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Understanding Assault Charges

Unfortunately, assault is one of the most common crimes committed in Queensland. 

Charges relating to assault, physical injury or even the threat of injury are taken very seriously by the Police and the Court and these charges can often carry significant penalties including imprisonment, lengthy periods of probation and/or community service.

There are several offences relating to assault charges, in this article we will give you a brief overview of some of the assault offences available under Queensland Legislation. 

Assault under Queensland Legislation (Section 245 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899) is defined as follows:

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.

For clarity 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.

Common Assault

Common Assault is deemed to be when a person 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 implicit consent.

It also includes when a person makes 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.

The maximum penalty for the offence of Common Assault is 3 years imprisonment.

Grievous Bodily Harm

This is one of the most serious offences of assault. Any person who unlawfully does grievous bodily harm to another is guilty of a crime.

grievous bodily harm means—

  1. the loss of a distinct part or an organ of the body; or
  2. serious disfigurement; or
  3. any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life, or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health;

whether or not treatment is or could have been available.

The Maximum penalty for the offence ofGrievous Bodily Harm is 14 years imprisonment.

Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm

Any person who unlawfully assaults another and thereby does him bodily harm is guilty of an offence.

The maximum penalty for the offence of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm is 7 years imprisonment.

If the accused however does bodily harm and is or pretends to be armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument or is in the company with 1 or more other person or persons, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

Unlawful Wounding

Any person who unlawfully wounds another; or unlawfully, and with intent to injure or annoy any person, causes any poison or other noxious thing to be administered to, or taken by, any person; is liable to serve up to 7 years imprisonment.

For ‘wounding’ to occur the true skin must be broken. This means that the injury sustained as a result of the offence must be an injury which breaks the skin. 

Affray & Riot

The offences of Affray and Riot are viewed as serious offences in Queensland. 

These charges are normally brought where there has been a public disturbance, for example a fight in a public place. However, an affray can also occur within a private setting such as a person’s home.

The maximum penalty of the offence of affray is 1 year’s imprisonment.

For the offence of riot the maximum penalty varies from life to 3 years imprisonment depending on the circumstances alleged by Police. 

Assault and Domestic Violence

A domestic violence order is an order made by the Court that includes conditions that restrain, restrict and prohibit the behaviour of the respondent to prevent further domestic violence.

The Act allows the Court to make a domestic violence order against a respondent if the Court is satisfied that:

  • The respondent has committed an act of domestic violence against the aggrieved
  • The respondent is likely to commit an act of domestic violence again
  • If the act of domestic violence was a threat, that the respondent is likely to carry out the threat.
  • A Domestic Violence order can protect the aggrieved and relatives and associates of the aggrieved who are named in the order.

A Domestic Violence order is a civil order and not a criminal matter. However, a respondent who breaches or disobeys the order commits a criminal offence. If the breach of the order is one of violence, then the penalties can be significant. It should be noted however that just because a breach of a domestic violence order doesn’t involve actual violence doesn’t mean that the Court doesn’t view it as serious and terms of imprisonment are often imposed for breaches which do not contain allegations of actual violence.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Charged With Assault?

Seek the advice of an expert Criminal Lawyer. Under Queensland law a term of imprisonment is usually a sentence of last resort unless mandated by legislation or in relation to offences of assault and violence. Terms of imprisonment are often sought by prosecuting authorities in matters which an assault of any form is alleged to have occurred.  

With offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, the team at Howden Saggers Lawyers appear in Court every day. We know the Magistrates; we understand the procedures. We have a great relationship with many Barristers at the Queensland Bar. We understand how the Courts work. We understand the pressures that you may feel in having to go to Court. 

We also believe that legal fees shouldn’t break the bank and for that reason we are quite often able to undertake matters on the basis of a fixed fee. This means you will know exactly how much your matter will cost.

Howden Saggers Lawyers is also a Preferred Supplier for Legal Aid Queensland. This means that we are able to undertake matters funded by Legal Aid Queensland as long as you meet the required eligibility criteria.

At Howden Saggers Lawyers our lawyers appear in Court every day, we understand that procedures, we know the law, we get the results.

We are on your side.