Any criminal charge is serious and should be taken seriously, but an assault charge has the potential to carry significant penalties if it’s not dealt with properly. If you’ve been charged with assault, or fear being charged with assault, then you need to speak to criminal lawyers so that they can help you explore your options and identify the best course of action to defend yourself.
If you don’t do things right, you could be found guilty in a court of law, resulting in imprisonment and significant financial penalties. With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of things you should do if you’ve been charged with or fear that you might be charged with assault.
Seek Legal Advice
The very first thing that you should do if you’re charged with assault is seek legal advice from a qualified criminal lawyer. Make sure that you outline the facts surrounding your case clearly so that your lawyer can help you decide on the best course of action to reduce any consequences if you’re found guilty.
Make Sure That You Understand The Different Types Of Assault
There are numerous types of assault in Australia, each of which carry different penalties. Assaults may be seen as ‘aggravated’ if the offender and victim are related, if a child was present during the assault or if the victim is older than 60 years. Aggravated assaults carry larger penalties than non-aggravated ones. The main types of assault include:
Common assault – This occurs when a victim receives minor injuries as the result of an assault. Common assault carries maximum penalties of 3 years prison and $36000 fine.
Assault occasioning bodily harm – If a victim’s injuries require medical attention, you may be charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. If this happens, you may face up to 7 years imprisonment and $36000 fine.
Grievous bodily harm – If an assault results in serious injury or has the potential to cause serious injury or death, you may be charged with grievous bodily harm. If this happens, you can expect a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.
How Can I Deal With My Assault Case To Minimise The Penalty?
As you can probably see, all forms of assault carry potentially significant penalties. Even if you are found guilty, the severity of the penalty that you’re faced with can be downgraded with the help of an experienced criminal lawyer, which means that it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.
Make sure that you’re always honest with your lawyer so that they can help you achieve the best outcome possible. You may be able to argue self-defence or provocation, which are both acceptable defences. The best thing to do is to discuss this with a criminal lawyer who has experience dealing with assault cases in your area.