Common Assault

by Doogue & O'Brien Criminal Defence Lawyers

How serious is Common Assault? What’s the maximum penalty and which Melbourne Court hears this charge?

Common Assault is still a serious offence but is considered to be at the lower scale of criminal offences. It may carry a prison term when guilt is established in Court. Cases of Common Assault are handled by Magistrates in a Magistrates’ Court.  There is a maximum penalty of 3 months of imprisonment or 15 penalty units for a person proven guilty of committing a Common Assault charge.


The legislation on Common Assault

Section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 is the related law for Common Assault and is as follows:


Common Assault


Any person who unlawfully assaults or beats another person shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three months


Pleading guilty or not guilty to Common Assault in a Melbourne Court

The decision on whether one should plead guilty or not guilty to Common Assault is a very serious matter and must be discussed with a criminal defence solicitor. Any person found guilty of this offence is likely to face unfavourable circumstances and must therefore receive guidance from a specialist criminal lawyer.


Elements of the charge of a Common Assault

The Prosecution must be able to show to the Court that the accused unlawfully assaulted or beat another person.


Defending the charge of Common Assault in a Melbourne Court

Defending the charge of Common Assault typically includes an argument on the correctness of the facts reported or documented. Often there are factual and identification disputes regarding the actual person responsible for the unlawful assault. Duress may be used as well as lack of intent. Self-defence and necessity are also considered depending on the reasons of the accused and the events preceding the occurrence of unlawful assault.


For more information on Common 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 tim


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