Being charged with aggravated indecent assault can be a difficult and stressful experience for yourself and your loved ones. But with the right lawyers on your side, you may be able to have your case dismissed and avoid a conviction altogether!
Aggravated indecent assault is similar to the offence of ‘indecent assault,’ however it is more serious as it involves ‘circumstances of aggravation.’
Your Options in Court
It can be confronting being charged with aggravated indecent assault, especially when you believe that you are innocent.
However, before you can be found guilty of aggravated indecent assault, the prosecution must prove the four elements of indecent assault, as well as at least one of the below ‘circumstances of aggravation.’
The five circumstances of aggravation are:
1. Where two or more people were present at the time of the offence
2. Where the complainant is under 16 years of age
3. Where the complainant is under your authority
4. Where the complainant has a serious intellectual disability
5. Where the complainant has a serious physical disability
If the prosecution fails to prove each of the elements of indecent assault, as well as at least one ‘circumstance of aggravation,’ you will be found ‘not guilty.’
If you feel that you should be found ‘not guilty,’ you should speak to one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers. We can push to have the charges dropped at an early stage, or, if your matter ends up in court, we can give you the best possible representation to secure a positive outcome in your case.
Our lawyers specialise in sexual offences and can also advise you of any defences that you may raise in court which, if accepted, can result in the charges being dismissed.
Some commonly raised defences in relation to aggravated sexual assault include:
If you don’t want to contest the charges, you can simply plead guilty to the charges.
This means that you will proceed straight to sentencing, which is where the magistrate determines the appropriate penalty.
In many cases, pleading guilty at an early stage can help you get a better outcome as it will show to the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. The magistrate may therefore be inclined to impose a more lenient penalty.
However, you should always speak to an experienced criminal lawyer before pleading guilty, as there may be some way that you can fight the charges.
If you’ve been charged with aggravated indecent assault, you might be wondering what kind of penalties you could be facing if you are found guilty.
The maximum penalty for aggravated indecent assault is 7 years imprisonment, or 10 years imprisonment where the complainant is under the age of 16.
However, these penalties are usually reserved only for the most serious cases. Often, our experienced criminal lawyers can help you obtain a lesser penalty by presenting the facts and circumstances of your case in a more positive light.
We can also push to have the matter heard in the Local Court, where the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.
The types of penalties that may apply include:
Often, the law is difficult to understand, and you might feel confused about how a charge can impact your life and your future.
We have included some information below to assist you in understanding the charges as well as the types of penalties that you may face.
What are ‘circumstances of aggravation?’
‘Circumstances of aggravation’ are factors which make the indecent assault more serious.
The five circumstances of aggravation are:
1. Where two or more people were present at the time of the offence:
The prosecution must show that there was at least one other person physically present at the time of the offence, and that they shared a common purpose with the accused.
The court will consider the effect of the group as a whole in committing the act or intimidating the victim.
It won’t be enough to show that a second person participated in the offence without being physically present – for example, where someone acted as a lookout or assisted in planning the offence.
2. Where the complainant is under 16 years of age:
In these situations, you can’t use the complainant’s consent as a defence. The maximum penalty will also increase to 10 years imprisonment.
3. Where the complainant is under your authority:
This involves cases where the complainant was under your care, supervision or authority, for example, where you are the complainant’s carer, baby-sitter, teacher, or even an employer.
4. Where the complainant has a serious intellectual disability:
This includes cases where the complainant had ‘below average intellectual function,’ which meant that they required assistance and supervision with daily activities.
Examples of ‘intellectual disabilities’ may include cases where the victim has a developmental disorder, a neurological disorder, dementia, a severe mental illness or a brain injury.
5. Where the complainant has a serious physical disability:
While the Act does not define ‘physical disability,’ it has generally been take to refer to a physical impairment or defect which may arise from an accident or condition at birth and affects the complainant’s quality of life.
What penalties could I face?
As discussed above, if you are found guilty of aggravated indecent assault, you may face various penalties ranging from a good behavior bond to full-time imprisonment.
Statistics show that the most common penalty for aggravated indecent assault is imprisonment.
For cases that were finalized in the Local Court, the average term of imprisonment was 12 months and 3 weeks with an average non-parole period of 8 months.
In higher courts the average prison term was 2 years and 11.5 months, with a non-parole period of 1 year and 6.5 months.
While these penalties may seem harsh, remember that you can increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome by engaging our specialized assault lawyers, who have the experience and knowledge to best assist you.
Call us now on (02) 9261 8881 to discuss how we can help you win your indecent assault case.
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?
If you’ve been charged with a sexual offence like aggravated indecent assault, it’s important to ensure you get the right legal team on your side.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, our specialist lawyers have a wealth of experience dealing with all types of sexual offences, including aggravated indecent assault. In many cases, we’ve been able to get charges dropped before matters even go to court, sparing you the stress of dealing with a jury trial or defended hearing.
If you wish to plead guilty, we also have a strong track record of getting ‘section 10’s’ – where no conviction is recorded, allowing you to get on with your life without the matter affecting your work and travel plans.
Many of our clients come to us from other lawyers who have told them that their case is ‘unwinnable’ and that they are looking at a prison term. We take pride in winning difficult cases when other lawyers have given up – just read our testimonials to see how we’ve helped turn our client’s lives around.
We also understand that being charged with an offence can affect your financial security, which is why we offer our clients fixed-fee rates for many matters, as well as a FREE first consultation to discuss your case.
So don’t waste time and money talking to inexperienced lawyers – call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and arrange a first free appointment to discuss your case.