Police are generally fair and reasonable when carrying out their duties, however, in some cases they have been known to use excessive force when dealing with members of the public.
In these circumstances, you may react to the excessive force by fighting back or attempting to defend yourself. It can therefore come as a shock to be charged with ‘assaulting a police officer’ in these cases.
But you don’t have to fight the charges alone. At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we have a reputation for consistently defending and winning ‘assault police’ cases by raising issues with excessive police conduct – so you can count on us to protect your innocence.
Your Options in Court
Before you can be found guilty of ‘assault police,’ the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
You acted in a way that caused a police officer to fear immediate and unlawful personal violence OR that you touched a police officer without their consent;
- The police officer did not consent to your actions
- You acted either intentionally or recklessly
- You did not have a lawful excuse for your actions
- The person who was assaulted was a police officer carrying out their duties
If you believe that the prosecution will be unable to prove each of these factors beyond a reasonable doubt, you may wish to speak to our highly experienced criminal lawyers about pleading ‘not guilty’ and fighting the charges in court.
Our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists have considerable experience dealing with ‘assault police’ matters, and can help you present your case persuasively to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
Our dedicated lawyers will carefully examine all evidence to find problems with the prosecution case, which can help you secure a verdict of ‘not guilty.’
We can also advise you of any defences to explain or justify your conduct, for example:
- Where the police officer was acting with excessive force and you acted to defend yourself (self-defence)
- Where you were threatened or coerced into assaulting the police officer (duress)
- Where your actions were necessary to prevent serious injury or danger (necessity)
- Where the touching was purely accidental – for example, where the contact occurred in a large crowd by mistake.
When it comes to fighting the charges, it is important to ensure that you are represented by a reputable criminal lawyer who can give you the best possible defence in your case.
If you are willing to accept the charges against you, you may wish to plead guilty as soon as possible.
In some cases, this may be beneficial as it will show to the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. Accordingly, you may end up with a lesser penalty.
However, before you enter a plea to any offence, it is important to speak to a reputable criminal lawyer, who can advise whether you can defend the charges to avoid a conviction.
It’s also important to be aware of the maximum penalties that you could face.
The maximum penalties for ‘assault police’ vary based on the circumstances and seriousness of the assault:
|Relevant Section||Offence||Maximum Penalty|
|S 60(1) Crimes Act||Harassing, stalking, assaulting, intimidating or throwing missiles at a police officer while they are carrying out their duties – where no harm is caused to the police officer.||5 years imprisonment.|
|S 60(1A) Crimes Act||As above, where the assault is carried out during a ‘public disorder’ – such as a riot or other disturbance which poses a threat to public safety.||7 years imprisonment.|
|S 60(2) Crimes Act||Harassing, stalking, assaulting, intimidating or throwing missiles at a police officer while they are carrying out their duties – causing actual bodily harm to the police officer (such as bruises or scratches).||7 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 3 years.|
|S 60(2A) Crimes Act||As above, where the assault causing actual bodily harm is carried out during a ‘public disorder’ – such as a riot or other disturbance which poses a threat to public safety.||9 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 3 years.|
|S 60(3) Crimes Act||Harassing, stalking, assaulting, intimidating or throwing missiles at a police officer while they are carrying out their duties – causing grievous bodily harm or wounding (some form of permanent and serious disfigurement)||12 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 5 years.|
|S 60(3A) Crimes Act||As above, where the assault causing wounding or grievous bodily harm is carried out during a ‘public disorder’ – such as a riot or other disturbance which poses a threat to public safety.||14 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 5 years.|
However, these are penalties, which means that they will only apply in the most serious cases.
Our criminal law specialists can help you obtain a more lenient outcome by raising any factors that reduce the seriousness of your actions – for example, by showing that you are a person of good character, or that you have taken steps to reduce your risk of reoffending.
The types of penalties that the court can impose include:
- Section 10
- Good behaviour bond
- Community service order
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Suspended sentence
- Full-time imprisonment
Remember, your best chance at getting a favourable outcome in your ‘assault police’ case is to get an experienced criminal lawyer on your side.
We have an excellent track record of reducing the severity of charges in order to ensure that our clients get the best possible result. So call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and let us help you win your assault police case.
If you’ve been charged with common assault, you may be wondering what the prosecution needs to prove, and what kind of penalties you could face.
We have included some additional detailed information on these topics below.
What does the prosecution need to prove?
To be found guilty of assault, the prosecution must prove certain factors beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) That you acted in a way that caused another person to fear immediate and unlawful personal violence OR that you touched another person without their consent;
The central feature of assault is that your actions must have caused another person to fear some form of personal violence. This means that no physical contact needs to occur in order for there to be an assault.
Furthermore, the threat must be immediate – a verbal threat of future violence will not constitute an assault, for example, ‘I’m going to ruin your life.’
2) That the other person did not consent to your actions
If there is physical contact, then it must be shown to be non-consensual – that is, the other person must not have given you permission to touch them.
3) That you acted intentionally or recklessly
Assault will not include situations where you accidently came into contact with another person, for example in large crowds.
The prosecution must prove that you intended to cause the other person to fear immediate personal violence, or that you did so recklessly; in other words, that you knew that your actions would cause the other person to fear immediate violence.
If your actions were reckless and resulted in physical contact, the prosecution has to prove that you realised that your actions may have resulted in some form of physical contact, however slight.
4) That you did not have a lawful excuse for your actions
It must be shown that you did not have some reasonable and lawful excuse for your conduct. For example, if you tackled someone whilst playing football and it was within the rules of the game, it would not constitute an assault.
What kind of penalties could I face?
The type of penalty that you will face depends on a wide range of factors, including the court that you matter is heard in.
Generally, common assault matters are heard in the Local Court before a magistrate, however in some situations the prosecution may request that the matter be heard in the District Court in front of a judge.
Where your matter is heard in the Local Court, the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment and/or a $2,200 fine.
Where your matter is heard in the District Court, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.
However, these are maximum penalties only, which means that they will only apply in the most serious of cases. In most cases, you will get a much lesser penalty.
Statistics indicate that the most common penalty for common assault was a section 9 good behaviour bond, which is a bond with a criminal conviction, followed by a section 10 bond which is a bond without conviction.
A good behaviour bond means that you must not commit any further offences as long as the bond is in place.
Section 10 bonds can last up to 2 years and section 9 bonds can last up to 5 years.
The bond may also impose additional conditions upon you – for example, you may be prohibited from entering a particular area.
If you breach a bond, you may be called back to court and a more severe penalty may be applied.
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?
Being charged with assaulting a police officer is a serious offence that can put a hold on your plans for the future.
However, with the help of our specialist criminal lawyers, you can fight the charges and move on with your life as soon as possible.
Our expert defence team regularly defends clients in ‘assault police’ matters by presenting evidence to show that your conduct was triggered by police using excessive force.
We are frequently able to have charges dropped at an early stage on this basis – saving you the time and expense of a defended hearing.
In every case, our dedicated lawyers carefully examine all evidence to find issues with the prosecution case, and go above and beyond the call of duty in obtaining witness statements and other material that will assist you if your matter proceeds to court.
Should you wish to enter a guilty plea, you can rest assured that our persuasive advocates will ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case.
For the strongest possible defence in your ‘assault police’ matter, call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and arrange a first FREE conference with one of our expert lawyers.