Assault Charge Lawyer in Tweed Heads

Have you been charged with assault? You will need to engage an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you.

People charged with an assault offence often legitimately claim that they acted in self-defence, or in defence of their property, or in defence of another person. But there is a lot more to raising these potential defences than just simply declaring that you felt threatened and so acted in the way alleged.

Expert advice and legal representation from an experienced criminal defence lawyer is paramount in reducing maximum penalties for an assault offence when a legitimate defence exists.

Have You Been Charged in Tweed Heads?

It’s imperative that you seek legal advice if you’ve been accused/charged with an offence relating to Assault.

Contact Criminal Defence Attorney Michael McMillan for assistance and legal advice on (07) 5619 6860 or 0409 273 430.

Types of Assault Charges

Assault involves causing physical or mental harm to another without a lawful excuse. Physical assault includes the act of striking, touching, moving or applying force of any kind, threatening to apply violence through verbal or bodily gestures. There are varying degrees of assault that you could be charged with, depending on the severity of the force used. These include:

Common Assault

Common assault relates to minor assault matters, and includes threatening an individual, or striking a person where minor physical injuries have occurred. This includes pushing, kicking, punching, slapping or hitting another person, threatening to hurt another person, and spitting on another person.

The seriousness of the offence can be increased in circumstances of aggravation, such as whether the accused commits the assault in a public place while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Common assault charges carry a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment in Queensland, though in some instances the court may also impose a fine or other penalties.

A criminal conviction can be recorded against you however this is not always the case. Engaging an experienced criminal law firm is paramount in your defence.

Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm:

A more serious form of assault, assault occasioning bodily harm occurs when an individual receives injuries that interfere with their health, such as requiring hospital treatment or time off work.

To be charged with this offence, the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Assaulted another individual
  • You did so intentionally or recklessly
  • Without consent or lawful excuse
  • That caused bodily harm to the individual

This is considered a crime, and thus an indictable offence heard in the District Court of Queensland. The maximum penalty for assault occasioning bodily harm is 7 years imprisonment, though under aggravated circumstances this sentence could be increased.

Unlawful Wounding

This serious form of offence includes breaking or penetrating the skin, resulting in bleeding. The act is considered unlawful unless authorised or justified by the law.

It is considered aggravated if the unlawful wounding offence was committed in a public place while the offender was adversely affected by an intoxicating substance such as drugs or alcohol, which could increase the sentence of imprisonment.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

This is a serious criminal offence, and results in the other party being seriously disfigured, maimed or any injury that if not treated, could endanger that person’s life or cause permanent injury. There are three forms of GBH offences, namely:

  • Intentionally causing grievous bodily harm
  • Unlawfully doing grievous bodily harm
  • Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm

A charge of GBH carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and is an indictable offence, and will be heard in the District Court of Queensland whether it was intentional or unlawful.

In aggravating circumstances, the period of imprisonment could be increased. This includes the following scenarios:

  • The act was committed in a public place
  • The accused was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • The act was deemed domestic violence
  • The accused is part of a criminal group

Serious Assault

Serious assault charges relate to the following scenarios:

  • Assault with intent to commit a crime
  • Resisting arrest (your arrest or another persons),
  • Assaulting or wilfully obstructing a police officer
  • Assaulting a person while they are performing a legal duty.

Serious assaults also refer to any assault of an individual who is over the age of 60, disabled or who relies on a remedial device or assistance dog.

If convicted, a serious assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment, unless in circumstances of aggravation where the penalty can increase to up to 14 years imprisonment. This includes when a person bites, spits on or throws bodily fluid at the victim or is armed (or pretends to be armed) at the time of the offence.

Sexual Assault charges

This occurs when inappropriately touching another without their consent, forcing someone to commit or watch an act of gross indecency. Most commonly this is a physical assault, including non-consensual touching of another person, and penetrative acts such as intercourse without consent – however the latter is considered more serious and is likely to be considered as aggravated sexual assault or rape.

Sexual offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment (read more about sexual assault).

What is Self Defence?

One of the common defences to an assault charge is that of self defence. The applicability of any form of self-defence is dependent on the degree of force used during the act which you claim to have been done in self-defence.

This is one area wherein matters of this nature the law becomes quite complex. If this issue is not resolved in your favour, then your claim of self defence (no matter how threatened you felt) will fail and you will be convicted. This, as well as other complex issues that arise in assault charges, can only be properly explored by a skilled criminal lawyer. For this reason it’s important to obtain legal advice from a criminal lawyer with extensive experience in these types of matters.

Defence of Provocation

According to section 269 of the Criminal Code, for an individual to succeed in the defence of provocation, it must be proven that the offender was provoked into committing the assault in such a way that the offender was deprived of their power of self-control.

Other common defences

Depending on the type of assault charge, there are a number of other defences that can apply. These include:

  • Accident
  • Duress
  • Defence of another person
  • Emergency
  • Insanity
  • Mistake of fact.

An experienced criminal defence firm will be able to recognise the most appropriate defence in your individual matter and advise you on what happens next.

Why Do I Need A Lawyer?

People charged with offences of this type have even greater reason to ensure that their case is handled skillfully than those charged with non-violent offending because the law says that courts should not regard jail as a sentence of last resort if the charge involves violence.

In addition to a term of imprisonment, looms the prospect of being ordered to pay large compensation awards to victims if you are convicted of any offence of unlawful violence. This could affect the security of your home and other assets.

For all of these reasons, offences of violence are the sort of matter for which you should seek expert legal defence and assistance. This includes sexual assault offences and other indictable offences. Our criminal law firm is highly experienced in dealing with these matters and will provide you with expert legal advice and representation in court. Our criminal lawyers have dealt with a wide range of assault offences on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Northern NSW.

Contact Michael McMillan on (07) 5619 6860 or 0409 273 430 if you have been charged with assault in Tweed Heads.