A quick guide to assault charges In NSW.
Assault is a crime. In this article, we’ll talk about two of the most common forms of assault to give you an insight into how it works.
But the most important thing to know is that, whether you’ve been the victim or the perpetrator, it’s important to get specialist legal advice.
What is an assault?
If you intentionally or recklessly inflict or threaten to inflict physical force (violence) on another person, that is assault.
- Common assault: This is when someone commits an assault – say, they hit, spit, throw something, or threaten to harm someone – but causes no injury or bodily harm.
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm: This is where an assault occurs and the attack results in injury and/or harm. Whether the injury is permanent or temporary is not relevant.
Both of these are criminal offences and are subject to prosecution.
What if I have committed assault?
Did you know that if you’re charged with an offence, you’ll have a criminal record? So the first thing is to make sure you have the right legal guidance – CM Law can work with you and guide you through the process.
Common assault carries a maximum prison sentence of two years or a fine of $2,200.
The best outcome is a dismissal of the charges without conviction, criminal record, or penalties. This is known as a Section 10 and requires strong legal representation.
If dismissal doesn’t work, the person who’s been charged could receive a number of penalties – these will depend on the type and severity of the penalty.
- A fine, determined by the magistrate.
- A community service order. This involves undertaking unpaid work or attendance at a course that is designed to correct the behaviours. Defendants must be assessed by a probation officer to be eligible for a community service order.
- A good behaviour bond. The magistrate determines the period of this bond, up to five years, the defendant must display what the court considers to be good behaviour. Violation of this can result in other harsher penalties.
- A suspended sentence. The defendant will receive a prison sentence. This sentence is suspended if the defendant can live up to the conditions of a good behaviour bond. If they meet the bond conditions for the period specified the sentence is not carried out.
- An intensive correction order. This is a sentence of two years or less which is served in the community under the strict supervision of Community Corrections.
- The court can order the defendant to comply with a number of conditions, which include:
- Attending Counselling
- Not Consuming Alcohol
- Complying with a curfew
- Performing Community Service
This sentencing option has replaced periodic detention.
- A prison sentence. Depending on the severity of the charges, a common assault defendant can face up to two years in a correctional facility.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm carries similar penalties, however, the maximum possible prison sentence increases to seven years.
What will the police do?
Police will need to provide evidence that the defendant did assault you, either intentionally or recklessly. In addition, they’ll need to prove there was no lawful excuse, such as self-defence, and that the alleged victim (the plaintiff) wasn’t consenting, for example playing a contact sport with the defendant.
If you’ve inflicted force on another person, but have done so to protect yourself from harm or protect another person from being harmed, you could be deemed to be acting in self-defence.
If a defendant claims self-defence, police must provide evidence showing they didn’t believe they were defending themselves or someone else, or that they used unreasonable force in their defence.
What if I have been a victim?
If you’ve been a victim of assault and want to press charges, then you’ll be a part of the investigation. As the plaintiff, you’re within your rights to have legal counsel.
If things have gotten out of control and you’ve been the victim of assault or are facing criminal assault charges, the solicitors at CM Lawyers will support and guide you through the process to achieve the best outcome possible. Contact Us Now, if you need legal help!
If you or a loved one is in an abusive situation and need immediate guidance, contact 1800Respect.