Use carriage service to menace

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What is Use carriage service to menace ?

Use carriage service to menace occurs when a person uses guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy to menace, harass or cause offence. In layman terms, this refers to emails, text messages and calls and social media communications. This list however is not exhaustive and as this offence such is given quite a broad definition which covers most electronic communications.

Some examples of using carriage service to menace include:

  • Continual or constant phone calls, texts or Facebook messages; or
  • Threats to cause harm to that person or another person or their property, offensive language or offensive topic of discussion.

Case law/Jurisdiction

An offence of use carriage service to menace is a Commonwealth offence which means it can be dealt with both in the Local Court or on election on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the higher courts (District or Supreme).

“Harass” typically means to trouble or annoy by a repeated course of conduct. However, a single telephone call may be harassment depending on the contents of the words uttered, or the time and circumstances in which the call was made even if words were not uttered.

“Menace” means to cause a normally courageous person to feel apprehensive for their safety because of the call or calls. It isn’t necessary for a call to threaten actual harm for it to be menacing. Nor is it necessary for the communication to be made directly to the person menaced. As long as the caller intends the communication to be communicated to the ultimate recipient, it is enough. Plead guilty.

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The Law

The offence of “using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence,” is a Commonwealth offence and is contained in section 474.17 the Criminal Code Act 1995 (CTH) which states: “a person is guilty of an offence if:

  • The person uses a carriage service; and
  • The person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.”

National Criminal Lawyers Parramatta have had hundreds of successful results with clients who have been charged with Using a Carriage Service to Menace, Harrass and Cause Offence including successful applications where the police had to pay for our clients legal fees.

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Use Carriage Service to Menace is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Use Carriage Service to Menace

To establish Use Carriage Service to Menace, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

That you:

  • Used a carriage service; and

In a way that would cause a reasonable person to feel menaced, harassed or offended.

If you are charged with the offence of Use carriage service to menace what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending hundreds of Use Carriage Service to Menace charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Use Carriage Service to Menace. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Use Carriage Service to Menace charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Use Carriage Service to Menace:

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that the prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

For your Best Criminal Lawyers Sydney, look no further and contact us for your first FREE consultation with the Best Criminal Lawyers.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence. Our Criminal Defence Lawyers Sydney will first obtain instructions from our clients before advising on a plea of guilty. If a defence at law exists, our firm will ensure that the best Criminal Lawyers Sydney will fight your case with full vigour.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

Use Carriage Service to Menace can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 3 years (If heard in the District Court).

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended hundreds of people charged with Use Carriage Service to Menace and are experts at these hearings.


It is a defence under section 473.5 of the Criminal Code if a carrier, carriage service provider, internet service provider or internet content host is engaging in such conduct solely in their capacity as such.

For a list of all other defences, please visit our dedicated defences page.


The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green [2011] HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:

“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.

For Use Carriage Service to Menace 35% of offenders received a SECT 20(1)(a) Recognizance order which is a good behaviour under the Commonwealth Crimes Act.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a contravene AVO charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine; and/or
  • Section 10

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalties will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine; and/or
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

For more information about Penalties a NSW Court can impose, please contact your go to Sydney Criminal Lawyers for a first FREE consultation.

Case Studies

The alleged victim complained to police about being intimidated, harassed and threatened by text messages however the texts related to non-threating messages regarding the victim being late in dropping off and picking up their child as per the Family Court Custody orders. The Court meticulously went through all the text messages and ultimately was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that our clients conduct amounted to intimidation, and therefore dismissed the charge of use carriage service to menace.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Use Carriage Service to Menace offence our Team at National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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