COMMON ASSAULT CHARGES QLD
Common Assault Qld covers a wide array of acts and incidents arising. It would be the most frequent assault arising in everyday life. Merely bumping into someone could be deemed a common assault. Still, the law in Queensland does not make such incidents illegal unless intentional.
WHAT IS COMMON ASSAULT?
Common assault is found in Section 335 of the Queensland Criminal Code. Section 335 says:
(1) Any person who unlawfully assaults another is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, if no greater punishment is provided, to imprisonment for 3 years.
(2) The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, section 108B states a circumstance of aggravation for an offence against this section.
Section 108B of the Penalties and Sentences Act says:
- If the offence happened in a public place; and
- The defendant was adversely affected by an intoxicating substance;
then the Court must sentence the defendant to community service and any other penalty imposed.
To understand what common assault means, we need to look at what is an assault. Section 245 of the Queensland Criminal Code defines an assault as:
“(1) A person who strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to, the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without the other person’s consent, or with the other person’s consent if the consent is obtained by fraud, or who by any bodily act or gesture attempts or threatens to apply force of any kind to the person of another without the other person’s consent, under such circumstances that the person making the attempt or threat has actually or apparently a present ability to effect the person’s purpose, is said to assault that other person, and the act is called an assault.
(2) In this section—
applies force includes the case of applying heat, light, electrical force, gas, odour, or any other substance or thing whatever if applied in such a degree as to cause injury or personal discomfort.”
To breakdown what an assault is, it is:
- Striking, touching, or moving, or otherwise applying force of any kind to another person directly or indirectly; and
2. Without the person’s consent or the other person’s consent if it is obtained by fraud.
- By some bodily act or gesture, you attempt or threaten to apply force of any kind to another person;
2. Without the person’s consent; and
3. Under such circumstances, you actually or apparently could affect the assault.
Now we have established what an assault is, the next issue to determine is what it means for the assault to be “unlawful”. Section 246 of the Queensland Criminal Code says:
(1) An assault is unlawful and constitutes an offence unless it is authorised or justified, or excused by law.
(2) The application of force by one person to the person of another may be unlawful, although it is done with the consent of that other person.
WHAT IS THE SENTENCE FOR COMMON ASSAULT?
In Queensland, there are three types of criminal offences. These are misdemeanours, simple offences and crimes. Depending on the type of criminal offence you are charged with, this will determine the maximum penalty. Common assaults are defined in the Criminal Code as a misdemeanour.
The maximum penalty for a common assault is three years imprisonment. This doesn’t mean you will be sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. The penalty shows Magistrates and Judges the seriousness of the charge when compared to other offences.
The penalty a court imposes for common assault will vary depending on such things as:
- The harm caused to the complainant.
- If this is your first offence?
- If you have any criminal history and previous convictions for violent offences.
- If you have demonstrated remorse.
Our criminal lawyers will work with you to identify the critical features of your case to help reduce your sentence.
WHERE WILL MY CHARGE BE HEARD?
A charge of common assault will be heard in the Magistrates Court.
MAKING COMMON ASSAULT WORSE- CIRCUMSTANCES OF AGGRAVATION
In some circumstances, a person may have committed a common assault in the Criminal Code. However, because of who the complainant is or their age, this may uplift the charge to a more serious one, like “serious assault”. Examples of situations where this may occur are:
- If the complainant is 60 years old or more.
- If the complainant was a police officer or ambulance officer.
- If the complainant relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device
Suppose the charge is uplifted to a serious assault. In that case, this will result in a more significant penalty and, in some situations, jail terms.
WHAT DEFENCES ARE THERE FOR COMMON ASSAULT?
The onus is on the prosecution to prove you committed the common assault beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution’s job is to show the assault was unlawful, not authorised or excused by law. Your criminal lawyer’s job is to analyse the evidence and see if there are any defences you may have. If you can raise a defence, then the Court should not convict you of the offence. Therefore, you must seek legal advice, not just plead guilty to the charge.
- Accident- you didn’t intend, nor was it reasonably foreseeable, you would have assaulted the person.
- Self-defence- you assaulted the person because you were defending yourself.
- Self-defence of another person- you assaulted someone because you were defending someone else.
- Extraordinary emergency.
- Unwilled act.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF CHARGED WITH COMMON ASSAULT
While you may think a common assault charge is minor, it still has a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment. Not all offences have a penalty of imprisonment. Sometimes, a Magistrate or Judge could sentence a person to jail. You must get advice from a criminal lawyer who can best represent you. Don’t risk going to Court alone thinking everything will be alright.
The criminal lawyers at the Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group can:
- Let you know how serious the charge is considering the facts alleged against you.
- Tell you if there is likely to be any circumstance of aggravation alleged.
- Identify any defences open to you.
- Tell you the best direction you should take with your common assault charge.
- See if there is any way to resolve the matter outside the courts.
- Identify any mitigating factors open to you in the event you plead guilty.
If you have been charged with a common assault, get legal advice now. Please don’t sit back thinking the charge will go away or it is minor. Every criminal offence is serious and can have serious consequences for you. You need the experience of the Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group in your corner fighting for you.
If you have been charged with a common assault, get legal advice now. Please don’t sit back thinking the charge will go away or it is minor. Every criminal offence is serious and can have serious consequences for you. You need the experience of the Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group in your corner fighting for you. Pick up the phone and dial (07) 3153 6215 or fill out the form below for a free, no-obligation chat. Contacting us may be the best thing you can do.
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