What is Aggravated Assault

What is Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault (also known as assault with intent) is an offence under Australian law and can land you in prison for a solid period of time. Assaults and aggravated assaults are extremely common, and the consequences are slightly different on a case-by-case basis. Nonetheless, aggravated assault as with all types of assault is considered a crime against the individual and is not treated lightly. Here’s everything you need to know about aggravated assault.

Aggravated assault and the law

Assault in Australian law can mean a number of different offences or attempted acts against an individual. For example, a person may “touch, strike, move or apply force” against someone without their consent, and regardless of whether any harm was actually done. In Australian law, aggravated assault is covered under respective states and territories criminal law codes, and is often grouped in with other kinds of assault-related offences including:

  • Common assault
  • Unlawful wounding
  • Assault causing bodily harm (battery)
  • Assault causing serious bodily harm (aggravated assault, aggravated battery)
  • Sexual assault

Meaning of aggravated assault in WA law

In Western Australia, Part V of the Criminal Code 1913 regulated assault-based crimes. Aggravated assault (assault with intent) is addressed by section 317A, where someone:

  • assaults another with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime;
  • assaults another with intent to do grievous bodily harm to any person; or
  • assaults another with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of any person

What does “aggravated” mean in terms of a crime?

Aggravation means there are factors in a crime (like assault) that prove there was clear “intent” behind the actions of the perpetrator, and, as such the consequences are raised to account for this aggravation. For example, if someone simply threatened you – that could be assault – but if they threatened you and held a gun to your head – that would be considered aggravated.

What is the difference between basic assault and aggravated assault?

Basic assault (also known as common or simple assault) is when non-consensual use of force, or the threat of force, is carried out against someone. This also includes impeding or accosting someone in a threatening way. Aggravated assault is an assault that is carried out in aggravating circumstances, such as with a weapon, or in front of children. There are also different penalties for both types – basic assault has a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and if actual harm is caused up to 3 years, whereas aggravated assault can result in anywhere up to 7 years imprisonment.

What is the difference between assault and battery?

Assault can be either direct and indirect action taken against an individual. This doesn’t necessarily, however, mean that actual physical harm was done. Battery is when assault actually involves the infliction of unlawful force – resulting in bodily harm. It is possible for one to occur in the absence of the other – for example, there can be battery without assault, and assault without battery.

What is grievous body harm?

Grievous bodily harm is when an extremely serious assault results in the victim acquiring a serious bodily injury that, if left unattended, would cause permanent damage or loss of life. For example, someone’s teeth being knocked out, broken bones, or loss of a finger, or limb. Other serious injuries such as internal bleeding or head injuries also count as grievous bodily harm.

How are the penalties decided for aggravated assault?

Assault cases can vary in terms of seriousness, and the final decision will come down to several different factors.

One of the main considerations a judge or magistrate will look at is the offender’s criminal history. Past offences can drastically reduce the chances of a lighter sentence, especially if the judge deems the offender to be at risk of repeating the crime.

The nature of the offence itself plays perhaps the largest role in determining what penalties are handed down for aggravated assault.

Do I need a lawyer for aggravated assault?

If you are facing criminal charges for aggravated assault it is important you contact a lawyer to discuss your options. Without qualified legal advice, you can find yourself in a compromising legal position with mistakes potentially costing you your freedom.

Getting legal advice in matters concerning assault and aggravated assault will give you the best chance at a fair outcome. For professional legal advice, contact criminal lawyers Perth.