Common Assault

Under Section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 ‘Whosoever assaults any person, although not occasioning actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years.’

The offence described above is known as common assault and occurs when one person assaults another without causing an injury or without causing a serious injury (non-serious injuries are considered to be those which require little or no medical intervention).

Common assault is the most typical assault charge.

Examples of common assault include unwanted touching, pushing, squeezing, spitting, and throwing of objects with the intent to injure another.

Common Assault can also include verbal threats of violence, but only if there is a possibility that the perpetrator can realistically act on the threats.

In NSW the maximum penalty for Common Assault is 2 years imprisonment. The maximum fine for common assault is up to $2,200.

In NSW the following penalties are usually applied for a common assault charge:

  • Section 10: common assault proven but dismissed
  • Fine
  • Good behavior bond
  • Community Service Order
  • Suspended sentence
  • ICO (intensive correction order)
  • Home detention
  • Prison

To be convicted of a common assault charge, the police must first identify you, beyond reasonable doubt, as being the perpetrator of the assault, then they must prove that you:

  • Struck, touched, applied forced to or threatened another person
  • Were acting intentionally or recklessly
  • Were acting without consent
  • Were acting without a lawful excuse

Depending on the individual circumstances of your case it is possible to defend a charge of common assault. Defences to common assault include Duress, Necessity, and Self-Defence.

Assault Occasioning Actual bodily harm is the charge applied for more serious cases of assault.

If you have been charged with the offence of common assault it is important that you seek expert legal advice immediately. William Vahl of North Shore Criminal Law is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist. He has over 25 years experience appear for people charged with common assault on the North Shore of Sydney. Call (02) 9955 2298 or 0400 4464 24 for immediate help.