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Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm

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Our Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm lawyers appear in court for assault charges on a daily basis. As such they are well versed in any defences you may have as well as obtaining the best result in sentencing proceedings. Our recent results for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charges bear this out.

Whether you are pleading ‘guilty’ and want to avoid a criminal record (eg. Section 10 dismissal or Section 32 Mental Health application) or are pleading ‘not guilty’ and believe you have a defence, our specialist assault lawyers can provide you with expert advice. One of our strongest attributes is that we know how to get charges dropped or downgraded before your court date.

If you are not sure whether you should be pleading ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ you should read below – or better yet, contact us immediately for a consultation with our accredited specialist criminal lawyer.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

  • PLEADING NOT GUILTY

    What is Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

    Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) defines Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH) as intentionally or recklessly causing another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence and Actual Bodily Harm results.

    This is a ‘Table 2’ offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless the prosecution elects to deal with it in the District Court.

    It is rare for an AOABH charge to be heard in the District Court unless there are associated serious charges being heard in the District Court.

     

    How Do You Beat an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Charge?

    You can beat an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge in two ways. Firstly, Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

    1. You assaulted the victim
    2. That assault caused the victim to suffer ‘actual bodily harm.

     

    Secondly, there are defences that can be used to have you found ‘not guilty’.

     

    What is Actual Bodily Harm?

    Actual bodily harm is an injury which was not merely transient. This may include bruising and cuts. It would not extend to a person feeling fear or panic. However, a severe psychological injury may amount to actual bodily harm.

     

    Contact us now to speak to a specialist criminal lawyer for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. We can provide advice on any defences you may have, including what kinds of injuries would satisfy the definition of actual bodily harm.

     

    What are the Defences to Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

    The following are defences to Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm:

    1. Self-defence: You were defending yourself or another person
    2. Accident: You did not intend to commit any assault. You also did not know that an injury could result from your actions.
    3. Causation: The prosecution cannot prove you caused actual bodily harm.
    4. Identification: The prosecution cannot prove that you committed the offence.
    5. Consent: The alleged victim consented to your actions.
    6. Duress: You were forced to commit the assault.
    7. Necessity: Your actions were necessary in the circumstances

     

    Australia’s best criminal lawyers for assault charges can analyse the case against you to determine the best defence or combination of defences to run. Our clients are consistently found not guilty of assault charges and even have charges withdrawn by Police.

  • PLEADING GUILTY

    Before pleading guilty, you should obtain advice from an experienced criminal lawyer. The reason for this is that once you have entered a plea of ‘guilty’, it becomes very difficult to change your plea to ‘not guilty’. One of our lawyers can peruse the evidence against you and may find a defence which you had not thought of, or be able to downgrade your charge to a less serious charge, such as Common Assault.

    If you have taken advice, you must then begin preparing for sentencing. You can refer to our general guide. However, you will need to speak to specialist assault lawyer for representation in Court and advice specific to your case.

     

    What is the Penalty for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

    Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is a type of assault charge which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years jail if your case is heard in the District Court.

    If you are in company with another person when you commit the offence, the maximum penalty becomes 7 years imprisonment.

    In the Local Court, the maximum sentence for a single offence is 2 years imprisonment.

     

    What are the Possible Sentences for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

    The following are possible sentencing options for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

    1. Section 10 dismissal
    2. Conditional release order without conviction (previously known as Section 10 good behaviour bond)
    3. Fine
    4. Conditional release order with conviction (previously known as Section 9 good behaviour bond)
    5. Community Corrections Order (previously known as Community Service Order)
    6. Intensive Corrections Order
    7. Home Detention Order (no longer used in NSW)
    8. Full Time Imprisonment

     

    Will You Go to Jail for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

    Looking at 2,187 cases in the Local Court over the last 5 years, the statistics for assault occasioning actual bodily harm charges show how difficult it is to avoid a conviction. Less than 10% of sentences resulted in no conviction for Assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The remaining offenders all received convictions and almost 40% of offenders were sentenced to some form of imprisonment. Almost 20% of offenders were sentenced to full-time imprisonment.

    It is plain to see that avoid a conviction is very difficult for this offence. Twice as many people are sentenced to jail than receive a Section 10 dismissal. As such, if you wish to avoid a conviction, you should speak to one of the best assault occasioning actual bodily harm lawyers.

FAQ

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Sentencing for a First Offence?

Below is a list of first offence Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm sentencing cases in the Local Court from October 2013. This will provide a rough guide, but you will need to consult a specialist assault lawyer to get a true opinion of what penalty your case will likely warrant:

  1. Section 10 dismissal: 23%
  2. Fine: 9%
  3. Section 9 good behaviour bond: 51%
  4. Community Service Order: 6%
  5. Section 12 suspended sentence: 6% (no longer used in NSW)
  6. Intensive Corrections Order: 1%
  7. Home Detention: 0%
  8. Full Time Imprisonment: 4%

Can Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Charges Be Downgraded?

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is a more serious charge than common assault. As such, it is possible to have an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge downgraded to common assault. This will involve your lawyer sending Police ‘representations’. If you would like to know whether your Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge can be downgraded, contact us now.

 

Which one is worse ABH or GBH?

Grievous bodily harm (GBH) is more serious than actual bodily harm (ABH).

 

Is Bruising Actual Bodily Harm?

Yes, bruising is actual bodily harm.

 

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Domestic Violence

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is a very common charge in a domestic violence context. Police and the Courts have specific procedures when dealing with domestic violence matters. For example, if you are pleading not guilty, your case will be listed for Hearing even if you have not received a brief of evidence from the Police.

As such, it is important that you speak to a specialist domestic violence lawyer who can guide you through the process. Contact us now to discuss your case with a domestic violence lawyer.

 

Can an alleged victim drop charges?

An alleged victim cannot drop charges against you. This is because it is not the alleged victim who has charged you, it is the Police. Police will usually not drop charges against you, even if the alleged victim does not want you to be charged. This is especially true in a domestic violence context.

If you want to have been charge with a domestic violence offence, you should contact us now to speak to our accredited specialist criminal lawyer. We can immediately begin preparing to defend you and have you found ‘not guilty’.