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Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton
Craig Robinson
Andrew Tiedt
Andrew Fraser
Russell Boyd
Mariah Maltezos
Sarah Marinovic
Michael Hempsall
Will Del Din
Will Del Din
Trudie Cameron

The maximum penalty for the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (Section 59 of the Crimes Act) is five years imprisonment.

Will I get a criminal record from an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge?

Yes. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is considered to be a serious offence because it involves an assault that resulted in an injury of some significance. The starting point for the sentencing Court is the recording of a conviction together with the imposition of other penalties.

Can I avoid a criminal conviction for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge?

It is possible to avoid a criminal conviction for this type of matter if you are afforded the leniency of a section 10 non conviction order. However, this leniency is only applicable in limited circumstances. The starting point will always be the recording of a criminal conviction. To speak to one of our lawyers about the possibility of getting a section 10 in your matter call (02) 9261 4555.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge.

You'll find a brief description of each of these penalties at the bottom of this page.

Local Court

If the matter is kept in the Local Court it is usually considered to be less serious than if it is committed to the District Court. However, the Local Court does have the power to sentence an offender to a period of up to two years imprisonment for this offence.

If you would like further information about the likely penalty in your matter speak to one of our lawyers on (02) 9261 4555.

District Court

The DPP will usually only elect for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm matter to be committed to the District Court where the offence is in the upper range of seriousness for the charge. Committing the matter to the District Court means that the maximum penalty that can be imposed in five years imprisonment.

For first time offenders the likely penalty is a good behavior bond with supervision under section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act for a period of 2 years.

Which court will hear your Assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge in NSW:

This matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made, it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What is the law part and the short description?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
64780 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (DV)-T2
243 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm-T2
64781 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of other(s) (DV)-T2
44550 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of other(s)-T2

What the police must prove:

To convict you of a assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. There was an assault
  2. It caused actual bodily harm

They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the assault occasioning actual bodily harm offence.

Possible defences for Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Possible defences to an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge include but are not limited to:

Types of penalties:

Section 10 for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.

Fines for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Good behaviour bond for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge: This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community service order for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge. (CSO): This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Suspended sentence for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Periodic detention for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge (commonly known as weekend detention): This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.

Intensive correction order for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Jail for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge: This is the most serious penalty for the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.


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If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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