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Criminal Law Assault Offences

While the number of assaults reported in the Australian Capital Territory declined a bit in 2013, assaults continue to be among the most frequently charged criminal offences in Canberra. An assault is the use or threat of physical force against another person without that person’s consent. Beyond that basic definition, assault offences take many forms. You can learn more about different assault crimes by exploring the links below.

The police and the courts take accusations of assault seriously. If you are accused of an assault, you need a serious lawyer on your side. An assault conviction can have lasting consequences. Assaults that cause severe or permanent injuries carry the potential for harsher penalties. Never make the mistake of talking to the police or a prosecutor about an assault accusation without talking to an experienced lawyer first.

Defences to assault accusations

Just as several crimes are covered under the umbrella of “assault,” several defences may be available to individuals charged with those crimes. For instance, an assault must usually be an intentional or reckless act. If you struck someone accidentally, you have a defence.

There are also times when it is lawful to use reasonable force against another person. If you defended yourself against an unprovoked attack, you have a defence to an accusation of assault. If someone challenged you to a fight and you accepted the challenge, the alleged victim’s consent to your conduct may provide you with a defence.

In appropriate cases, other defences to assault might include provocation, mistaken identity, or reasonable discipline of a child. Although “he had it coming” is technically not a defence, it is kind of argument that juries understand. A capable lawyer knows how to couch that defence in terms that a judge will allow. “Fairness” might not be a defence, but many juries have returned “not guilty” verdicts because jurors decided it is was the fair verdict under the circumstances.

Get help from an experienced lawyer

If you are charged with an assault offence, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer. Whether you hope to negotiate a favourable result or want to persuade a court that you committed no crime, you need a lawyer who knows how to present your defence in the best possible light.

If you have been or think you might be charged with common assault, with causing grievous bodily harm, or with any other crime involving violent behaviour or threats, you need to start planning your defence. Contact a lawyer today to explain your problem and get the help you need.

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