Have you been charged with Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated Assault is a summary offence under section 24 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).
If you have been charged with Aggravated Assault, make an appointment to see one of our experienced criminal lawyers today.
Being found guilty of this charge can result in imprisonment, and you will need to carefully consider some questions before advising the Court whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty.
The term ‘assault’ is defined very broadly in the legislation. Speak to a specialist criminal lawyer before proceeding further.
Read on for further information on the charge of Aggravated Assault, or follow the link for further detailed information about ‘What is an assault?’
Elements of the offence
There are several kinds of aggravated assault under the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) s24.
To prove an aggravated assault, the prosecution must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- The accused was ‘in company’ with any other person or persons and assaulted another person; or
- The accused assaulted another person by kicking or by using any weapon; or
- The accused committed an assault of such an aggravated nature against a male child or a female that it cannot (in the opinion of the court) sufficiently be punished under section 23 for common assault.
The maximum penalty
Aggravated Assault is subject to a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment (Summary Offences Act 1966 s24). While a serious aggravated assault may result in imprisonment, less severe penalties such as a community corrections order or fine can be imposed for less serious offending.
A person convicted before the Magistrates’ Court for common assault (under s23) against a male child (up to 14 years of age) or any female in which the court thinks that the assault is of such an aggravated nature that it cannot sufficiently be punished under s23 is liable to a penalty of 6 months imprisonment (s24). The court can also make any orders to enter into a recognizance and find sureties, in default of which an accused may be imprisoned for up to 12 months.
Where will my case be heard?
Aggravated assault cases are heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria unless there is consent to move the matter to the County Court or Supreme Court to be heard with other more serious matters. The power to move the charge to those Courts exists under section 242 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009.
Questions to consider
Can the prosecution make out their case? Did you assault the victim? In what circumstances? What constitutes an assault? Did you act alone, or was there a co-accused? Do you have a defence? If you are pleading guilty, what can you do to minimise your sentence?
You should discuss your options with an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
What to do next?
Consult an experienced criminal lawyer urgently. If you intend to plead guilty to Aggravated Assault, we can provide advice and prepare a plea with relevant reports and documents to help you avoid a prison sentence or otherwise achieve the best possible outcome.
If you intend to plead not guilty, contact us as soon as possible to arrange a suitable case strategy. You need an experienced lawyer who will consider all relevant evidence, such as CCTV recordings, DNA evidence, and witnesses, and preserve any exonerating evidence.
Consideration of these factors and early intervention by an experienced lawyer will increase the chances of achieving a withdrawal of charges or an acquittal.
Don’t delay your preparation until the last minute, as time and careful planning are essential for a favourable outcome.
The legislation for aggravated assault in Victoria
- (a) Where a person is convicted before the Magistrates’ Court of an assault or battery upon any male child whose age in the opinion of the court does not exceed fourteen years or upon any female, if in the opinion of the court the assault or battery is of such an aggravated nature that it cannot sufficiently be punished under the last preceding section, the person offending shall be liable on conviction to a penalty of 25 penalty units or to imprisonment for six months and the court may (if it thinks fit in any of the said cases) without any further or other charge adjudge any person convicted to enter into a recognizance and find sureties to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a term of not more than six months from the expiration of such sentence.
(b) In default of compliance with any such order to enter into a recognizance and find sureties the court may order an accused to be imprisoned until he complies with the order:
Provided that no person shall be imprisoned for non-compliance with any such order for a longer period than twelve months.
- Any person who in company with any other person or persons assaults another person shall be liable to imprisonment for twelve months and any person who by kicking or with any weapon or instrument whatsoever assaults another person shall be liable to imprisonment for two years.