Whenever the word assault is used, especially in Queensland or Brisbane, it doesn’t point to a singular action or act. Assault comprehensively includes several incidents where the offender injures someone else.
This injury or harm caused can either be mental or physical. It also includes the offender making threats, verbal or faking the act of it.
The various assault offences have different penalties based on the severity of the assault, and the defence with the assistance of a criminal lawyer Brisbane or criminal lawyer Gold Coast.
The Categories of Assault in Queensland
Here, you’d find the different types of assaults, including the definition, variations, and the maximum punishments they carry.
- Common Assault
Seen as the least severe assault, common assault charge has a 3-year imprisonment maximum penalty, and it’s mainly handled in the Magistrates Court.
This category of assault mostly occurs in Brisbane, and it begins from a minor dispute. Other penalties under common assaults are fines, community service, or a good behaviour bond.
Someone might be charged with common assault if the second party sustained only minor injuries. It can equally happen when an individual threatens to assault another.
You can be charged with common assault for behaviours like spitting on people, pointing a toy gun at someone, or assaulting someone.
Meanwhile, if you assault someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs in an open place, the offence would be considered “aggravated”. You’d serve under a community service order, plus imprisonment.
- Assault Leading to Bodily Harm
This category of assault is higher than Common Assault. It happens where the victim sustained grave or serious injuries.
In other words, it occurs when the offender causes an individual serious bodily harm (Bodily injury is an incident that can interfere with a person’s health or comfort).
Assault causing bodily harm offence mostly carries 7 years imprisonment maximum penalty, and it’s handled in the District or Magistrates Court.
The penalty might be raised to 10 years imprisonment when the person who assaulted is found or armed with any weapon. Or if the person committed the offence with one or more people.
- Grievous bodily harm or Unlawful Wounding
This category of assault is the most severe in the US, UK, and Australia. The charge happens when the offender gives the victim a penetrated or broken skin that causes bleeding.
In a case where the resultant injury is temporary, the punishment would be 7 years of imprisonment. However, a charge can get worse when the attack leads to grave disfigurement, organ function loss, a permanent injury requiring ongoing medical care, or endangering someone’s life.
The maximum punishment for this category of severe harm or assault is 14 years of imprisonment.
Things to Note Concerning Unlawful Assaults
According to criminal lawyers Gold Coast, people are often unaware that several violent actions fall under assault.
Below are some scenarios, actions, or instances you aren’t aware of that could lead to an offence:
- When you riot and engage in an unlawful assembly. Any gathering of 12 or more aiming to incite violence against others or groups is seen as an assault.
- When you kidnap or stalk people. Though you might not cause physical injury for it to be termed assault, the mental duress influenced by stalking or kidnapping means they are considered assaults.
- When you indulge in violence against vulnerable people or groups (the impaired, disabled, or elderly), it is considered grounds for raising the severity, and so you can be charged with assault.
The Defence for Assault Charges
A good defence to assault charges would mostly depend on the particular circumstances surrounding the offence.
The following are the main potential defences to an assault charge:
You can be justified to use reasonable forces to defend yourself against unlawful assaults as long as you didn’t aim to cause grave bodily harm or death.
To successfully counter this, you’d prove that you had sufficient grounds that force was used against you and that you acted in the best interest.
Your action’s reasonableness can be determined by some factors like:
- The type of threat or force used against you
- Your action in the scene
- The threat of the use of weapons
- The age, size, gender, and physical abilities of the persons in the incident
- If the force you utilised is proportional to the force being used by the aggressor.
Generally, know that the defence wouldn’t be successful if the weapon used is greater or bigger than the one utilised against you, e.g., you can’t just shoot a person trying to punch your face.
Consent can be a good defence when you’re faced with an assault charge. It rests on the main prosecutor to prove that the assaulted person didn’t consent to the use of force by the accused.
Meanwhile, the drawback of this defence is that there’s nothing like consent to bodily harm. It’s not permissible to consent to bodily harm in law.
In other words, the consent defence won’t function in circumstances where there’s an intentional use of force or weapon that created grave bodily harm.
Accidents can also be a defence mechanism when faced with an assault charge. If it’s an accident, you wouldn’t be found guilty of the criminal offence since you lack the mental stability needed to be guilty.
To raise the accident defence, you must prove that the event or incident was unforeseeable.
Provocation is used as a reasonable defence if the person charged with assault is seen to have lost control of their actions, and acted instantly. The force used must be seen as disproportionate to the incident that caused the provocation.
It’s vital to respond to assault charges only after consulting with criminal lawyers Brisbane who can guide you on the right defendant strategy.
For criminal lawyers Gold coast or Brisbane, and expert legal advice and consultation on assault charges, contact Howden Saggers Lawyers today.