Being charged with a violent crime can have serious consequences whether you meant to commit it or not. Self-defence may be used to reduce charges in most common assault cases. A good defence lawyer may be able to use self-defence claims to reduce the charges or the penalties if you’ve been found guilty of a crime such as assault.
What Is Assault?
It is important to define assault as so many people get the terms assault and battery confused. An assault involves touching, moving, striking, or threatening to do these things to someone without his or her consent or obtaining consent in a fraudulent manner. It can also include a bodily act or gesture that makes someone feel uncomfortable, that injures him or her without consent, or that isn’t justified by law.
Types of Assault
In Western Australia, there are different assault charges.
Common assault involves either threats to someone or minor injuries after someone has been pushed, shoved, or hit. If convicted of this crime, the maximum penalty is 18 months in prison and a $18,000 fine. If the assault is considered aggravated assault, which involves domestic violence, a child being present, or a victim 60 years of age or older, the penalty could increase to three years in prison and $36,000 in fines. A common assault can also be increased to assault with aggravation if the victim was assaulted due to his or her race.
Assault with Bodily Harm
If the victim has signs of the assault on his or her body, such as scrapes, cuts, or bruises, or needs immediate medical attention, then the perpetrator can be charged with assault with bodily harm. The penalty will depend on which court hears the case. If it is taken before Magistrate’s Court, then he or she could receive up to two years in prison and a $24,000 fine.
If the crime involves aggravation, the penalty increases to three years imprisonment and a $36,000 fine. If your case is defended by an assault lawyer in Perth in front of District Court and you’re convicted, the maximum penalty is five years in prison. However, it can increase to seven years if there are circumstances of aggravation.
Grievous Bodily Harm
If someone is seriously injured during an assault, including broken bones, loss of a limb, disfigurement, or death, then the charge will be grievous bodily harm. This case would be heard in District Court and, if you are convicted, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison. However, if the victim was a healthcare worker, court officer, or ambulance driver; the crime involves circumstances of aggravation; or a car was being stolen, the penalty increases to 14 years in prison.
If an assault is against a police officer or public officer in the line of duty, the charge would be serious assault and the penalty is seven years in prison but it can raise to 10 years if a weapon was used or if there was more than one person.
Assault is a serious charge so you need to find an experienced assault lawyer to defend you.