Smart Guy Needs a Lawyer

Smart Guy Needs a Lawyer is a publication aimed at young people who may need to attend court or see a lawyer. It explains how young people should choose a lawyer and what to expect when they see them.

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Acts, Regulations, Rules & Forms

Are you looking for detailed information like this, or contact details for any of the bodies mentioned on this page. If so, then start on our Criminal Law for Lawyers page.

If it isn't there, then start on our Finding Detailed Legal Information page.

Please read our warning on that page "Be careful using these resources".

The Law is not always as straightforward as it appears. We have not included any information about when and how to use that information or any traps. We assume that the Lawyers will know this.

Help Us Improve

Please give us feedback about your experiences using Foolkit and ideas for improvements.


Have you been a Victim Of Crime?

Victims of Crime Service (VOC) is a free support service for Victims of Crime and the families of victims. Their support includes information about what is going to happen in the legal system, referral for counselling, support in Court and administration of financial compensation..

You may also have other legal rights against the offender. For this you will need to see a lawyer.

Avoiding Trouble

  • If the police suspect you of having committed an offence, do not consent or agree for the police to do anything without speaking to your lawyer first.
  • The same applies to answering questions, participating in a record of interview or appearing in an identification parade. You must though give your name and address and, in some cases, information about the identity of the driver/owner of a vehicle.
  • When the police say they just want to ask a couple of questions to eliminate you from their enquiries or to clear something up - that is often not what they really have in mind.
  • The Prosecutor decides whether to drop criminal charges, not the victim.
  • Be polite and respectful of the police.
  • If stopped by the police, stay calm and in control of your words, body language, and emotions.
  • Don't resist a police officer, even if you think you are innocent.

Police Check

A National Criminal History Record Check or a 'police check' provides a summary of a person's criminal history. It is sometimes requested by organisations as one part of their process to ensure the integrity of their staff or volunteers.

Application Forms Fees apply.

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On the Spot and Court Fines

On the spot fines / infringement notices for things like parking and traffic offences, public transport offences, littering or drinking in a public place must be paid within 28 days of the date the infringement notice is issued.

When a fine is imposed in Court, there is often discussion as to how much time is required to pay. If there is special arrangement, then the fine must be paid within 28 days of the date you appeared in Court.

The Monetary Penalties Enforcement Service has information on extending time for payment of Infringement Notices and Court Fines.

There is also the option of converting a fine into a Community Service Order.

Here is a list of fines and demerit points for the most common Traffic Infringement Notice Offences..

Tasmania Police

Emergency 000
Police Assistance Line and general enquiries:
131 444
Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000

General Enquiries:

Telephone: (03) 6230 2111
Fax:     (03) 6230 2414

Hobart Headquarters

43 Liverpool St
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: (03) 6230 2375
Prosecution: (03) 62302458

Launceston Headquarters

Cimitiere St
Launceston TAS 7250
Phone: (03) 6336 3701

Bellerive Headquarters

40 Bligh St
Bellerive TAS 7018
Phone: (03) 6230 2899

Burnie Headquarters

88 Wilson St
Burnie TAS 7320
Phone: (03) 6434 5211

Police Station Address List

Prisons and Prisoners

Contact Details for Prisons on the Tasmania Prison Service web site of includes information on visiting times.

There are also pages on contacting prisoners and prison life.

Appearing In Court

  • When required to attend Court, you should dress appropriately.
  • Men should wear a suit and tie if possible, and ladies, a smart suit or dress. Work uniforms should be avoided, if possible. Shorts, jeans, thongs, slacks and short dresses should be avoided at all costs.
  • Arrive at Court on time. Plan your arrival in advance, allowing extra time for public transport delays, or traffic problems. Aim to arrive at least ten (10) minutes early and inform the Court official in the foyer of the Court of your arrival, especially if you are representing yourself (i.e. you do not have a lawyer).
  • Loud talking or whispering whilst court is in session is unacceptable
  • Turn off your mobile phones and/or pager before entering Court premises
  • You must always show respect to the judicial officer at all times. Judicial officers are addressed as "Your Honour".
  • You should bow slightly upon entering, and leaving a Court when it is in session (see how the lawyers and staff do it).

We also suggest that you have a look at Going to Court (TASMANIAN) - refer to the index in the left margin and Information on attending Children's Court.

Jury Duty

Supreme Court Jurors Page answers all the frequently asked questions and gives detailed instructions as to what you must do.

General Information

There is no online legal handbook for Tasmania. The Law Handbook Online for South Australia is excellent, up-to-date and easy to use.

While we caution about using any legal material from interstate, it can be useful to get a feel for a legal topic to see how the Law works in South Australia. This at least will give you a general understanding of how lawyers and the Courts approach a legal problem. You can then start to look for information on the Law as it applies in Tasmania.

WARNING: Information from interstate web sites should not be relied upon without legal advice. The law and courts often vary a lot between States.

Applying for Legal Aid

Quick simple advice (for example, do I need to see a lawyer?) can be answered over the telephone at 1300 366 611.

Legal Aid also conducts clinics with 10 minute appointments on Family Law and Criminal Law issues for people who are eligible for Legal Aid. (As a rough guide, if you hold a Health Care Card then you may be eligible).

For more than this, it is necessary to make an appointment to see a Lawyer. You can choose your own private lawyer or you can ask Legal Aid to choose a lawyer for you.

If you see a private lawyer they can discuss with you whether you are likely to be eligible for legal aid, assist with the application and explain the legal aid system to you.


Often it can be hard to understand why a penalty seems to be too light or too hard when we read or hear about it in the media.

Judge for yourself: A Guide to Sentencing in Australia explains in plain English what goes on in the background in deciding the appropriate sentence.

What factors does the court take into account? How much discretion does the judicial officer have? To what extent is the discretion limited? Why is a particular penalty chosen? Why a non-custodial sentence rather than imprisonment? Why a minimum sentence of three years for a bashing rather than, say, ten years? Is the sentence going to be effective? How will we know?

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Character references

A character reference helps to show the court that people in your daily life think highly of you and that you are a person of good character.

It shows the court that you have good qualities, are not likely to offend again if given a second chance and that a more lenient penalty (sentence) may be appropriate.

  • Character and other references (Note: discuss any special reasons why a conviction should not be recorded. This is similar to a "spent conviction order" referred to in this WA article)