Trespass Charges in Queensland

Trespass Charges in Queensland

Aitken Whyte Lawyers Sunshine Coast


The Offence of Trespass

How Serious Is An Offence Of Trespass?

In Queensland, the law divides criminal offences into different classes depending on the level of seriousness of the offence. Several pieces of legislation cover most of Queensland’s crimes and offences. These are:

  • the Criminal Code;
  • the Drugs Misuse Act; and
  • the Summary Offences Act.

Trespass is a summary offence found under the Summary Offences Act. This means that it is an offence of an objectively lower level of seriousness. A charge of trespass will ordinarily be finalised in the Magistrates Court.

Despite this being the case, many still view a criminal conviction seriously, regardless of the conviction being for an offence of a summary nature.

What Does The Law Consider Trespassing?

The law states that:

A person must not unlawfully enter, or remain in, a dwelling or the yard for a dwelling.

A dwelling can include:

  • houses;
  • an apartment block;
  • a boat; or
  • a caravan.

This law also applies to a place used for a business purpose, including an office or a retail shop.

Penalty for Trespass

An offence against this section can result in a maximum penalty of a fine of approximately $2,660, or 1 year’s imprisonment.

Recent sentencing trends between 2015 and 2019 in the Magistrates Court highlight the most common penalty for an offence of trespass is a fine.

However, these statistics also show that an offence of this nature can also frequently result in the Court recording a criminal conviction on an offender’s history.

Other penalties the Court can impose include:

  • a good behaviour bond;
  • probation;
  • community service; or
  • imprisonment.

However, the most likely penalty is entirely dependent on an offender’s personal circumstances.

To understand what the most likely penalty for a trespass charge will be in your circumstances, you can contact our office to speak directly with a criminal defence lawyer.

Will I Have To Go To Court If I Am Charged With Trespassing?


While the police can deal with certain summary offences covered under the Summary Offences Act by way of a ticket or infringement notice instead of commencing prosecution and having the offender appear in Court, at the discretion of the police officer, this is not the case for a trespass charge.

If the police charge you with trespass, the matter must be set down before a Magistrate.

Even though a charge of trespass may not seem as “serious” as other charges, it is important to have proper representation any time you need to appear before a Court, as the outcome may have implications on your future.


Defences to Trespass

You may have prospects of success for defending a charge of trespass if you can prove that:

  • you were not on the property that is subject to the charge; or
  • you had authorisation or a lawful excuse to be on the property.


Even if one of the above defences does not apply to your situation, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to negotiate with the police or with the person or business who complained of the trespass.

We have experience successfully negotiating to have trespass charges discontinued.

To discuss your trespass charge including any defence that may be available to you, contact our Criminal Defence Team on 07 5408 0655 .


Appearing In Court – Here To Help

Proper experience appearing before the Court is essential. Aitken Whyte Lawyers are focused on results. Our criminal defence team will advise you on the proper course to take to speak with the police, prepare for Court, and achieve the best possible outcome.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers can assist you with all criminal matters.

If you want to know more about criminal law and offences, or speak to a solicitor about your situation and get advice and representation, call us on 07 5408 0655 .

Office Location and Contact Details

Sunshine Coast

Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558
Ph: +617 5408 0655
Fax: +617 3211 9311
Email Us


Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558

T: 07 5408 0655

Email Us


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Lawyers for Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Buderim, Noosa, Nambour and Caloundra, Queensland, Australia.