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Assault - First Offence Penalties

In New South Wales it is an offence to assault another person. An assault is any application of physical force to the body of another person which is unlawful. Common examples of assault are kicking, punching, slapping or throwing something at another person. In some circumstances, acting in a way that causes another person to fear that you will imminently harm them can also amount to an assault.

The penalties for an assault offence range from non-conviction bonds to more serious penalties which include possible gaol sentences, even for a first offence.

Types Of Assault

The Crimes Act 1900 includes the following assault-related offences:

Maximum Penalties For Assault Charges

There are a large number of different assault-related offences which vary in seriousness and penalty. The least serious assault-related offence is the offence of common assault which carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. One of the most serious assault-related offences is assault occasioning grievous bodily harm with intent which carries a maximum penalty of twenty-five years imprisonment. As you can see, the range of penalties is significant.

The maximum penalties apply regardless of whether it is a first offence. The penalty that is imposed for a first offence will vary depending on the circumstances of the assault, whether an injury was inflicted, how that injury was inflicted, how serious the injury that was inflicted was, why the person inflicted the injury and whether there are any circumstances to explain why the assault occured.

Penalties For A First Offence

A first offence can see penalties imposed which range from a non-conviction under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act to a prison sentence. Generally speaking, a court can also impose penalties include a conviction only, a fine, a good behaviour bond, community service, suspended gaol sentence, intenstive corrections order, home detention or gaol. If an injury amounting to actual bodily harm or greater is inflicted then the court cannot impose a home detention order.

Whether you’re hoping to avoid a conviction, community service or gaol, it is imperative that you get legal advice about how to maximise your chance of getting the best possible result.

Types of penalties

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: 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 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): 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 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.

Fines When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. 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.

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

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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