Top 4 most common charges at Schoolies in Byron Bay

schoolies Byron Bay legal help

Underage drinking

To buy alcohol, or supply alcohol to a minor, is an offence.

If you are a minor (under 18) and caught buying alcohol, you will be fined (at least $220) or forced to face a court (where you could be fined $2,200).

The bottle-shop, and the person, at the shop, selling you the alcohol may also be fined. That is why it’s not in their best interest to sell you alcohol.

Using fake ID is also an offence.

Drinking alcohol at a private house can be lawful, if your parents have permitted it, and you are supervised by a ‘responsible’ adult.  But the person who gave you the alcohol to drink may still have committed an offence.  Even at a private house party, if a minor is very drunk, or very young, or given too much alcohol, then their parent, or the supervising adult, can be taken to court.

It’s illegal to drink in a public place (eg beach, park) – whether you’re a minor or not.

Drug possession

The NSW Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act keeps the local police busy during schoolies!  Just one or two pills, a joint, or as little as the remnants of a gram in the bottom of a baggie, can see you charged with a drug possession offence.  Fines, and a permanent drug conviction on your record, are highly likely if you end up in the Byron Bay or Tweed Local Court.  (Gaol is possible too, especially if you’ve been caught a few times).

Disorderly conduct offences:

Being a public nuisance, making excessive noise, offensive language, abusive or insulting behaviour, being abusive to others, smashing bottles…there is a raft of non-violent offences that usually stem from excessive alcohol consumption.  Some are considered minor and result in an on-the-spot fine, while others (particularly if the minor offence is one of several offences with which the person is charged), will see you sober-up, and come before the Tweed or Byron local court explaining the situation and hoping for a minor sentence.


People get drunk and get into fights – it happens every year. Schoolies, toolies, regular punters and venue security… clash in the most ugly of circumstances. If charged and convicted, an assault will stay on your record as a criminal offence.  Assaults come in 3 types: (i) common assault (pushing, shoving, minor assaults); (ii) assault occasioning actual bodily harm (bites, punches, scratches, kicking, shoving and injuring) –these are more serious than common assault; and (iii) assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (broken bones, more serious injuries involving loss of blood, head injuries)….the more serious the assault, the more likely gaol will be a consequence – especially if alcohol or drugs are involved, and/or it’s not your first offence.

Don’t forget, there may be a defence to an assault, such as self-defence.  It’s beyond the scope of this blog, but it’s often a viable defence.

This is NOT legal advice.  This is designed to take some of the mystery out of the law for ‘google-lawyers’.  I repeat – it is not legal advice.  But we hope it helps.

If you want us to represent you, the Local Court Lawyers are experts in all local court matters. We work on the north coast: Coffs, Grafton, Lismore, Kyogle, MacLean, Ballina, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah or Tweed local courts.

This is NOT legal advice.  I repeat – it is not legal advice.  But we hope it helps you have a great schoolies.

We’ve got a 24/7 hotline during Schoolies: 0413 310 008

If you need a Lawyer and want us to represent you, the Local Court Lawyers are experts in all local court matters. We come to you, anywhere in NSW, but our head office is on the north coast: Coffs HarbourGraftonMacLeanBallinaByron BayMullumbimbyMurwillumbah or Tweed local courts.

See What We Do as Local Court Lawyers


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