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Among all offences you can commit against a person, an assault offence ranks on the more "serious" spectrum. An assault offence can encompass plenty of actions and range of the offence, from the minor to the life-threatening injury.
Always avoid all forms of attack or verbal threats towards another, as they can lead to serious charges and punishments. Also, all Assault convictions and offence charges are added to a person's police criminal records.
In the VIC, there are various punishments for assaulting a person, which can be "life-defining. However, these punishments depend on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances surrounding it. Throwing a shoe at a person which causes them a scratch is different from ramming your car into people, so the punishments are proportional.
The assault charge the court finds you guilty of (including the presence of aggravating circumstances) will determine the conviction you get. Here are the various degrees of assault offences in Victoria;
These assaults covered under section 23 of the Summary offences Act include all offences that do not intend or eventually cause "serious" bodily harm/disfigurement. Commonplace attacks, fights, kicking a person qualifies as common attacks.
The Magistrate usually handles such cases with less delay and ambiguity. Other more serious crimes are dealt with in the county court.
The court still punishes those found guilty of common assault with maximum fines of;
Such cases are further divided into two categories since the court considers them much more serious than a common assault case. The two subcategories are;
The case in (i) above attracts a 25 units maximum penalty;
For case (ii) above, the penalties may vary as;
Where the injury caused to the other person (sufferer) is grave or life-threatening or causing loss of body parts, the punishment is graver. There are various categories the court can establish the offender has committed the offence by law.
The court orders a maximum imprisonment term of 5 years for all those found guilty of serious Assault. Some of the actions that can lead to a serious assault are;
These offences are considered grave and are dealt with in the County Court. However, the parties may agree to deal with it summarily in a Magistrate court.
This offence is an indictable assault, and can constitute;
Where the court concludes from evidence and arguments the offender caused the injury intentionally, it orders a penalty with a maximum jail term of 5 years. These injuries can include;
Each of the cases has a minimum imprisonment term with no paroles unless the court considers some extenuating circumstances. The more "serious" of these offences are handled in the county court, but lesser ones can be dealt with in a magistrate court.
Charges for these offences have a wide range but carry the same maximum penalty of years. And the Prosecution must prove that the act was intentional and led to "serious" injuries.
Sections 20 and 21 of the Crimes Act covers all charges that include verbal assaults or attempts at it.
Depending on how convincing the prosecuting team is that the offender; threatened and was capable of carrying out such threats, the court will order the full punishments.
Section 39 and 40 of the Crimes Act covers all assault offences such as;
All offences attract maximum sentencing of 10 years
Other assaults and further details, including stipulated penalties, causative factors and so on. are contained in the Crimes Act of the Victoria legislation.
One related offence that can lead to an assault charge is the Affray offence. These are offences for public acts that cause others to fear for their lives/personal safety. Some of these offences are;
Those charged with assault should engage the services of a competent lawyer in assault cases. There are lots of defence arguments your legal team can explore. It is a risky move to attempt to represent yourself or hear the charges without a lawyer.
Your legal team will advise you best on what plea to enter and “argue out” irrelevant charges.
If the court finds you guilty of an assault charge, it will become part of your police criminal history check in Victoria. Since most convictions require a sentencing term, it can affect your chances anywhere the police check is required (in most organisations).
Your best option is to apply to get the assault charge spent (after satisfying some conditions).
Candidates can apply for a police history check via the portal of Australian National Character Check.
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