Being charged with serious assault in Queensland

Assault is broadly defined in Queensland, with many different behaviours held to constitute assault. These behaviours commonly include:-

  • Hitting;
  • Kicking;
  • Pushing;
  • Touching; or
  • Applying force of any kind.

There are several different offences relating to assault in Queensland. If no injury is caused, you may be charged with common assault. However, if an injury requires medical assistance, you may be charged with a more serious offence such as Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm (AOBH) or Grievous Bodily Harm. You can find out more information about Common Assault, Common AOBH and Grievous Bodily Harm here.

Serious assault

There are some circumstances in which an assault will be considered a “Serious Assault”, regardless of whether any injury is caused. These circumstances aggravate the assault charge as the victims are assumed to be more vulnerable. Assaulting a person in one of the following situations would constitute serious assault:-

  • a police officer while the police officer is on duty;
  • a person who is over the age of 60 years; and
  • a person someone who relies on a guide dog, wheelchair or other device.

These are some common examples of Serious Assault, however, there are other situations where you might be charged with this offence.

If you have been charged with Serious Assault, you should seek legal advice immediately.

Will I go to jail for Serious Assault?

The maximum penalty for Serious Assault is imprisonment (jail) for 7 years. However, some factors aggravate the charge further and increase the maximum penalty that may be imposed by the Court. These factors include:-

  • spitting or biting a police officer;
  • carrying or pretending to carry a weapon; and
  • causing an injury to a police officer or public officer.

In the above circumstances, the maximum penalty increases to imprisonment for 14 years.

What if the other person assaulted me first?

There are certain circumstances that may give rise to a defence of provocation. This defence may apply if you assaulted a person because you were provoked in a manner that deprived you of your ability to maintain self-control, and you reacted before you were able to regain control.

The defence will only apply in limited circumstances. You should seek legal advice about whether this defence is available to you.

What do I do if I get charged with serious assault?

We recommend you seek legal advice immediately. The charge may result in spending time in jail. It is important that you properly understand your options and any defences or mitigating issues that may be raised prior to proceeding.

You can contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form if you would like to speak to our solicitors regarding serious assault.

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
Solicitor
Criminal Law