What do you know about common assault?

What do you know about common assault?

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The offence of common assault is amongst the most common offences that come before the local court. The offence covers a wide range of different behaviours. The courts look at common assault offences very seriously. Always get legal advice before making a decision about what you will do in court. 

Common assault is committed when a person does something intentionally or recklessly which causes another person to fear immediate and unlawful violence. The maximum penalty in NSW under section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) is 2 years imprisonment. 

The types of actions that might result in a charge of common assault include:

  • Hitting, punching or kicking a person without causing actual bodily harm

  • Spitting on a person

  • Threatening immediate violence against another person.

In order to be found guilty of common assault the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You struck, touched or applied force to another person or threatened a person with immediate violence

  • You intended to do that or were reckless

  • You acted without the consent of the other person

  • You acted without lawful excuse.

In sentencing for an offence of common assault, even if the victim has not suffered any injury, the court can’t take that fact into account. The reason for this is because there are other more serious offences that can be charged where there are injuries suffered. 

A court can impose any one of the following penalties for common assault:

  • Imprisonment including home detention

  • Intensive correction order

  • Community correction order

  • Conditional release orders, with a conviction

  • Fine

In NSW, a court can also impose a Conditional release order without conviction, which means that although the offence is proven, no criminal conviction is recorded. The court will take into account a range of factors including the circumstances of the offence and your personal circumstances including employment and health.

The lawyers at Kingston Fox Lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and as former prosecutors we know the legal system from both sides. We can advise you on all aspects of your matter and ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved for you.

Got more questions? Give us a call on 0455 039 660 or 0455 039 707.

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