Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is a commonly prosecuted offence that involves some actual harm or injury to the victim. This charge has a wide scope from cuts and bruises to serious psychological harm. If you have been charged with this offence, contact the highly experienced assault occasioning actual bodily harm lawyers at Streeton Lawyers.
It is a more serious offence than a charge of common assault, which is reflected in its maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. However, assault occasioning actual bodily harm is mostly dealt with in the Local Court. In the Local Court, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.
It is up to the Prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused caused bodily harm, intentionally or recklessly and without lawful excuse or consent.
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There are a number of defences which may be relevant to your case, including:
- Not intending to assault the victim or recklessly cause harm
- That the injury is not actual bodily harm in the legal sense
As with any offence, even after a finding of guilt, a court can still decide not to record a conviction.
However, this sentencing option is not always appropriate or attainable even if an offender has no prior criminal history due to the serious nature of assault occasioning actual bodily harm offences. A magistrate is required to take into account the following factors when considering whether to impose a conviction:
– The person’s character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition;
– The nature of the offence;
– The circumstances in which the offence was committed; and
– Any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.
In the Local Court, this offence does have a 2-year maximum penalty but there are a number of different ways a magistrate can deal with your case. For the full range of penalties that can be imposed, see our Sentencing Options page.
The penalty that the Magistrate chooses depends on:
– The extent of the injuries caused
– The degree of violence or force
– Whether the assault was committed intentionally or recklessly
– Whether there were any aggravating features, such as whether the offence was committed in the home of the victim or in the presence of a child or person under 18 years of age
– Your personal circumstances
– Your criminal history