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Assault Offences in Victoria
Assault is a serious criminal offence in Victoria, Australia.
Different charges and penalties apply depending on the specific circumstances of the assault, including the type of assault and the injuries sustained.
There are various types of assault charges in Victoria, including:
- Common assault, which is the least serious form of assault and can include any physical contact that causes another person to feel fear or apprehension.
- Aggravated assault, which is a more serious form of assault and can include offences such as assault against a child under 14 or a female, or assaults involving multiple offenders, kicking, or the use of a weapon.
- More serious assaults, which include offences such as assault with the intent to commit an indictable offence, assault against a police officer, or assault against an emergency worker.
- Intentionally or recklessly causing injury, which includes offences that cause serious injury in circumstances of gross violence.
- Threats to kill or inflict serious injury, which include offences of threatening to kill a person or threatening to inflict serious injury.
- Certain indecent assaults, which include offences of indecently assaulting another person or committing an assault or threat of assault with the intention of committing rape.
Penalties for assault charges can range from fines and/or imprisonment for up to 2 years for common assault, to life in prison for more serious offences. It’s important to note that the severity of the charges and the potential penalties will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the type of assault that is alleged.
Types of assault offences in Victoria
In Victoria, there are 4 main assault charges (excluding sexual assaults).
- “Assault” (See section 31 of the Crimes Act 1958).
- “Common Assault” (also known as unlawful assault) is found in section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966.
- “Aggravated Assault” is found at s24 of the Summary Offences Act 1966.
- “Common Law Assault” (not legislated other than by reference to the penalty at section 320 of the Crimes Act).
Frequently Asked Questions about Assault
What is common assault?
An assault is where one person either intentionally or recklessly applies force to another person. It can also be where one person intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend that force will be applied.
For example, if one person punched another person in the face, they would be guilty of an assault. If that same person pretended to punch another person in the face and made that person flinch, they would also be guilty of an assault.
In Victoria, Australia, “aggravated assault” is a term that is used to describe an assault that is considered more serious than a standard assault. The specific circumstances that can elevate an assault charge to an aggravated assault charge can vary depending on the specific case.
An example of an aggravated assault could be when a person is charged with common assault and the alleged victim is a police officer, healthcare worker or public official in the execution of their duty.
Another example is when an assault is committed in company of other person or in a public place, or if the assault is considered to be racially or sexually motivated.
It’s important to note that the severity of the charges and the potential penalties will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the type of assault that is alleged. In general, more severe forms of assault will carry harsher penalties, including longer prison sentences and higher fines.
It’s important to note that if an individual is charged with an aggravated assault, it does not necessarily mean that the person is guilty. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that an assault has occurred.
Court can be an intimidating place. There are many people involved who don’t have your best interests at heart. These include the court staff, prosecutors and magistrate. You need someone to stand up for your rights to help you achieve the best outcome.
If you choose not to hire an experienced assault lawyer, you might seriously affect your future. This could include a criminal record and a gaol sentence. We only do criminal law. Some firms are considered ‘general practice’ law firms. This means they provide a range of legal services (e.g. family law, contested wills and estate planning, personal injury, commercial, etc). But it’s usually best to hire a specialised criminal law firm.
Please contact us if you’ve been charged with assault. It’s a serious matter and we want to help you. Our criminal lawyers are experienced in representing clients charged with various assault offences.