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Assault Charges NSW: Types, Legislation, and Punishments

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Being charged with assault in New South Wales can be a stressful and confusing experience. The legal system can be complex, and the penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offence.

This blog post will provide a clear and concise overview of assault charges in NSW, from understanding the different types of assault to what to expect in court.

Whether you’ve been accused of common assault or a more serious offence, this post aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to navigate this challenging situation.

Types of Assault Charges NSW

In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, assault charges are serious offences that are categorised under various classifications based on the nature and severity of the assault.

Assault charges are governed by the Crimes Act of 1900.  

The legal system in NSW identifies several types of assault charges, each carrying different potential penalties. Here’s an overview of the main types of assault charges in NSW:

Common Assault (Section 61, Crimes Act 1900)

This is the least serious assault offence. It involves either:

  • Threatening another person with immediate violence (putting them in fear).
  • Using force against another person (without causing injury).

Examples: Shoving someone, making threatening gestures. This charge applies to cases where there is physical contact or the threat of immediate violence towards another person but where no significant injury is caused.

It is the least serious form of assault charge and can include acts that cause someone to fear immediate violence.

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (Section 59, Crimes Act 1900)

This offence involves causing any injury, no matter how minor (a scratch, bruise, etc.), according to the evidence presented

This involves an assault that results in some form of bodily harm, which doesn’t have to be serious but must be more than merely transient or trifling.

Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding (Sections 35, Crimes Act 1900)

This is a more serious offence where the act or omission results in serious injuries through recklessness (not necessarily intentional). This charge is laid when a person recklessly causes grievous bodily harm (very serious injury) or wounding to another.

The term “reckless” implies an awareness that the action could cause grievous bodily harm but proceeding with the action regardless.

Intentional Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding (Section 33, Crimes Act 1900)

This is the most serious assault offence and involves intentionally causing serious injuries. Examples include causing permanent scarring, broken bones, or internal injuries.

This is a more serious charge than reckless GBH, as it involves a deliberate intention to cause severe injury or permanent disfigurement to another person.

Sexual Assault (Sections 61I to 61JA, Crimes Act 1900)

This charge is applied in cases where a person has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person, and knows that the other person does not consent.

Aggravated Assault

This category covers a wider range of assaults with increased penalties due to aggravating factors. These factors can include:

  • Using a weapon
  • Targeting a vulnerable person (elderly, child)
  • Assaulting someone in company (with others) This term is used to describe assaults that occur under circumstances that increase their seriousness, such as using a weapon, assaulting a police officer, or assaulting a person with a particular vulnerability (e.g., due to age or disability).

Affray (Section 93C, Crimes Act 1900)

A person is charged with affray if they use or threaten unlawful violence towards another and their conduct would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety.

Assault Police (Section 60, Crimes Act 1900)

Assaulting, resisting, or hindering a police officer in the execution of duty is considered a separate and more serious offence than common assault.

Punishment For Assault Charges

The severity of the penalty and eligibility for bail for an assault charge in NSW depends on the specific type of assault and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Here’s a table outlining some common assault charges and their maximum penalties:

Type of Assault ChargeMaximum Penalty
Common Assault2 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of $5,500
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm5 years imprisonment (7 years if in company)
Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding10 years imprisonment (14 years if in company)
Intentional Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding25 years imprisonment
Sexual AssaultUp to 14 years imprisonment (varies by specifics)
Affray10 years imprisonment
Assault Police5 years imprisonment (14 years if during a public disorder)

Facing Assault Charges in NSW? Let Us Help.

At Justice Family Lawyers, we’re dedicated to providing robust defence and personalised legal strategies to secure your future.

Our team of experienced lawyers understands the intricacies of NSW laws and will fight tirelessly for your rights.

Contact us today to safeguard your liberty and achieve the best possible outcome.

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