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When can I be convicted of a criminal offence?

Note this page was last reviewed in 2009 and may not be current. Please send us a Lawmail if you need specific information or advice -


IMPORTANT: The NT has very heavy sentences for property offences, including imprisonment in many cases. It is very important to talk to a lawyer before talking to the police about any criminal offences.

You can only be convicted of a criminal offence if you are over 10 years old. If you are between 10 and 14, you cannot be convicted of a criminal offence unless there is evidence which says that you knew what you did was seriously wrong when you did it.

Will I get a criminal record?

A criminal record may affect your ability to get a job or travel overseas.

Whether you get a criminal record or not depends on whether a conviction is recorded against you. A Court may give you a penalty without recording a conviction. It is up to the Court to decide whether you will get a criminal record or not. The Court will take into account the seriousness of the offence, your age and maturity, your health and other factors when it decides whether to record a conviction against you or not.

Will I have to go to the Juvenile Court?

The Juvenile Court deals with young people under 17 who are charged with criminal offences. The Juvenile Court is not closed to the public like Children's Courts in other States of Australia and is held in the same court as adult legal matters. If you are 17 or over at the time you allegedly commit an offence, you will be dealt with by the Magistrates Court which deals with adult matters.

In some cases a police officer may chose to give you a caution, rather than charging you. Your parent or guardian must be with you when a caution is given.


Last updated in 2009

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