Criminal Law

Assault Charges QLD

In QLD, what is considered assault?

Assault is the physical application of force (striking, touching or moving), or an attempted or threatened application of force towards someone which causes injury or personal discomfort. The charges for assault are differentiated by a number of factors, including whether the act was done ‘recklessly’ or ‘intentionally’, and the extent of injury caused.

Here we cover some of the examples of assault and the penalties they carry.

Different types of assault:

Common assault:

Common assault is where the other person has sustained only minor injuries or where you have threatened to assault someone.  The maximum penalty for common assault is 3 years.

Assault occasioning bodily harm:

Assault occasioning bodily harm is where the person assaulted has sustained more serious injuries; that is, the offender has caused them actual bodily harm which interferes with their health or comfort. This type of assault carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment. If the offender has, or pretends to have, a weapon the maximum penalty would be increased up to 10 years.

Serious assault:

Serious assault can carry a maximum penalty of 7 years and involves when you:

  • Assault another with an intent to commit a crime, or with the intent to prevent or resist the lawful arrest or detention of themselves or of any other persons.
  • Assault, resist or willfully obstruct a police officer while acting in the execution of their duty or any person acting in aid of a police officer.
  • Unlawfully assault a person while they are performing a duty imposed on them by law.
  • Assault any person in pursuance of an unlawful conspiracy.
  • Unlawfully assault any person 60 years old or older.
  • Unlawfully assault any person who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device.

Sexual assault:

Sexual assault occurs when any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person. They also know that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse, therefore they are liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

Grievous bodily harm:

Grievous bodily harm covers the most serious types of injury, and includes any of the following types of injuries:

  • The destruction of a foetus;
  • Any permanent or serious disfiguring;
  • Any grievous bodily disease;
  • Skull and brain damage;
  • Severe facial, throat and cranial injuries.

These types of injuries are considered ‘serious’ because it is irrelevant whether treatment is or could have been available – the harm is likely to cause permanent damage, therefore will face a maximum penalty of 14 years.


Torture is characterised by the intentional – and often repeated – infliction of severe pain or suffering on a person by an act or series of acts. It could involve physical, mental, psychological or emotional pain or suffering that could be either permanent or temporary. Torture would face a maximum imprisonment penalty of 14 years.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible.

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