Strong Defence to Common Assault Charges
Common assault is any involving unauthorised touching or any act that causes another to fear for their immediate physical safety.
It is an offence under section 61 of the NSW Crimes Act which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a $2,200 fine.
It can be dealt with in the Local or District Court.
The maximum penalty in the Local Court is 12 months imprisonment.
To prove a common assault, the police must show that you intended or were reckless as to whether you would touch or cause fear to the other person.
Example of common assault may include shouting at someone in anger and causing them to fear for their safety, raising a fist in anger, throwing an item, spitting, pushing, punching, kicking, pinching, squeezing or other unauthorised touching.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you don’t agree that you committed the assault, it is important for your assault lawyer to fight for the case to be dropped.
This can be achieved by:
- Obtaining any statements and materials that support your case,
- Writing and advising the prosecution of inconsistencies and other weaknesses in the case against you,
- Advising the prosecution that you have a valid defence, and
- Pressing for the withdrawal of the case.
If the prosecution refuses, your criminal lawyer should be experienced at winning assault cases similar to yours.
Your lawyer can advise you if any of the following defences apply:
This is when you are defending yourself, another person or property from an aggressor or thief.
For example, when you grab, push or hit someone back after they attack you or another person, or grabbing someone’s hand when their trying to steal from you.
However, your response must be reasonable in the circumstance.
This is when you are in an emergency situation and commit the alleged offence to get away.
For example, pushing members of the public aside when you’re running away from an attacker.
This is when you are forced to commit the offence.
For example, if someone tells you to punch someone otherwise they will significantly hurt or kill you.
However, you must have a genuine belief that you will be hurt and there must be no other reasonable way out of the situation.
If you wish to plead guilty, any of the following penalties may apply to common assault:
This means that you are guilty but the court does not impose a criminal conviction upon you.
The court will look a range of matters when deciding whether to grant a ‘section 10’ – including the incident itself, the lead-up to the incident, your general character and your personal circumstances.
You will have a reasonable possibility of achieving a section 10 for a common assault case if you have no previous convictions, have obtained character references about your general character and if a criminal conviction may impact upon your future.
This means that you will have to pay a sum of money.
You will need to pay the fine within 28 days unless you apply at the court office for extra time to pay.
Good behaviour bond
This means that you cannot commit any further offences for the duration of the bond.
The bond may have additional conditions, such as seeing a Community Corrections officer and complying with their directions.
Community service order
This means that you must undertake a specific number of hours of unpaid work over a 12 month period.
The maximum is 500 hours.
Intensive correction order
This means that you come under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and are required to undertake 32 hours of community service work per month.
You may also be required to undertake rehabilitation programs, attend conferences and be subjected to urinalysis and monitoring.
Intensive correction orders can last up to 2 years.
This means that you must generally stay at home for the duration of your sentence, subject to exclusions such as approved work or attending medical appointments or counselling.
Home detention orders can last up to 18 months.
This is when you are sentenced to a period of imprisonment, but are not actually sent to prison as long you comply with any conditions and do not commit any further offences.
Suspended sentences can last up to 2 years.
Full time prison
This is when you are sent to gaol.
It is rare that someone would be sent to gaol for common assault if it is their first offence.
Full time imprisonment can only be imposed if no other alternative is appropriate in the circumstances.
Call our experienced criminal lawyers today for a free first appointment where we can discuss your common assault case and advise you of the best way forward.
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