ACommon assault is the most prevalent offence for minor assault matters. A person who has threatened or inflicted injuries on another person can be charged with this offence.

Section 335 of the Criminal Code 1899 provides that any person who unlawfully assaults another person is guilty of a misdemeanour. A person who is found guilty of this offence is liable to a maximum of three years imprisonment.

There are two essential features of this charge. The first feature is the act or conduct against another person which gave rise to the charge. While the second feature determines whether the act was unlawful, this requires assessing the context in which the act or conduct occurred.

Case Study

In 2018, our firm represented a person charged with common assault. Their conduct against the complainant involved grabbing and pushing without their permission.

We assessed the brief material and made a determination that his actions were not unlawful. The reason being, the complainant in this matter had entered our clients property and had refused to leave.

This point was articulated in a submission with reliance on defence provisions contained in the criminal code. Our submission was successful and charge against our client was withdrawn.


There are a range of defences available to people who have been charged with common assault. While they may have committed the act, or conducted themselves in such a way to constitute assault, it does not necessarily mean they are guilty.

Possible defences may include self-defence, duress, intoxication, trespassing and provocation. Provocation is the most common defence raised. To raise this defence, the defendant will need to show that the complainant had deprived them of the power of self-control and that they acted before there was time before their passions to cool.  However, it is necessary to establish that the force used was proportionate to the provocation and that the force used was not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm.

If You Have Been Charged

A charge of common assault can vary significantly from one person to another. As such, the charge should be assessed by a criminal lawyer to assist you in determining the best way forward.

Brisbane Criminal Lawyers is a firm which practices exclusively in criminal law and offers new clients a free initial consultation. The purpose of this consultation is to provide you with advice and a free costs estimate before your matter goes to court.

If you have been charged with common assault, call our team on 1800 200 357 today.

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