Assault Offences | Perth, WA

Assault and resisting police are criminal offences that involve the use of physical force or violence against another person, or the refusal to comply with a police officer's lawful orders.

Common Assault

  • Common Assault is an offence under section 313 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA).
  • This offence is a strictly summary offence. It commences and will be finalised in the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,0000.00 in circumstances of aggravation or in any other case 18 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $18,000.00.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with common assault, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You assaulted someone (the complainant)
  2. The assault was unlawful, that is not authorised, justified or excused by law.

What does assault mean?

Assault is defined under section 222 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA) as a person who strikes touches or moves or otherwise applies force of any kind to another person either directly or indirectly without that person’s consent.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you assaulted the complainant
  • whether you accept that the complainant did not consent to the assault
  • whether you accept that the assault was not an unwilled act, accident or mistake
  • whether you were provoked or acting in self-defence

You may accept that you committed the offence of common assault but you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty of common assault?

Imprisonment is not a likely outcome for an offence of common assault, and there are many sentencing alternatives, but it is possible that you will go to goal if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for common assault is 3 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for common assault, the court considers various factors including the severity of the assault, any injuries inflicted, the circumstances surrounding the offence, the offender’s level of culpability, their criminal history, personal circumstances, and any mitigating or aggravating factors.

Assault With Intent

  • Assault with intent is an offence under section 317A of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,000.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with assault with intent, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You assaulted the complainant
  2. You did so with the intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime or to do grievous bodily harm or to resist arrest or prevent lawful arrest or detention of any person.

Your criminal defence lawyer will analyse the evidence presented by the prosecution and develop a defense strategy, which may involve challenging the prosecution’s evidence or proving lack of intent, advocating for your innocence, or negotiating a plea deal if it’s in your best interest.

What does ‘grievous bodily harm’ mean?

Any bodily injury of such a nature as to endanger, or be likely to endanger life, or to cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you assaulted the complainant
  • whether you intended to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime or to do grievous bodily harm or to resist arrest or prevent lawful arrest or detention of any person (could still be guilty of common assault or assault causing bodily harm)
  • whether you accept that the assault was not an unwilled act, accident or mistake
  • whether you were provoked or acting in self-defence

You may accept that you committed assault occasioning bodily harm but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as common assault.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty of assault with intent?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is possible that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for assault with intent is 7 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for assault with intent, the court considers factors such as the severity of the assault, the intent behind the assault (whether it was to commit a crime, cause grievous bodily harm, resist or prevent arrest), any injuries sustained by the victim, the offender’s criminal history, personal circumstances, and mitigating or aggravating factors.

Serious Assault

  • Serious assault is an offence under section 318 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,000.
  • In certain circumstances if you plead guilty, or are found guilty, the Court sentencing you must impose a term of imprisonment of at least 9 months. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with serious assault, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You assaulted a public officer
  2. The public officer was performing a function of their office
  3. The assault was unlawful, that is not authorised, justified or excused by law.

What does ‘prescribed circumstances’ mean?

An offence is committed against a police officer, prison officer, security officer or another specified person and the officer suffers bodily harm. Your lawyer can explain this in greater detail.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you assaulted the complainant
  • whether the injury amounts to bodily harm (if not, you may still be guilty of common assault)
  • whether you accept that the complainant was performing a function of their office
  • whether you accept that the assault was not an unwilled act, accident or mistake
  • whether you were provoked or acting in self-defence.

You may accept that you committed a serious assault but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as common assault or to remove the prescribed circumstances in order to avoid the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty of serious assault?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, there is a real prospect that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for assault with intent is 10 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a serious assault in prescribed circumstance, due to the mandatory minimum sentence for this offence the court must impose a sentence of immediate imprisonment for a minimum of 9 months if armed with a weapon or in company with another person, or otherwise for a minimum of 6 months.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol, or to persuade the court to reduce the length of the gaol sentence.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for assault with intent or serious assault in prescribed circumstances, the court considers factors like the severity of the offense, presence of aggravating factors, harm caused, offender’s criminal history, personal circumstances, mitigating factors, and legal requirements such as mandatory minimum sentences.

Grievous Bodily Harm

  • Grievous bodily harm is an offence under section 297 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • This offence is a strictly indictable offence. It must be finalised in the District Court, but still commences in the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment, if committed in circumstances of aggravation and otherwise is 10 years imprisonment.
  • If you plead guilty or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. A criminal conviction is likely to be recorded.

If you have been charged with grievous bodily harm, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The complainant suffered grievous bodily harm.
  2. That you caused that grievous bodily harm
  3. That you caused the grievous bodily harm unlawfully.

What does grievous bodily harm mean?

Any bodily injury of such a nature as to endanger, or be likely to endanger life, or to cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you assaulted the complainant
  • whether the injury amounts to grievous bodily harm (if not, you may still be guilty of an alternative assault charge)
  • whether you accept that the assault was not an event occurring by accident
  • whether you were acting in self-defence

You may accept that you committed a serious assault but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as assault occasioning bodily harm.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Am I going to go to gaol if I get charged with grievous bodily harm?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is likely that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for grievous bodily harm is 14 years imprisonment if committed in circumstances of aggravation (and otherwise 10 years imprisonment), however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol, or to persuade the court to reduce the length of the gaol sentence.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for grievous bodily harm, the court considers factors such as the severity of the harm inflicted, the presence of aggravating circumstances, the offender’s level of culpability, any mitigating factors, the impact on the victim, the offender’s criminal history and personal circumstances.

Wounding

  • Wounding is an offence under section 301 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • It can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,000.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with grievous bodily harm, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That the complainant was wounded
  2. That you caused the wound
  3. That the wounding was unlawful

What does ‘wound’ mean?

The term ‘wounding’ means an injury which breaks the skin and penetrates below the epidermis. This includes skin that is internal skin such as the mouth or nose. Internal bleeding is not sufficient.

It must be proven that the injury is where the continuity of the skin was broken, not just a scratch, but the full thickness of the skin is broken so that it bleeds. No injury can be a wound unless it bleeds.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether the injury amounts to wounding
  • whether you accept that you caused the wounding
  • whether you accept you were acting unlawfully
  • whether you were acting in self-defence

You may accept that you committed a serious assault but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge.

you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Am I going to go to gaol for a charge of wounding?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, there is a real risk that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for wounding is 7 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for wounding, the court considers factors such as the severity of the injury inflicted, the circumstances surrounding the offence, the offender’s level of culpability, any mitigating or aggravating factors, the impact on the victim, and the offender’s criminal history and personal circumstances.

Strangulation & Suffocation

  • Strangulation is an offence under section 298 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,000.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with grievous bodily harm, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That the accused impeded another person’s normal breathing, blood circulation, or both, by manually, or using any aid blocking, completely or partially, another person’s nose, mouth or both; or applying pressure on, or to, another person’s neck.
  2. That the conduct was unlawful.

What does ‘strangulation’ mean?

In legal terms, ‘strangulation’ refers to the act of intentionally impeding the breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure to the neck or throat.

What does ‘suffocation’ mean?

‘Suffocation’ refers to the act of depriving someone of air or oxygen, leading to difficulty breathing or unconsciousness.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept the complainant’s breathing or blood circulation was impeded
  • whether you accept that you caused the impediment
  • whether you accept you were acting unlawfully
  • whether you were acting in self-defence

You may accept that you committed a serious assault but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as common assault.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Am I going to go to gaol for a charge of strangulation or suffocation?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is possible that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for strangulation with intent is 7 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for strangulation or suffocation, the court considers factors such as the severity of the offence, the intent behind the act, any injuries inflicted on the victim, the level of harm caused, the offender’s criminal history, personal circumstances, mitigating or aggravating factors, and the goals of deterrence and rehabilitation.

Act/Omission Causing Bodily Harm

  • Act or omission causing bodily harm or danger is an offence under section 304 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • It can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,000.
  • An offence of act or omission, with intent to harm, causing bodily harm or endangering health, life or safety of a person is a strictly indictable offence. It must be finalised in the District Court, but still commences in the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with act or omission causing bodily harm or danger, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That you omitted to do an act / did an act
  2. That the act was the accused’s duty to do
  3. That the omission / act caused bodily harm to a person or the life, health or safety of any person was likely to be endangered
  4. If you intended to do harm (otherwise you can still be convicted of an act/omission causing bodily harm)

What does ‘act’ mean?

“Act” typically refers to a voluntary physical action or conduct taken by an individual that results in a particular outcome or harm to another person.

What does ‘omission’ mean?

An “omission” refers to the failure to act or perform a required duty or obligation when there is a legal duty to do so. Omission can be just as legally significant as an action, particularly when it results in harm or injury to another person.

What does ‘intent’ mean?

As to intent the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt as to two things; first that you were capable of forming an intention to do the victim harm and second that you actually formed such an intention.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether the injury amounts to bodily harm
  • whether you accept that your did an act or made an omission
  • whether you accept that your act or omissions caused bodily harm
  • whether you had an intention to harm the complainant
  • whether you were acting in self-defence.

You may accept that you committed a serious assault but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as act or omission causing bodily harm without intent to harm.

you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Am I going to go to gaol for a charge of Act/Omission Causing Bodily Harm?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is possible that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for act/omission, with intent to harm, causing bodily harm is 20 years imprisonment or 7 years imprisonment if there is no intent to harm, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for an act or omission with intent to harm causing bodily harm, or for causing bodily harm without intent, the court considers factors such as the severity of the harm caused, the intent behind the act, any aggravating or mitigating factors, the offender’s criminal history and personal circumstances.

Unlawful Assault Causing Death

  • Unlawful assault causing death is an offence under section 281 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $36,000.
  • An offence of unlawful assault causing death is a strictly indictable offence. It must be finalised in the District Court, but still commences in the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Having a strong lawyer in your corner can significantly improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case, whether through dismissal of charges, acquittal, or mitigation of penalties.

If you have been charged with unlawful assault causing death, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That you assaulted the deceased individual
  2. That the assault was unlawful
  3. That the deceased died as a direct or indirect result of the unlawful assault by the accused

You are still criminally responsible even if the person does not intend or foresee the death of the other person and even if the death was not reasonably foreseeable.

What does ‘unlawful assault’ mean?

An assault is considered unlawful when it is not done in self-defense, defense of others, or in accordance with other legally recognised justifications or excuses.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you assaulted the deceased
  • whether you accept that your assault, indirectly or directly, caused the individual to die
  • whether you were acting in self-defence or provoked

You may accept that you committed a serious assault but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, it is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q. Am I going to go to gaol for a charge of unlawful assault causing death?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is very likely that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for unlawful assault causing death is 20 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol, or to persuade the court to reduce the length of the gaol sentence.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for unlawful assault causing death, the court considers factors such as the severity of the assault, the resulting death, the level of culpability of the offender, any aggravating or mitigating factors, the offender’s criminal history, personal circumstances, and the goals of deterrence, rehabilitation, and ensuring justice is served.

Further advice:

This blog is intended to provide general information about matters that often come before the court and is not legal advice. For legal advice about this offence or any other criminal offence, please reach out to us and speak to one of our lawyers on (02) 9696 1361 (Sydney) or (02) 5104 9640 (Canberra) or by email at info@hugolawgroup.com.au

Why Choose Hugo Law Group to Defend You

Hugo Law Group is a law firm that is focused on protecting and defending your rights. Drawing on decades of experience, our team of criminal lawyers will guide you through the legal process, providing comprehensive, honest and strategic advice – qualities that give us our renowned reputation.

Whether you want to plead not guilty, you are looking to secure the best possible sentence, or a loved one wants to apply for bail, it is essential to have an experienced team of criminal defence lawyers in your corner.

Seeking comprehensive and practical advice at an early stage will best ensure your rights and interests are protected. Our lawyers will properly prepare and present your case to assist you in getting the best possible outcome.

Contact

At Hugo Law Group, we will clearly explain what your rights and obligations are so that you can make informed decisions about how to deal with the police and the court process.

Even if you have not yet been charged with a criminal offence, you should seek advice from a lawyer at an early stage to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Hugo Law Group is the market leader in criminal defence law, providing exceptional representation to people facing serious criminal charges.

As leaders in criminal defence, we know that every story has two sides. We defend yours.

Get in contact with us today or feel free to call us at 02 9696 1361 (Sydney), 02 5104 9640 (Canberra), or 08 6255 6909 (Perth) and find out how we can help you.