Assault Charges Lawyer in Melbourne - Domestic Violence Defence Solicitors
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Have you been charged with assault? You need a specialist criminal lawyer to protect your future ASAP.
Assault offences are some of the most common we see, and some of the most serious. Our lawyers regularly appear in both the Magistrates Court and County Court to represent clients and ensure their best interests are at the heart of all proceedings.
If you are suspected of assault, have been brought in for questioning by the police, or have been charged with different offences, our legal team will ensure you get the expert advice you need.
Need legal advice now? Call 03 8590 8370 to book a free consultation with our lawyers to discuss your assault charges.
What is an assault?
Assault, as outlined by the Summary Offences Act 1966 and the Crimes Act 1958, occurs when one person intentionally or recklessly applies force to another person – or when that person reasonably believes that their aggressor will use force against them. This can be physical or mental harm.
There are many different types of assault, with numerous offences falling under this category. This can include:
- Unlawful assault or common assault
- Aggravated assault
- Indecent assault
- Intentionally causing injury or serious injury in circumstance of gross violence
- Recklessly causing injury or serious injury in circumstances of gross violence
- Reckless conduct endangering life
- Threatening to kill a person or inflict injury
- Home invasion or aggravated home invasion
- Carjacking or aggravated carjacking
- Aggravated burglary
- Robbery (armed and unarmed)
- Criminal damage with the intent of endangering life
- Assaulting or obstructing a police officer
How serious is an assault charge?
Assault is a very serious offence that usually carries a maximum penalty of prison time, varying from 3 months to 25 years. Below are some examples of sentencing:
- Unlawful assault – 15 penalty units or 3 months imprisonment
- Affray – 5 years imprisonment
- Aggravated assault – 25 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment
- Intentionally causing serious injury – 20 years imprisonment
- Recklessly causing serious injury – 15 years imprisonment
- Negligently causing serious injury – 10 years imprisonment
- Kidnapping – 25 years imprisonment
In some circumstances, if the Magistrates Court deems assault charges insufficient, your assault offence may be upgraded – for example, from common assault to aggravated. Depending on the severity of the charges and certain circumstances, your case may be heard in the Magistrates Court or heard in the County Court. A summary offence like unlawful assaults will be heard in the Magistrates Court, while County Courts handle most other assault matters in Victoria (indictable offences).
Assault cases can include multiple offences and Common Law offences, such as false imprisonment or rioting, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Our experienced assault lawyer team will be able to help you fully understand your assault charges and navigate the Victorian Courts.
What legal defence do I have?
The most common defence for assault is self-defence – that is, that you acted to protect yourself from a real or perceived threat. Other defences may include mental impairment, the surrounding circumstances of the assault, whether there were other parties involved, whether you were provoked, your intent, and a range of other factors.
To be found guilty, the Court must prove each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This will differ depending on the assault charge.
Our legal team will work tirelessly with you to help present your side of the story and give you the best chance possible. It is possible to negotiate with the prosecution for a lighter sentence or for a good behaviour bond in some cases. In certain cases, you may be eligible for a diversion, which will help you avoid a criminal record.
Should I plead guilty?
In some cases, pleading guilty may be the best way forward in order to avoid a costly legal battle and lessen your sentence. Before you decide, it is always best to seek legal advice from our criminal lawyers. As we have helped countless clients with their assault charges, we know the best way forward and will be able to help you make the best choice for your future.
If you choose not to plead guilty, we will help you prepare for your contested hearing and represent you in court to the best of our ability.