JJ Blog Content 3 MAR 2023

The Different Types of Assault Charges in Australia and How Assault Lawyers Can Help You

Assault charges are some of the most serious charges that one can face in Australia. An assault conviction can have long-lasting consequences that may affect your personal and professional life for years to come. It is important to understand the different types of assault charges that exist in Australia and how an assault lawyer can help you navigate the legal system.

Types of Assault in Australia

Common Assault

Common assault is the most basic form of assault charge in Australia. It involves intentionally or recklessly causing another person to fear immediate physical harm. Common assault can also include physical contact that does not result in serious injury, such as pushing, slapping or spitting on a person.

In Australia, the penalties for common assault can vary depending on the state in which the offence occurs. The court will consider a number of factors when determining the appropriate punishment for the offender, including:

  • the severity of the offence, 
  • the extent of harm caused to the victim and 
  • the offender’s past criminal history.

The maximum penalty for common assault is two years imprisonment.

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH)

AOABH is a more serious form of assault that involves causing physical harm to another person. This can include cuts, bruises and broken bones, and the injuries must be more than transient or trifling. Other examples of AOABH are serious blows and hitting with a weapon

The offence of causing ‘serious’ bodily harm requires evidence that the victim has suffered significant harm. Typically, the court will request a medical report detailing the extent of the injury or other evidence demonstrating that the harm resulted in the victim being unable to work or experiencing partial invalidation.

The severity of a case of assault in Australia will determine which court has jurisdiction over the matter. For minor cases, the matter may be handled in the Local Court, where the offender may face a maximum prison term of 2 years and a fine of $5,500. 

For more serious cases, the matter may be referred to a District Court, where the maximum penalty for offenders is 5 years imprisonment. However, if the offence was committed with another person, the maximum prison term increases to 7 years.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

GBH is the most serious form of assault charge in Australia. It involves intentionally or recklessly causing serious bodily harm to another person, without their consent. Serious harm or injury can include injuries, such as broken bones, disfigurement, losing an organ, serious bleeding or permanent disability.

Under Australian law, convictions for this form of assault can carry significant penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment. 

Unlawful Wounding

A wound is defined as a break or division of the whole skin and can include injuries, such as cuts, stabs or abrasions. If an offence does not result in bleeding or penetration of the outer skin, it cannot be classified as unlawful wounding under Australian law. In such cases, the court will typically require medical evidence of injury or bleeding resulting from the assault.  

Typically, cases of unlawful wounding are handled in the District Court, where offenders may face a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a criminal offence under the law in Australia. It involves any unwanted sexual behaviour or contact that occurs without the explicit and informed consent of the other person. 

Sexual assault can involve a range of behaviours, from unwanted touching or kissing to rape. Forceful sexual intercourse, penetration or rape is the most severe form of sexual assault, and it carries significant penalties under Australian law.

These types of cases are typically heard in a District Court and can result in a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. If a weapon is used to threaten or further assault the victim while in company with others, the court may impose an even more severe penalty, including life imprisonment. 

Does an Assault Victim Need a Lawyer?

Whether an assault victim in Australia needs a lawyer depends on the specific circumstances of the case. If the assault resulted in serious physical harm or emotional trauma, the victim may want to consider seeking legal advice to determine their options for seeking compensation or justice.

In cases where the perpetrator has been charged with assault, the victim may want to get the assistance of a lawyer to help them understand their rights and options throughout the legal process. The lawyer can provide advice and representation to help the victim navigate the criminal justice system, understand the charges against the perpetrator and ensure that their voice is heard during court proceedings.

In cases where the perpetrator has not been charged with assault, the victim may still benefit from consulting with a lawyer to understand their options for seeking justice or compensation through civil legal channels.

How Assault Lawyers Can Help You

Understanding the different types of assault charges in Australia is essential for anyone facing an assault charge. Assault charges can range from common assault to more serious charges such as aggravated assault or sexual assault. An experienced assault lawyer can help you understand the specific charge you are facing and the potential consequences. 

Assault lawyers are criminal defence lawyers who specialise in representing clients who have been charged with assault offences. They have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Assault lawyers can help you in a number of ways, including:

  • Explaining the charges against you and the potential penalties you may face.
  • Developing a strong defence strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
  • Representing you in court and negotiating with prosecutors to reduce charges or penalties.
  • Providing emotional support and guidance throughout the legal process.

Assault charges in Australia can vary in severity and can have serious consequences. You need to understand the different types of assault charges and seek the assistance of an assault lawyer if you have been charged with any of these offences. 

At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, we specialise in criminal defence law and are committed to providing you with the best possible legal representation. Our experienced team of lawyers has a proven track record of success and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you with your legal needs.