The term ‘assault’ covers a range of different offences, from summary offences to more severe indictable offences that carry a number of possible penalties, including a long-term prison sentence. If you have been charged with common assault or any other assault charge, it is important to seek legal advice. Experienced common assault lawyers can advise you on whether you should plead guilty or not guilty to an assault charge, and help ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
What is common assault?
Common assault is an offence where one person is found guilty of assaulting another person without causing actual bodily harm. Whether or not an offence is considered to be common assault or a more serious charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm depends largely on the extent of harm that is caused to the victim.
Common assault can be treated as either a summary offence and dealt with in the local court, or the prosecution can choose to have it dealt with as an indictable offence – which means that the matter will be heard by a judge and jury in the district court.
If you are facing a charge of common assault, lawyers who are experienced in criminal assault cases can help you prepare your defence and guide you through the court process. The maximum penalty for a common assault charge is two years in prison so it is important to make sure you have the best possible legal advice and representation if you want to avoid a jail sentence.
If you decide to plead guilty to a charge of common assault, there are a few things your lawyer can do to help reduce the severity of your sentence. When deciding what penalty to give you, the magistrate or judge will take a number of different factors into consideration, including:
- Whether it is your first offence and what your criminal history (if any) is.
- Any mitigating factors which might have contributed to the offence being committed. This can include family or work stress, illness and drug or alcohol dependency.
- The likelihood of you reoffending. Demonstrating remorse and an understanding of the severity of your actions can help, as well as taking steps to address any underlying issues that might have contributed to the assault. This can be through drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs or counselling.
Your lawyer can advise you what may be most appropriate in your situation, and help you gather any documentation required and present it to the judge or magistrate on your behalf.
Pleading not guilty
If you choose to plead not guilty and challenge the assault charges made against you, your lawyer can help you prepare your defence.
Your lawyer will be able to look at the evidence against you and find any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case as well as help you strengthen your own defence. This can help give you the best chance of getting a not guilty verdict and avoiding a criminal conviction and any other penalties associated with an assault charge. If you are found guilty, your lawyer may be able to help have your penalties or charges reduced.
Common assault lawyers have a thorough understanding of criminal law and the different assault charges. If you are facing an assault charge it is always a good idea to seek professional legal advice.