Public Nuisance



Public Nuisance

It is an offence under s6 of the Summary Offences Act to commit a public nuisance offence. The purpose of this offence is to ensure that members of the public can lawfully pass through and use public places without interference from acts of nuisance from others.

A person can be found guilty of a public nuisance offence if they behave in either a disorderly, offensive, threatening, or violent way and that the persons behaviour interferes or is likely to interfere with the peaceful passage through or enjoyment of a public place by a member of the public.

Examples of behaving in an offensive manner would be using offensive, obscene, indecent or abusive language. It is not necessary for a complaint to be made about the behaviour of the person before a police officer may start a proceeding.

The maximum penalty is 10 penalty units (one penalty unit = $154.80 as of 1 July 2023) or 6 months imprisonment. Some examples of public nuisance offences are;

  • Nude Sunbathing on beach;
  • Possessing a knife in a public place without a reasonable excuse; and obstructing a police officer;
  • Yelling and screaming whilst being intoxicated in a public place.

Urinating in public

Section 7 of the Summary Offences act makes it an offence to urinate in a public place. To be found guilty of this offence it is only necessary that there was liquid seen to be discharged from the vicinity of the person’s pelvic area. The definition of public place does not include a facility in a public place that is designed to be used as a toilet.  The maximum penalty for urinating in public is 2 penalty units.

Being drunk in a public place

Section 7 of the Summary Offences act makes it an offence to be drunk in a public place.  The maximum penalty for being drunk in a public place is 2 penalty units.

Office Location and Contact Details


Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane
2/414 Upper Roma Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Ph: 07 3229 4459
Fax: +617 3211 9311