Speak Directly To a Lawyer Now

1300 038 223
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 days
Or have our lawyers call you:
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Unlawful Wounding (NSW)

In New South Wales, there is a range of criminal offences that relate to causing injury to a person. These include unlawful wounding, causing grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm. This page deals with unlawful wounding in New South Wales.

What is unlawful wounding?

In New South Wales, a person can be charged with wounding another person either intentionally or recklessly. Unlawful wounding occurs when a person unlawfully breaks both layers of a victim’s skin. Breaking the outer layer of the skin only does not amount to wounding.

The offence does not have to involve an assault and it does not require a weapon to be used.


The offence of wounding with intent is set out in section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900. This offence occurs when a person wounds another person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. It carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

The offence of reckless wounding is set out in section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900. This offence occurs when a person wounds a person and is reckless to as to causing bodily harm. It carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

Longer maximum penalties apply if the offence is committed in company with another person.

Fighting a charge of wounding

If you have been charged with reckless wounding or wounding with intent, you may be able to defeat the charge. Armstrong Legal’s experienced criminal lawyers can advise you on the strength of the case against you and on whether any legal defences apply.

If you are found guilty or plead guilty to wounding, our criminal lawyers can help you to get the best possible sentencing outcome in the circumstances.

Pleading guilty to wounding

If you have been charged with a wounding offence and you want to plead guilty, there are a number of things to consider.

Are you actually guilty?

While this may seem like a simple question, there may be more to it than you realise. Firstly, your lawyer will need to assess whether every element of the offence is made out. Secondly, they will need to be confident that there is no legal defence that applies.

Do you agree with the police facts?

The police summary of facts is the document that sets out what the police say happened. If you plead guilty, the court will sentence you based on this story, so you need to make sure that everything in it is accurate. If there are statements you disagree with, your lawyer will try to negotiate to have the facts amended before you plead guilty.

Supporting evidence

When you plead guilty, you should provide the court with as much information to mitigate your offending as possible. This may include character references and evidence of steps you have taken to address the underlying causes of your offending.

Applying for bail on a wounding charge

If you have been remanded on a charge of reckless wounding or wounding with intent, you can apply for bail. Under the Bail Act 2013, the court will decide whether to release you on bail based on whether there is an unacceptable risk that you will:

  • Fail to appear at court
  • Commit a serious offence
  • Endanger the safety of victims or the community
  • Interfere with witnesses

If you are charged with wounding with intent or reckless wounding and you have a prior conviction for a serious personal violence offence, you will be required to ‘show cause’ why the court should grant you bail. This means that there is a presumption that you should not be granted bail and you bear the burden of overcoming it.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

Legal Hotline
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 Days
Call 1300 038 223