Assault Charges

Charged with assault? You need a quality lawyer to plead your case

Assault Charges

If you have been charged with assault, you need quality representation and a strategic defence strategy to obtain the best possible outcome.


Common assault can cover a range of actions and injuries. An assault usually involves the application of force of some kind to another person, or the threat of it, without consent and without lawful excuse. While the majority of assault charges involve unwanted physical contact, a charge can be made where there is no actual physical contact. All it requires it that the victim apprehends physical contact – for example if a person raises a fist to another person or spits on another person.

For a person to be found guilty of common assault, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • that the accused applied physical force to another person; or
  • that the accused threatened another with immediate violence; and this was done;
  • intentionally or recklessly; and
  • without the person’s consent.

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Case law defines actual bodily harm as an injury that is “more than merely transient or fleeting.” Commonly, scratches and/or bruises are deemed to amount to actual bodily harm. However, temporary redness from a slap or punch that fades within an hour would typically not meet this definition. On occasion (but rarely), serious psychological injuries have been found to fulfil the definition. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is governed by section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 and is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. 

Actual bodily harm is any hurt or injury that interferes with the health or comfort of a person. Wounding involves the breaking or cutting of both layers of the skin. For a person to be found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • that the accused applied physical force to another person either by hitting, striking or some other action; and
  • this was done internationally or recklessly; and
  • it caused actual bodily harm to the other person; and
  • it was done without lawful excuse.

Grievous bodily harm means really serious bodily injury, that results in any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person.

How you will be sentenced depends upon the nature of the injury caused to the victim, the degree of violence used or ferocity of the attack and the intention with which the offender inflicts harm.

What can I do?

If you have been charged with an assault offence, engaging a professional lawyer with highly developed advocacy skills could mean the difference between facing a maximum 2 years imprisonment for common assault or a maximum of 5 years for AOABH or 7 years if the offence is committed in company.  

If you would like more information on your particular situation, or are just unsure of what to do, contact our criminal and traffic lawyer for a free initial 15 minute telephone conversation.

Why choose us

Our criminal and traffic lawyer will provide you with honest, up-front advice that considers your full circumstances.

  • Over 30 years of Court experience
  • Friendly, approachable and compassionate
  • Experience in Local Courts, District Courts, and the Supreme Court
  • Affordable fees
  • Convenient locations – Belmont, Warners Bay and Newcastle

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