– section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966
Common Assault is used when the police think you have unlawfully assaulted or physically beaten another person.
Examples of Common Assault
- Without provocation, someone punches a stranger in the head at the local supermarket.
- A bouncer punches a patron in the head for deliberately throwing a full glass of wine on the floor.
Our client was a bouncer and had a recent conviction for hitting a patron with an open hand. Following the conviction, our client came to see us. After reviewing the evidence, we advised our client to file an appeal against conviction. Following the appeal, the Judge dismissed the charges and ordered the police to pay our client’s costs.
What are some of the possible defences to a Common Assault charge?
- You were acting in self-defence.
- You did not assault anyone.
- You never intended to assault anyone.
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
- How can they prove it wasn’t a case of self-defence?
- How can they prove the offender’s identity?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for Common Assault is imprisonment for 3 months or a fine of 15 penalty units ($2,331.90).
Common Assault is a summary offence which will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
“Were you acting in self-defence? “
What is the legal definition of Common Assault?
In legal terms, Common Assault means assaulting or physically beating another person without a legal excuse.
The section that covers this offence is section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966.1
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
Sentencing is different depending on what court it is heard in.
If in Magistrates’ Court
If in County Court
Other Important Resources
- Sentencing Trends for Violent Offenders in Australia
- Victims of Assault in Victoria (2010)
- VCC summaries – common assault: Sentencing decisions from 1 January 2016 to 31 August 2016
- Victorian Judicial College Criminal Charge Book: Common Assault
- Indecent Assault – Accused With Dementia
- Assault – Charge Withdrawn
- Unlawful Assault and Criminal Damage – Community-Based Order
- Unlawful Assault and Other Charges – Fine Without Conviction, Some Charges Withdrawn
- Unlawful Assault – Charge Dismissed and Police Ordered to Pay Client’s Costs
 Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 23
Penalty: 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three months.