In NSW there is no specific offence of “aggravated assault”. However, there are a number of different assault-type offences that can be aggravated by various factors.
If an offence is aggravated, then all things being equal you would expect a harsher penalty to follow. This may mean that you are sentenced to full-time imprisonment rather than receiving a suspended gaol sentence, or that you are convicted where you might otherwise have been dealt with without a conviction being recorded.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for any assault charge.
- Prison Sentence
- Home Detention
- Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)
- Suspended Sentence
- Community Service Order (CSO)
- Community Corrections Orders (CCO)
- Good Behaviour Bond
- Section 10A
- Conditional Release Order (CRO)
- Section 10
You can find a brief description of each of these penalties at the bottom of this page.
What Assault Offences Can Be Aggravated:
Any assault offence can be aggravated, but the most common examples are:
- Common assault
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
- Reckless wounding
- Recklessly Inflict Grievous Body Harm
- Assault police
Will I Get A Criminal Record from An Aggravated Assault Charge?
Yes. A criminal conviction is very likely unless the Court is convinced that they should exercise their discretion not to convict you of the offence.
What Actions Might Aggravate An Assault Charge?
There are a long list of factors that can aggravate a charge of assault. In many ways, the list is limited only by your imagination. That said, there are a few common examples:
- if have a criminal record for similar offences
- if the offence is in a domestic violence context
- if you were in a position of authority over the victim
- if there were particularly serious injuries as a result of the assault
- if you used a weapon
- if you committed the offence in breach of bail, parole, or an AVO
Can I Pay A Greater Fine to Avoid Being Convicted?
No, it is not possible to bargain with the court that you would pay a larger fine to avoid a criminal conviction. If the court deals with you under section 10 there will be no fine, but there may be court costs.
Do Police Need To Prove The Aggravating Feature?
Yes. If police allege a particular fact that they say calls for a tougher penalty, and if you deny that fact, then police need to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
How Much Worse Will The Penalty Be As A Result Of The Aggravating Feature?
It is usually very difficult to say. Sentencing is not an arithmetic exercise – judges and magistrates don’t just mathematically add to or subtract from a penalty due to individual factors. However, an experienced criminal lawyer will be able to tell you which features of your matter are more or less significant and whether there are factors that are likely to cause concern.
The Consequences of A Conviction
The consequences of a conviction can be serious depending upon what you do for a living. Some jobs require you to have no criminal convictions and a conviction for common assault might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel. Moreover a conviction for an offence of violence can completely rule out certain career paths such as teaching and a range of government employment options. Violent offences may also result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.
Such offences can be complicated if there are aggravating factors. It is important to get legal advice at an early stage to ascertain precisely what the consequences of a conviction may be and whether you have a defence to the charge. It is very important that you obtain legal advice before you take part in any police record of interview. Call us on 1300 038 223 for urgent advice.
Types of penalties:
Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.
Intensive Corrections Order (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.
Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. 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.
Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). 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.
Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). 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 Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.
Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.
Section 10 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.
WHERE TO NEXT?
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.