Assault charges are considered a serious offence in Queensland.
They are a class of offence which encompasses a range of incidents which involve the use, or threat, of physical force against another person.
If you’ve found yourself facing assault charges in Qld, it is important to understand what this means and to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Here’s everything you need to know:
What is Assault?
Assault is defined in section 245 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). It can involve actual physical force, or an attempt or threat to apply actual force without the other person’s permission.
The Criminal Code provides the following definitions for assault:
- 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.
- (2) In this section— 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.
What Are the Different Types of Assault?
There are many different types of assault. Each type carries differing penalties, dependant on how serious the assault charges are. All of the major types of the assault charges you are likely to encounter and their maximum penalties are listed below:
This is the most common of the assault charges heard by Queensland courts. It is also the least serious, and generally come about when the victim suffers minor injuries, or no injuries at all.
Typically, these assault charges arise out of minor disputes where a situation has advanced to a brawl, or where the offender has threatened violence.
Common assault carries a maximum term of 3 years.
Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm
This assault charge is more serious than common assault. It covers instances in which a victim suffers injuries more serious that those covered by common assault. They are injuries that cause bodily harm, and interfere with their comfort or health.
Individuals may have been hospitalised, or have had to take time off from work.
As Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm is a serious offence, it will likely result in a criminal conviction being recorded against your name. However, this is not always the case, and Guest Lawyers can advise the likelihood of you receiving a conviction and what your options are.
This offence carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment. However, if the person who committed the assault is, or pretends to be, armed with a weapon or acts in a group of people to commit the assault, this may be increased to 10 years.
Often, a serious assault is the charge someone faces when they assault a police officer, a person over the age of 60 or a disabled person.
The law states that a person may be charged with a serious assault if they:
- Assault another with an intent to commit a crime, or with the intent to prevent or resist the lawful arrest or detention of themselves or of any other persons.
- Assault, resists or wilfully obstruct a police officer while acting in the execution of their duty or any person acting in aid of a police officer.
- Unlawfully assault a person while they are performing a duty imposed on them by law.
- Assault any person in pursuance of an unlawful conspiracy.
- Unlawfully assault any person 60yrs or older.
- Unlawfully assault any person who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device.
The maximum penalty for a serious assault in Qld is 7 years imprisonment.
Unlawful Wounding Causing Grievous Bodily Harm
This is the most serious of the assault charges. An assault is considered unlawful wounding when there is breaking or penetration of the skin, resulting in bleeding.
A charge of unlawful wounding can carry a sentence of up to 7 years in jail.
Grievous bodily harm is one of the most serious assault charges a person can face.
This charge may come about when a person has been assaulted, and receives:
- the loss of a distinct part of an organ
- serious disfigurement
- any injury that if left untreated would endanger the person’s life or cause a permanent injury or ill-health.
The maximum penalty you can receive for a charge of grievous bodily harm is 14 years in prison.
Facing Assault Charges and Need Legal Assistance?
If you have found yourself facing assault charges in Qld, it is important you consult with a criminal lawyer before responding to your charges and to advise you on the likelihood of conviction.
At Guest Lawyers, we are experienced dealing with a number of assault offences, as well as other criminal offences and sex offences, and we offer free initial consultations (including in prisons). Please get in touch with us either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007.