Most criminal offences are charged under state legislation, primarily the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). However, there are some offences which are charged under commonwealth (or federal) legislation, primarily the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
Common examples of commonwealth offences are using a telecommunication service to harass or menace, using the internet to access or distribute child exploitation material, importing prohibited substances or items into Australia, social security fraud and computer hacking.
Commonwealth offences are dealt with pursuant to a completely different legislative framework and this affects the structure and even type of sentences that are available to the courts. For example, whereas the non-recording of a conviction for offences under the state legislation is not unusual the starting point under the commonwealth legislation is that a conviction will be recorded.
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