Assault – Assault & Violence Offences – SA
What the Law States according to SA Law for Assault
You assault a person if you:
- intentionally make physical contact with a person, knowing they may object to that contact, or
- threaten, accost or impede another person, with or without physical contact.
The Maximum Penalty – Assault
According to SA Law for the charge of Assault,
The maximum penalty for a basic offence is 2 years imprisonment. If the offence is aggravated, the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment.
An offence is aggravated if you:
- deliberately and systematically inflicted severe pain on the victim
- used, or threatened to use, an offensive weapon
- committed the offence against a police or prison officer
- tried to dissuade a victim from participating in legal proceedings
- knew the victim was under 12 years of age
- knew the victim was over 60 years of age
- committed the offence against a former spouse/partner
- committed the offence against your child or a child of your former spouse/partner
- committed the offence in company with another person
- abused a position of trust or authority
- committed the offence against a disabled person
- committed the offence against a person who was vulnerable because of their employment, or
- committed the offence in contravention of a court order (eg a bail agreement or restraining order).
What the Police must prove according to SA Law for Assault
In order to be convicted of an assault it must be proved that:
- there was physical contact or a threat of some sort
- the act was done intentionally
- you did not have the consent of the other person, and
- the act was outside the boundaries normal of social interaction.
Possible Defences under SA Law – Assault
You may have a defence to the charge if:
- your conduct is accepted in the community as normal social interaction
- the other person consented to your behaviour
- you were acting in self-defence, defence of another or defence of property
- your action was unintentional (for example an accident or an automatism)
- you had a lawful excuse, or
- you had a mental impairment.
Even if it seems that none of the above defences apply to your case, Caldicott & Co solicitors may be able to have your charge withdrawn. For further information and advice please make an appointment with one of the criminal law specialist solicitors at Caldicott & Co.