by Doogue & O'Brien Criminal Defence Lawyers


Maximum penalty and the Melbourne Court that hears the charge of Assault

There is a maximum penalty of 5-year imprisonment for anyone found guilty of an Assault offence. It is a serious criminal charge which may carry a prison term on a finding of guilt. Cases that involve this charge are heard in the Magistrates’ Court.


The legislation on Assault

Section 31 of the Crimes Act 1958 is the relevant law for Assault and is as follows:




(1) A person who-


   (a)  assaults or threatens to assault another person with intent to commit an indictable offence; or

   (b)  assaults or threatens to assault, resists or intentionally obstructs-

   (i)  a member of the police force in the due execution of duty; or

   (ia) a protective services officer in the due execution of duty; or

   (ii) a person acting in aid of a member of the police force or in aid of a protective services officer- knowing that the member, officer or person is such a member, officer or person; or

   (c)  assaults or threatens to assault a person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detention of a person-

is guilty of an indictable offence. Penalty: Level 6 imprisonment (5 years



(2) In subsection (1), assault means the direct or indirect application of

force by a person to the body of, or to clothing or equipment worn by, another

person where the application of force is-


   (a)  without lawful excuse; and

   (b)  with intent to inflict or being reckless as to the infliction of

        bodily injury, pain, discomfort, damage, insult or deprivation of



and results in the infliction of any such consequence (whether or not the consequence inflicted is the consequence intended or foreseen).


(3) In subsection (2)-

application of force includes-


   (a)  application of heat, light, electric current or any other form of energy; and

   (b)  application of matter in solid, liquid or gaseous form.




Pleading guilty or not guilty to Assault in a Melbourne Court

Deciding on whether you should plead guilty to Assault or not has important implications for you and should be done after getting a legal advice from a criminal defence solicitor. If you are found guilty, there could be very unfavourable consequences.


Elements of the charge of Assault

The Prosecution must prove that the accused committed an assault with the intent of committing an indictable offence. The accused may also have assaulted, resisted, or obstructed a police officer.


Defending the charge of Assault in a Melbourne Court

Defending an Assault case may involve disputes on the facts surrounding the alleged criminal offending. Lack of intent is a typical consideration along with necessity and self-defence. Duress and mental impairment can also be used as defences.


For more information on Assault, you may visit the Australian Defence Lawyers Association site (click here) and also the Doogue & O’Brien Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here).


Doogue & O’Brien Melbourne can provide you more detail about this

Our Head Office is at 5/221 Queen Street, Melbourne

Phone (03) 9670 5111 (24 hrs if you are in a Police Station)


This article was written on July 30, 2012 and relates to the law as it stands at this time.


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