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What Do You Need To Know If You Have Been Charged With Common Assault?

There are numerous forms of common assault charges in Australia, and the penalty varies depending on the severity of the offence. For example, even if the perpetrator has good criminal antecedents, an offender can be sentenced to an immediate jail term, and incarceration may be mandatory.

Experienced criminal lawyers, on the other hand, can assist you in formulating a defence strategy. Before we get into the specifics of ‘What Happens If You Get Charged With Common Assault,’ the following are a couple of things to remember:

What is Assault?

An Assault is an act that exposes a person to unlawful violence.

While most assaults include unwanted physical contact, an assault does not always have to be physical. All that is necessary is for the victim to anticipate physical contact. As a result, if someone lifts their fist to another person, even if the other person is not hit, it is still considered a form of assault. The distinction between “assault occasioning actual bodily harm” (and “assault” is the infliction of “actual bodily harm”.

What to do if you are charged with Common Assault?

There are several types of assault charges that you could face. Each one has its own set of consequences. These are the types:

1. Common Assault
2. Assault with intent (aggravated assault/circumstances of aggravation)
3. Assaults that result in bodily harm, as well as significant assaults
4. Sexual or Indecent Assault
5. Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)


Common Assault includes the following behaviours:

● Kicking, Punching, Slapping or Raising a fist at someone as if to strike them;
● spitting on someone else;
● Threatening to harm someone else;
● hurling something (such as a bottle) at someone else (whether or not it makes contact);
● Putting someone under a physical restraint against their consent.

What Happens If You’re Accused Of Common Assault?

If convicted, an offender could face a maximum penalty of imprisonment of up to two years imprisonment and/or fine of $5,500.

The following conditions must be shown in court without a doubt to prove that a crime linked to common Assault has been committed:

● The accused applied force on the victim in some way.
● That the accused threatened another with immediate violence and this was done.
● The accused did
● The victim was not allowed to consent to the use of force.
● It was done purposefully or carelessly.
● The law did not justify, excuse, or authorise this act.

Defences that one might use

From the other side, here is a partial list of defences that an expert criminal lawyer, such as Platinum Lawyers, might recommend to avoid or reduce the severity of any penalties:

● Self-defence
● Provocation
● Lawful chastisement (correcting a child)
● Duress
● Necessity
● Intoxication

Which Court Will Decide This Case?

Common assault matters will most likely be heard in the Local Court.


A scenario that becomes more serious than if a crime had been committed is called “circumstances of aggravation.” For example, verbal abuse escalates to a physical attack of a more severe sort during a verbal altercation. The term “circumstances of aggravation” refers to a situation in which the criminal is:

● In the company of others or armed with a weapon
● the criminal injures, humiliates, or threatens to murder the victim
● The victim is between the ages of 13 and 16.


By definition, bodily harm is a criminal offence in which one individual causes pain to the victim and interferes with their health or comfort. Bodily injury includes wounds, bruises, burns, fractures, internal bleeding, disfigurement of any body part, and anything that causes a body part to malfunction, including mental health and more.

The degree of injuries determines the distinction between a common assault and an assault inflicting bodily harm. “Bodily harm” refers to small or temporary injuries, such as minor fractures or repeated bruises.

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following elements to prove an offence of “Assault Occasioning Actial Bodily Harm”.

• That the accused committed a physical act (touching, striking or applying force to another);
• The accused did so intentionally or recklessly;
• The accused did so without lawful excuse and
• As a direct result of that physical act the victim suffered a physical injury that is more that “transient or trifling”.


There are a few unique sorts of assault offences, all of which involve physical, sexual contact with someone else who doesn’t consent, or consent out of dread, or who is legitimately viewed as unequipped for giving consent because of their experience growing up.

There are several varieties of sexual Assault that carry severe punishments, including lengthy jail sentences. “Indecent” is any statute or the Criminal Code. However, the common law (case law) considers various elements, such as whether the Assault has a sexual connotation, such as a kiss that can be construed/ perceived as more than a social greeting or touching an indecent portion of the victim’s body.

Indecent assault penalties

Except in circumstances where minimum sentences are mandated by law, such as serious Assault, judges have broad discretion in sentencing offenders and depending on the nature of the offence and the offender’s criminal history, they can impose less severe penalties than those set down in the Criminal Code. For example, fines, suspended imprisonment, immediate jail, good behaviour bonds, community service orders, and probation are possible penalties.


Grievous Bodily Harm is defined As any serious or permanent injury which causes long-term and ongoing problems for the victim.

Section 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) includes examples of grievous bodily harm including:

• The destruction of the foetus of a pregnant woman
• Any permanent or serious disfiguring
• Any grievous bodily disease such as AIDS

Broken legs, a broken jaw, a catastrophic brain injury, the permanent loss of a body component, and more are examples. While Grievous Bodily Harm charges begin in the Magistrates Court, all Grievous Bodily Harm offences in Australia will eventually be heard by the District Court.

The severity of the damage will still be judged “likely to endanger life or likely to cause permanent injury to health” even if the victim receives medical treatment and recovers completely. The defendant, in this case, cannot defend himself against the assault allegations by claiming that the victim’s life is no longer in danger.

“Could I at any point be accused of attack without proof?” is the most often asked question about GBH.

NO is the answer. You must have prima facie proof of your crime to charge you with a crime. The prosecution must show the following to prove the crime of GBH:

● That the individual filing the complaint was a victim of GBH
● The person accused by the victim committed GBH
● The act of GBH was not justified, excused, or allowed by law, nor was it illegal.

What Is The Gravity Of A Typical Assault Charge On Your Life?

A criminal record for common Assault may impact your career, housing, university education, and even military service in Australia, depending on the severity of the offence.

What Options Do You Have?

Contact Platinum Lawyers, right away and based on your case, we can assist you with all forms of assaults.

Call us at (02) 8084 2764 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

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