Whether you’ve been charged with assault or are the victim of assault, an experienced criminal lawyer will work to achieve a fair outcome.
In Queensland, a conviction for assault can lead to the possibility of imprisonment with devastating lifestyle consequences post-release including potential employment struggles and difficulty travelling.
There are varying degrees of assault, from common assault to grievous bodily harm to sexual assault, with each requiring their own process under the law. There is no doubt that dealing with an assault case is stressful for the persons involved, but with Mackenzie Mitchell Solicitors we’ll help you understand your rights and navigate the best options from the very start.
Types of assault and their severity in Queensland
The Criminal Code 1899 states that an “assault” happens 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 consent.
Under the Code there are several types of assault you can be charged with or pursue against the perpetrator.
If the offence occurred in Queensland it carries a 3-year maximum sentence if convicted. If the assault occurred while under the influence of drugs or alcohol while in a public area it is considered “aggravated” and you may be subject to mandatory community service in addition to imprisonment.
Common assault charges are broad and don’t just apply to physical contact. It includes the case of applying heat, light, electrical force, gas, odour or substance that, to a degree, causes injury or personal discomfort. Verbal threats may also be considered common assault if they are made together with some threatening gesture.
Bodily harm is defined as any bodily injury which interferes with health or comfort. Such injuries may lead to medical treatment, time off work or lifestyle changes.
More serious bodily harm is classified as “grievous bodily harm,” which sees the other party disfigured, maimed, or with a permanent or life-threatening injury if left untreated.
Section 340 of the Criminal Code offers examples of assaults that are deemed to be serious assaults. They state that a person can be charged with assault when they:
- Assault the other party with intent to commit a crime and intends to resist arrest or detention
- Assault, resist or intentionally obstruct a police officer
- Assault any person who was performing a duty imposed by law
- Assault any person aged 60 or over
- Assault any person who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device
Those found convicted of serious assaults could face up to seven years in prison.
Mackenzie Mitchell Solicitors are experienced in finding potential legal defences that may be applied to the people involved in a case. These include:
- Self defence – frequently used in common assault cases, where the person believes that the conduct was necessary to protect themselves or another person, destruction of property and prevent criminal trespass.
- Duress – where the person acts unwilfully or against their better judgement for fear of harm to themselves or family
- Necessity – the person charged with assault believes their actions were necessary or justified to prevent more serious harm
- Accident – if the assault that occurred was an accident and was not reasonably foreseeable the defence of accident might apply.