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What is an assault?

An Assault occurs where a person intentionally and without the consent of another person (the victim) applies force or threatens to apply force to the victim. For example, punching or hitting a victim.

What is not considered an assault?

Behaviour that would be accepted as normal interaction is not an assault.

For example, pushing between people to get out of a crowded bus involves physically touching them without their consent.  However, provided that the contact is neither hostile nor offensive, the conduct would not amount to an assault.

What is an aggravated assault?

At law, the term “aggravated” has a different meaning from how we generally use the word.

An aggravated offence of any kind is considered more serious that the basic type of offence.

The law says that an assault becomes an aggravated assault in the following circumstances:

  • The offender used or threatened to use an offensive weapon.
  • The offender committed the offence against a police officer who was performing their lawful duty.
  • The victim was under the age of 12 years or over the age of 60 years.
  • The victim was a close family member of the offender (a close family member can include a spouse).

Are there different types of assault charges?

Yes. The type of assault charge that a person may face depends on their relationship to the victim, the circumstances of the assault and any injuries caused to the victim during the incident.

What if I acted in self-defence?

Self defence is a defence to a charge of assault so long as the action taken was proportionate to the threat faced.

What are the penalties for assault?

The penalties for a charge of assault depend on the precise charge. If an offender enters a guilty plea or if the Court finds the offender guilty, the Court will consider recording a criminal conviction and other penalties. All types of assault carry a maximum penalty that can include imprisonment.

Do I need an assault lawyer? 

Yes, it is essential that you get advice from a criminal lawyer so that you understand your legal position, including possible defences and penalties.

A finding of guilt on an assault charge can also result in civil action for victims of crime compensation for which you might be liable. The other party could also sue you personally.

How do I get a lawyer for an assault charge?

You need to contact a specialist criminal defence lawyer to ensure that you get the right advice, right from the start. Websters Lawyers has experienced criminal defence lawyers that offer a free first 20 minute consultation in which we can explain the Court process and the charge.

Call Wesbsters Lawyers on 8231 1363 to speak with a criminal defence lawyer and to arrange an free appointment.


It doesn't cost you anything to know where you stand

*Please note: Websters lawyers is a South Australian based law firm, handling matters exclusive to South Australia, with offices located in Adelaide, Ridgehaven and Smithfield.

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