Charged with Assault or Causing Injury?
You do not have to physically assault someone to be charged with assault, causing a person to fear being injured is enough to be charged with assault.
There are a number of different charges that you may face depending on the facts of your matter:
- Assault, Unlawful Assault and Common Assault
- Affray (a violent disturbance of the peace)
- Recklessly Causing Injury
- Intentionally Causing Injury
- Recklessly Causing Serious Injury
- Intentionally Casing Serious Injury
It is common to be charged with more than one of the above due to the same incident. If pleading guilty, you can often negotiate to plead to one of the lower level charges, which will help your result.
What is the Difference Between Injury and Serious Injury?
- physical injury or
- harm to mental health
whether temporary or permanent.
"serious injury" means:
- an injury (including the cumulative effect of more than one injury) that
i. endangers life or
ii. is substantial and protracted or
- the destruction, other than in the course of a medical procedure, of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm.
What is the Difference Between Recklessly and Intentionally Causing Injury?
To prove Intentionally Causing Injury the Prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that at the time of the acts that caused the complainant’s injury, you intended to injure the complainant. It does not matter if you did not intend the actual injury suffered, only that you intended to injure them.
To prove Recklessly Causing Injury the Prosecution must prove, that at the time of the acts that caused the complainant’s injury, you were aware that those acts would probably result in the complainant being injured, but decided to go ahead anyway.
There are a number of possible defences, some common ones are set out below.
Self-Defence – where you believed that the conduct was necessary in self-defence and the conduct was a reasonable response in the circumstances as you perceived them.
Consent – such as in boxing or martial arts.
Mistake of Fact – where you did the act under an honest mistake of fact, and that mistake shows you had no intention to commit an offence arising from the conduct.
Duress – if you reasonably believed a threat of harm had been made that would be carried out unless the offence was committed; and carrying out the conduct was the only reasonable way that the threatened harm could be avoided; and the conduct was a reasonable response to the threat.
Mental Impairment - if at the time you committed the act, you were suffering from a mental impairment that had the effect that you either did not know the nature and quality of what you were doing or did not know that your conduct was wrong.
Lower level assault charges such as unlawful assault will often result in a Fine or Community Corrections Order. A Diversion Order or Good Behaviour Bond may also be possible in less serious cases. Depending on the facts of your case and your prior criminal record, a term of imprisonment is also a possibility in some cases.
The more serious assault related charges such as recklessly or intentionally causing serious injury have a greater chance of you being sent to prison.
The facts of your case such as how a fight started or your state of mind at the time of the offence are important to your penalty. For example, if you were suffering from stress or depression; whether you cooperated with Police; how you have behaved since the offending such as getting psychological help or drug or alcohol counselling; and if you have shown genuine remorse are all relevant to the penalty you will get. The facts of your case such as how or why a fight started are also important. It is highly recommended that you explore these issues with the help of a lawyer.