Aggravated indecent assault is  an indecent assault which involves one or more ‘circumstance of aggravation.’

The offence was replaced in December 2018 by ‘aggravated sexual touching’.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

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 four circumstances of aggravation are:

1. Where two or more people were present at the time of the alleged offence,

2. Where the complainant is under your authority,

3. Where the complainant has a cognitive impairment, or

4. 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’ of the offence, although you may still be found guilty of the less serious offence of indecent assault.

Some commonly raised defences in relation to aggravated sexual assault include:

  • Consent (will not be available as a defence where the victim was under 16 or  where the victim was intellectually disabled and could not give consent)
  • Where there was a proper medical purpose
  • Where you were coerced or threatened into committing the aggravated indecent assault (duress)
Pleading Guilty

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:

What Does the Law Say About Aggravated Indecent Assault?

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 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.

3. Where the complainant has a cognitive impairment:

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.

54 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 finalised 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 Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases. Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial. Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.

    We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia. Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities. We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running. The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004. We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.

    Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers. We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court. This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases. And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists. All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005. An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field. Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet. The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’. Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide. Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes. A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state. Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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