Four Different Classifications of Assault and Their Penalties

Criminal LawDo you know that assault charges can be brought against you if you intentionally make a threat to a specific person? However, in some states, the threat to kill or injure a person must be accompanied with aggressive action — regardless if it successfully caused harm or not — for the individual to be charged.

Timpano Legal says that every assault case must be analysed and assessed on its merits. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, assault is a direct infliction of violence and/or injury, which includes attempts and threats upon a person.

Classifying Assault

Recent statistics show that the likelihood is higher for males to become the assault victim of a stranger than females, in all age groups. The sentence for this crime varies in classification and seriousness. Different types of assault — common assault, assault causing bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, and sexual assault — have different penalties.

  1. Common Assault – This is the most common case of minor assault. This is the case when a person is threatened and/or receives minor injuries as a result of an argument. Even if no one is harmed, common assault charges can be brought against the perpetrator, which has a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
  2. Assault Causing Bodily Harm – This is a more serious form of assault. If the victim has been attacked and sustains injuries that affect their health, specifically if the person had to be hospitalised due to the attack. The maximum sentence, in this case, is seven years of imprisonment. If the assault was done by more than one person, the imprisonment time increases to 10 years.
  3. Grievous Bodily Harm – An act of grievous bodily harm is a very severe type of assault, wounding or penetrating the skin of the victim and causes bleeding. This case carries the same sentence as an assault causing bodily harm. If the crime involves serious disfigurement, permanent injury, and loss of a distinct part of an organ, the sentence can go up to 14 years of imprisonment.
  4. Sexual Assault – As the name says, this case involves an act of gross indecency or a sexual act carried out by force against the will of the victim. The basic sexual assault has a maximum penalty of 10 years unless a weapon was used or there was more than one criminal. For the latter, the maximum prison sentence is 14 years.
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