Have you been charged with Common Assault also known as Unlawful Assault?
Common Assault is a summary offence. It is confusing because it is often referred to as an ‘unlawful assault’ in Victoria but the title in the Summary Offences Act 1966 is, ‘Common Assault’. Being found guilty of this charge can result in a fine or even imprisonment, and you will need to carefully consider some questions before advising the Court whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty.
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? You should discuss your options with an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Read on for further information on the charge of Common Assault, or follow the link for further detailed information about what is an assault.
Common Assault – The offence
Section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966, common assault.
The prosecution must prove:
The defendant unlawfully assaulted or beat another person.
Common Assault (unlawful assault) – The maximum penalty
15 penalty units or imprisonment for 3 months.
Where will my case be heard?
Unlawful assault cases can only be 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.
Questions to consider
Do you have a defence?
If you are pleading guilty, what can you do to minimise your sentence? The term ‘assault’ is defined very broadly in the legislation. Speak to a specialist criminal lawyer before proceeding further.
What to do next?
Consult an experienced criminal lawyer urgently.
Don’t delay your preparation until the last minute, as time and careful planning is essential for a favourable outcome.
If you have been charged with Common Assault make an appointment to see one of our experienced criminal lawyers today.
Section 23 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.