This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom - Content Editor - Brisbane

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.

Assault Offences QLD


Assaults are a class of offence which involves the use, or threat, of physical force against another person. Assault charges are treated seriously by the courts in Queensland and most findings of guilt will result in the recording of a criminal conviction. This page contains information about assault offences in Queensland, including the maximum penalties which apply.

Definition Of Assault

Section 245 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 says that assault is committed by:

A person who strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to, the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without the other person’s consent, or with the other person’s consent if the consent is obtained by fraud, or who by any bodily act or gesture attempts or threatens to apply force of any kind to the person of another without the other person’s consent under such circumstances that the person making the attempt or threat has actually or apparently a present ability to effect the person’s purpose.

Assault is unlawful where it is committed without a lawful justification or excuse (such as self-defence).

Common Assault

A common assault carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment. A common assault may consist of a punch, a slap or a spit. It may also consist of a threat to strike someone, where the victim thinks the threat is going to be carried out imminently.

Affray

The offence of affray occurs when a person takes part in a fight in a public place in a way that could cause members of the public to be frightened.

Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm

An assault occasioning bodily harm occurs when a person is assaulted and suffers an injury, such as bruising or swelling. An assault occasioning bodily harm is aggravated when the offender was armed or pretended to be armed with a weapon.

Serious assault

A serious assault in Queensland is punishable by a maximum of seven years imprisonment (or 14 if the offence is aggravated). There are seven categories of serious assault offences.

Unlawfully Doing Grievous Bodily Harm

One of the most serious assault offences in Queensland is unlawfully doing grievous bodily harm. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

Grievous bodily harm is an injury that, if left untreated, would be life-threatening or an injury that involves serious disfigurement or the loss of a part or organ of the body. There is a separate offence of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm. 

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

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