Assault Offence Experts | Have you been charged with assault?
Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers are experts in handling assault matters. We regularly appear in court representing clients charged with assault offences. We have offices in Melbourne CBD, Ringwood, Dandenong, Ballarat, Frankston, Geelong, Moorabbin and Werribee and routinely appear at both the Magistrates Court and County Courts in close proximity to these locations representing clients charges with assault.
The consequences of a badly handled case can be far reaching and it is our understanding of the law and processes, coupled with our experience and preparation, that will assure you of the best possible outcome at court.
Our reviews support our claims, so call us and experience first hand what Dribbin and Brown can do for you.
The following information has been prepared to help you better understand the charge/s you are facing and their potential consequences. On the right side of the page (or at the end of the page if viewing from a mobile) we have listed the more common charges routinely laid by the police and below, some answers to frequently asked questions.
If you have been charged with an assault offence, we urge you to call our offices today and arrange an appointment with one of our criminal lawyers.
Assault Charges Information
What is an assault?
An assault is where one person either intentionally or recklessly applies force to another person or where one person intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend that force will be applied, in both these circumstances an assault will have occurred.
Using the above definition, an example would be if one person punched another person in the face, they would be guilty of an assault. If that same person pretended to punch another person in the face and made that person flinch, they would also be guilty of an assault.
Why have I been charged with different types of assaults?
It can be confusing. An assault can take many different forms. In Victoria alone, there are four main separate and distinct charges that incorporate the word assault and this is excluding sexual assault. There is “Assault” found at section 31 of the Crimes Act 1958, there is “Common Assault” (also known as unlawful assault) found at section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966, there is “Aggravated Assault” found at s24 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 and there is “Common Law Assault” (not legislated other than by reference to the penalty at section 320 of the Crimes Act).
There are also charges that have the same elements as an assault but require the extra element of an injury or serious injury to be made out at law. It is not unusual for police to lay assault charges including unlawful assault also known as common assault, assault in company, assault with a weapon, but also accompany those charges with charges that relate to injury being, recklessly causing injury, recklessly causing serious injury, negligently causing serious injury, intentionally causing injury, intentionally causing serious injury, conduct endangering person, conduct endangering life, affray and riot.
It should be noted that although police may lay multiple charges, it is often the case that a number of the charges will be withdrawn as alternatives, determining which charges are alternatives is always a job for an experienced assault lawyer.
I want to plead Not Guilty in relation to an Assault Charge
Assaults are always treated very seriously by the Courts. If you in a position to plead not guilty then this is always in your best interests because you can avoid a penalty and you can keep your record clean. A common avenue when pleading not guilty is to rely upon the defence of self-defence in relation to assault offences. There are other defences available, but self-defence is the most common. Other things to consider when looking whether an assault brief can be defended are as follows;
- If the matter relates to the summary offence of common assault, has the charge been listed within 12 months of the offence date?
- Have the particulars of the charge been correctly laid?
- Did you act in self-defence of defence of another?
- Was the act intentional or accidental
- Was there consent?
Pleading not guilty in the Magistrates Court;
In relation to pleading not guilty in relation to assault charges in the Magistrates Court, upon receipt of the evidence and following communication with the prosecution by your lawyer, it is possible to have a matter withdrawn at a mention or case conference, at a contest mention or at contested hearing. At what stage a matter is withdrawn is different in relation to every case. For more information on pleading not guilty in the magistrates court follow the link, or call our office for a consultation with one of our experienced criminal lawyers.
Pleading not guilty in the County Court
If you are in the County Court and pleading not guilty it means a couple of things, firstly that you are facing very serious charges and secondly that you are heading for a jury trial unless your lawyer is able to get the matter withdrawn at an earlier stage or your lawyer is successful in making a summary jurisdiction application. Indictable matters destined for the County Court will start as a filling hearing in the Magistrates Court and proceed to a committal mention, then to a committal hearing which are both heard in the Magistrates Court and then to a jury trial which is heard in the County Court. If you are listed in this jurisdiction, a plea of not guilty is a far more complicated exercise and you will need to engage an experienced criminal lawyer urgently.
Can I get a Diversion for Assault?
It is possible to get a diversion for assault related matters, for more information on what is a diversion, follow this link, for more information on all the ways to avoid a criminal record, follow this link. To get a diversion in relation to a matter means that there will be no disclosable outcome in relation to the matter. It does involve taking responsibility but in circumstances where you are keeping your record clean. Whether a diversion is appropriate in relation to your matter is only something that can be decided following consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer, if your record is important to you, you should call our office today.
What happens if I plead guilty at Court in relation to assault charges?
- Depending on the seriousness of the circumstances, you may receive a bond, a fine, a corrections order or gaol. If you receive a, bond, fine or a corrections order this can be without conviction. In most circumstances all sentencing options are open for the offence of assault. Every case is different, and it all depends on the level of seriousness, whether there is prior history and whether the sentence is one that attracts a mandatory gaol sentence or is considered a standard offence. For more on sentencing options follow the link.
- Prior to court, your lawyer will have to determine the appropriate charges that should proceed, the police will often lay multiple offences, you will only plead guilty to one or two of these charges. Which charges you plead guilty to is an important decision and must be given careful consideration. For information on the various types of assault charges look to the right of the page.
- At court your lawyer will ensure that you plead guilty to only the appropriate charges and that the inappropriate ones are withdrawn. .
- When pleading guilty to an assault charge there are several factors that could potentially mitigate your actions and, in some cases, remove any criminal culpability at all.
Assault matters often involve multiple parties being charged. In many instances police find it very difficult to prove matters in relation to individual defendants. What may seem straight forward to the lay person, often isn’t.
If you are pleading guilty to assault offences, the importance of engaging a specialist criminal lawyer to assist with charges involving violence cannot be overstated. Dribbin& Brown are accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria as criminal law specialists, so you can be assured that when you engage us you are getting the very best representation.
Which Court will I have to attend on a Plea of Guilty?
The type of charge that you are facing will determine whether you must be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or the County/Supreme Courts. If you are in the Magistrates Court this is called the summary steam. If you in the County or Supreme Courts, this is called the indictable stream. It is very important that your lawyer understands the difference. Sometimes matters that start in the indictable stream can be remitted back to the summary stream and vice versa.
How to avoid a conviction in relation to assault charges
Being found not guilty is not the same as a magistrate or judge not recording a conviction against your name. If what you want to understand all the various ways to avoid a criminal record, follow the link. If you want to understand how to avoid a conviction at court, then read on.
If you are pleading guilty in relation to assault charges you can been sentenced with or without conviction. Before 2021 that didn’t mean a lot as it was the case that whether you were convicted or not, still resulted in you getting a record.
That is now no longer the case with the introduction of the spent conviction legislation. This new legislation means that it is more important than ever to engage lawyers that understand how to make a non-conviction submission in court.
If you are attending court in relation to assault charges, ensure that you engage lawyers that understand how to make a section 8 submission on conviction.
Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers are well versed in making submissions to the court to avoid a conviction, so if having no conviction and ultimately no record is important to you, you should engage one of our experienced criminal lawyers to represent you.
Why engage a lawyer in relation assault charges?
Court can be an intimidating place, particularly for the unrepresented or first-time defendant. The court staff, prosecutors and magistrates are all unfamiliar and none of them have your interests at heart. If there is no one there to stand up for your rights how can you ensure that you achieve a just outcome.
The difference between engaging a lawyer and not engaging a lawyer could be the difference between having a record or going to gaol. Don’t get caught out at Court.
Why Dribbin& Brown?
- Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers have significant experience representing clients charged with assault offences.
- Our lawyers care about what happens to you, and consider all factors relevant to getting you the best outcome.
- We have represented thousands of clients over the years charged with assault offences and it is this experience that counts.
- All our lawyers receive training and attend professional development seminars to ensure they are always across the latest law.
- Don’t take our word for it, read our google reviews, all reviews are from real clients sharing their experience with our lawyers.
If you have been charged with assault, please select the office closest to you and contact us today.