How Can You Be Defended On Assault Charges?

February 23, 2023

Defending assaults can be complicated and requires excellent attention to detail and conviction. The cases are often tricky, and an intelligent analysis by lawyers is the best mode of defence you should adopt for optimal outcomes.

Is assault a criminal offence? How can you defend yourself? What traits should you look for in a criminal lawyer before hiring them to protect you? Read on to learn more about defence against assault charges.

Is Assault a Criminal Offence?

Yes, assault is considered a criminal offense in Australia. It is an offense under the criminal law in every state and territory of Australia. 

Assault involves the intentional or reckless use of force against another person, or the threat of such force, without the person’s consent. Depending on the severity of the offense, assault charges can result in a range of penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The penalties and specific elements of the offense can also vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the assault.

What Are the Different Assault Charges and Their Penalties?

Assault charges vary with the degree of harm caused and the circumstances which prompted it. The main classes of penalties are listed below:

  • Common Assault

This is the least serious form of assault in Australia. It involves the intentional or reckless application of force or the threat of force against another person. Penalties vary depending on the state or territory, but typically include fines, community service and/or imprisonment for up to two years.

  • Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)

ABH refers to intentional or reckless infliction of physical harm on another person. Penalties for ABH also vary depending on the state or territory, but can include imprisonment for up to five years.

  • Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

This involves causing serious injury to another person, including permanent disfigurement or disability. Penalties for GBH can range from imprisonment for up to 10 years to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the injury and other factors.

  • Reckless or Intentional Wounding

When someone intentionally or recklessly causes a wound, such as by using a weapon, it is considered reckless or intentional wounding. Similar to GBH, penalties for this offense can also range from imprisonment for up to 10 years to life imprisonment.

  • Assault with Intent to Commit a Serious Offense

Assaulting someone with the intention of committing a more serious offense, such as sexual assault or robbery, can mean imprisonment for up to 25 years.

It’s important to note that the above penalties are maximum penalties and can vary based on the circumstances of each case. Additionally, some states and territories in Australia have specific laws regarding assault on certain individuals, such as police officers or emergency workers, which can result in harsher penalties.

What Are Your Options in Court?

In general, there are several ways that a person accused of assault can be defended in Australia. These include:

  • Self-defense: If the accused acted in self-defense, their actions may be considered justifiable and not constitute an offense.
  • Lack of intent: If the accused did not have the intention to commit an assault or cause harm to another person, they may have a valid defense against the charges.
  • Consent: If the alleged victim consented to the behavior that led to the assault charge, the accused may have a defense against the charges.
  • Mental impairment: If the accused suffered from a mental impairment at the time of the offense, they may have a defense if they were not aware of their actions or could not control their behavior.
  • Identification issues: If there are issues with the identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the alleged assault, they may have a defense against the charges.

The two main routes you can take while pleading your case in court are the following:

  • Pleading Guilty

This approach revolves around the minimisation of penalties decided for an assault case whose proof makes it concrete. This approach is adopted when there is no difficulty in proving a non-guilty case. It helps you minimise the penalty and demonstrate the circumstances that prompted the assault.

  • Pleading Not Guilty

The standard approach taken is pleading not guilty. A not-guilty plea is often successful if there is not enough evidence against you or if you can provide an alibi. Assistance from an experienced lawyer is crucial for this plea to be granted, especially in cases where the assault has caused harm.

What Traits Should You Look for in Criminal Lawyers?

Here are the main traits you should focus on while hiring a lawyer to defend you in court:

  • Licence and experience

When choosing a criminal lawyer, it’s important to ensure they are licensed to ensure credibility in their services. A lawyer with more experience in the field will likely make better decisions and have a greater chance of swaying the judge in your favour. 

  • Focus on your case

The attention to detail and use of the events you have described to help you plead a convincing case is possible only with criminal lawyers who are invested in the process. Choosing lawyers who spend time with your case and bring out favourable outcomes is vital.

  • Constant communication

The lawyer services you hire should not keep you in the dark about any proceeding in the case. Keeping you up to date about the strategies and verifying facts with you is important to making a convincing case in court. Choose criminal lawyers who can communicate effectively and help you with doubts about all aspects of the case.

  • Fee charged

Choosing criminal lawyers within your budget is equally important as the quality of services. While some lawyers have a good track record, they may charge large sums of money, which may sometimes be comparable with the penalty. Setting a reasonable budget for your legal needs is vital before you search for lawyers for your case.

Mardini Defence Lawyers: Defending You

Mardini Defence Lawyers has a team of experienced lawyers to help you plead your case in court. With vast experience in various forms of charges, our lawyers guide you through the entire process and make the court proceedings easier. We thoroughly investigate your case and ensure you get the best judgements. 

Call us on 0412 719 705 for a free initial consultation.

Get in touch with us

If you are facing a criminal charge, we urge you to contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation. No case is too big or too small.

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