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Assaulting or Resisting Police

In Victoria, Assaulting or Resisting Police is in section 31(1)(c) of the Crimes Act 1958 Vic, and is the apprehension of contact or resisting an arrest.

Have the Police accused you of Assaulting or Resisting Police? Contact us to arrange a time to speak with one of our specialist criminal lawyers. One of our experienced lawyers will help you by answering your legal questions during a private consultation.
 
Our criminal lawyers specialise in allegations of Assaulting or Resisting Police and have achieved great outcomes in the past for our clients.

Police interview
Before you speak with the Police, you should contact us to receive confidential and privileged advice. We can answer your important questions such as – should I make a statement to Police? Should I attend a Police interview? Will the Police leave me alone if I explain my side of the story? Will I be remanded?

You must realise that anything you tell the Police without legal advice can make running a defence in Court more difficult later on.

Our lawyers can also attend the Police station with you if you feel more comfortable having someone on your side present with you. Police interviews can be a tough experience.

Pleading not guilty
In defending an allegation of Assaulting or Resisting Police, you want a proactive lawyer who will ask Police for disclosure material such as:

  • CCTV footage,
  • Outstanding witness statements,
  • Police notes,
  • Body-cam footage.
The answer to these questions can lead to Prosecutors withdrawing an Assaulting or Resisting Police charge.

We are criminal defence lawyers who specialise in representing people charged with assaults. Our lawyers have achieved great outcomes for people charged with Assaulting or Resisting Police.

Pleading guilty
If you are pleading guilty to Assaulting or Resisting Police, we can prepare a plea strategy for you to get the best outcome. We will refer you to relevant courses, organise expert reports for you and help you gather character references.
Assaulting or Resisting Police is regularly heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
 
Examples of Assaulting or Resisting Police
  • You get into an altercation at a music festival. A policeman intervenes to arrest both of you. You refuse to be arrested and wrestle with him until you are eventually arrested.
  • You are caught riding on the train without a ticket and held by the inspectors until the police arrive. When a policeman arrives you push him and run away.
Our client was charged with Assaulting Police and Resisting Police. He was initially represented by other lawyers and received a conviction and fine. Our client sought our help to appeal against the harshness of his sentence. The conviction meant he may have lost his job, and our client felt that the Police had treated him unfairly and aggressively. He ended up without a conviction, as a result of the appeal.
What is the legal definition of Assaulting or Resisting Police?
The legal definition of Assaulting or Resisting Police is assaulting and resisting the police while they are arresting you, or encouraging another person to do so.

Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 31(1)(C) of the Crimes Act 1958.

Elements of the offence
  1. A person who—
      1. assaults or threatens to assault a person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detention of a person—
    is guilty of an indictable offence.

What are some of the possible defences to an Assaulting or Resisting Police charge?
  • The Police were arresting you unlawfully, so you were acting in self defence.
  • Someone else Assaulted or Resisted Police.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Can they prove the police were lawfully arresting you?
  • Is there a possibility of mistaken identity?
Did you act in self-defence?

Assaulting or Resisting Police (s31(1)(C) of the Crimes Act 1958) has a maximum penalty of level 6 imprisonment (5 years).
 

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
Assault Police can range from very serious examples of that offence to more minor ones. The penalty depends on the circumstances but Magistrates,understandably, view this charge very seriously.

Sentencing outcomes in the higher courts
There were 70 charges of Assault, Threaten, Resist or Intentionally Obstruct Police or Emergency Worker – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) that were heard in the higher courts of Victoria from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018. Most of these charges resulted in Imprisonment (78.6%).

Other penalties imposed include Community Correction Order (14.3%), Youth Justice Centre Order (2.9%), Fine (2.9%), and Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal (1.4%).

Of the prison terms imposed, 61.8% were below 1 year. The longest term was between 3 and 4 years but this applied in only 5.4% of the charges that led to imprisonment.

For Community Correction Order (CCO), the most commonly imposed term was between 1 and 2 years (40% of all CCO terms). The longest term was between 4 and 5 years (20%).1

Sentencing outcomes in the Magistrates’ Court
In the Magistrates’ Court, there were 8 forms of the offence of Assaulting or Resisting Police that were heard within the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2019.

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Assault Emergency Worker
Number of Cases: 950 (1,256 charges)

  • Imprisonment – 46.3%
  • Community Correction Order – 25.2%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 15.6%
  • Fine – 11.9%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.6%
  • Other – 0.4%
Most Common Prison Term: < 3 months (32.5% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 36+ months (1.3%)
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (of charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (7.9%, non-aggregate2

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Assault Police Officer
Number of Cases: 541 (690 charges)

  • Imprisonment – 28.4%
  • Community Correction Order – 27.7%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 23.6%
  • Fine – 18.8%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 1.3%
Most Common Prison Term: < 3 months (31.9% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 36+ months (0.6%)
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (72.3% of charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (5.8%, non-aggregate)3

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Assault Protective Services Officer
Number of Cases: 86 (114 charges)

  • Community Correction Order – 39.5%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 28.1%
  • Imprisonment – 20.2%
  • Fine – 11.4%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.9%
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (46.7% of charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (6.7%, non-aggregate)
Most Common Prison Term: < 3 months (43.5% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 18 < 24 months (4.4%)4

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Resist Emergency Worker
Number of Cases: 786 (959 charges)

  • Imprisonment – 44.6%
  • Community Correction Order – 26.9%
  • Fine – 14.3%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 11.7%
  • Other – 2.1%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.4%
Most Common Prison Term: < 3 months (33.5% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 36+ months (1.0%)
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (72.9% of charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (4.3%, non-aggregate)5

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Resist Police Officer
Number of Cases: 492 (595 charges)

  • Imprisonment – 30.6%
  • Community Correction Order – 25%
  • Fine – 21.5%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 21.9%
  • Other – 0.7%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.3%
Most Common Prison Term: < 3 months (33.0% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 36+ months (1.7%)
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (68.5% of charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (8.7%, non-aggregate)6

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Resist Protective Services Officer
Number of Cases: 71 (81 charges)

  • Imprisonment – 24.7%
  • Community Correction Order – 34.6%
  • Fine – 19.8%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 21%
Most Common Prison Term: 6 < 12 months (42.9% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 24 < 36 months (4.8%)
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (75.0% of all charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (10.7%, non-aggregate)7

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – Threaten to Assault Emergency Worker
Number of Cases: 100 (129 charges)

  • Imprisonment – 51.9%
  • Community Correction Order – 27.9%
  • Fine – 10.1%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 6.2%
  • Other – 3.9%
Most Common Prison Term: 3 < 6 months (38.6% of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 24 < 36 months (3.5%)
Most Common CCO Term: 12 < 18 months (75.0% of all charges that led to non-aggregate CCOs)
Longest CCO Term: 24+ months (2.8%, non-aggregate)8

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 31(1)(b) – threaten to assault police officer
Number of Cases: 49 (58 charges)

  • Fine – 25.9%
  • Imprisonment – 24.1%
  • Community Correction Order – 31%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 19%
Most Common Fine: $2,000 < $3,000 (33.3% of charges that led to aggregate fines, 6.7% for non-aggregate)
Highest Fine: $3,000 < $4,000 (6.7%, aggregate)
Most Common Prison Term: < 3 months and 6 < 12 months (28.6% respectively of cases that led to imprisonment)
Longest Prison Term: 18 < 24 months (14.3%)9


[1] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SACStat Higher Courts – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – assault, threaten, resist or intentionally obstruct police or emergency worker.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/higher_courts/HC_6231_31_1_B.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[2] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – assault emergency worker.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[3] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – assault police officer.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.2.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[4] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – assault protective services officer.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.3.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[5] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – resist emergency worker.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.4.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[6] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – resist police officer.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.5.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[7] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – resist protective services officer.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.6.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[8] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – threaten to assault emergency worker.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.7.html (accessed April 22, 2020).
[9] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic): s 31(1)(b) – threaten to assault police officer.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/6231_31_1_b.8.html (accessed April 22, 2020).