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Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Lawyers

Turn the tide and seek expert legal expertise with Faraj Defence Lawyers to help you defend against your Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge.

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Have you been charged with Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

When facing charges as serious as Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH), it's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take. Our seasoned legal team has successfully assisted numerous individuals in similar circumstances, allowing us to offer strategic defence in Assault cases. We recognise that every case is unique, and our expertise ensures that we can tailor our approach to your specific needs and circumstances. 

We are here to guide you through the legal process, providing clarity, comprehensive support, and a steadfast commitment to securing the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you know has been charged with AOABH, reach out to our team and seek expert legal guidance and defence with our specialised assault lawyers at Faraj Defence Lawyers.

Why Choose Faraj Defence Lawyers?

Choosing the right legal representation can make all the difference when facing AOABH charges, as Faraj Defence Lawyers stands out as the optimal choice for defendants seeking expert guidance and unwavering support. So what makes us stand out?


Free initial consultation

We understand the importance of an initial assessment, which is why we offer free consultations to discuss the specifics of your case.


Expert Defence Strategies

We craft meticulous defence strategies aimed at securing favourable outcomes, including aiming and securing Section 10 dismissals & non-convictions.


Unwavering Support and Guidance

Unwavering support and guidance from the beginning to the resolution of your case, ensuring you are informed and empowered throughout.


Negotiation Expertise

Our extensive knowledge on dealing with the prosecution has allowed us to develop expert negotiation strategies that will tip the scales in our favour.


Direct Access to Senior Criminal Lawyer

Direct access to a senior criminal lawyer who will oversee your case. Ensuring your matter is handled with the utmost expertise and attention it deserves.


Fixed Fees and Transparent Pricing

We believe in transparency. Our firm operates on fixed fees, providing clarity on costs from the outset. Eliminating any unexpected financial burdens.

What is the offence of Assault occasioning actual bodily harm?

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, as defined under Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), is a criminal offence that involves intentionally or recklessly causing another person to suffer physical harm beyond mere discomfort or transient pain. In essence, this offence goes beyond a common assault, encompassing situations where the victim sustains injuries that can be objectively identified as ‘actual bodily harm’.

The landmark case of R v Donovan (1938) KB 498 provides important guidance on what constitutes 'Actual Bodily Harm.' According to the ruling, the harm must be, “more than merely transient and trifling”. The court emphasised that while the harm does not need to be permanent, it must surpass the threshold of being minor or fleeting.

Actual bodily harm includes a range of injuries, such as bruises, scratches, cuts, a ‘black eye’, a psychiatric condition, and more. The key element is that the harm caused injuries which are tangible and have somewhat of a lasting effect. The severity of the injuries plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate charges and potential penalties associated with this offence.

What must the prosecution prove

The prosecution are required to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that:

  • That you assaulted the complainant; and

  • As a consequence of that assault, the complainant sustained actual bodily harm.

  • As a consequence of that assault, the complainant sustained actual bodily harm, and

  • Your actions were done without lawful excuse.

Notably, actual bodily harm can also be deemed to have been occasioned where a victim has been injured psychologically in a very serious way, going beyond merely transient emotions, feelings, and states of mind  - however, this only occurs in rare cases.

Actual bodily harm refers to an injury which is less serious than grievous bodily harm. Grievous bodily harm is a ‘really serious’ injury including the destruction (other than in the course of a lawful abortion) of the foetus of a pregnant woman, any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, and any grievous bodily disease.

Whilst the prosecution are required to prove that you intentionally or recklessly assaulted the complainant, there is no need to prove that you intended to cause actual bodily harm.

Penalties for Assault occasioning in bodily harm

The maximum penalty for AOABH in NSW is five years imprisonment. However, the actual penalty imposed by the court will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

In determining the appropriate penalty, the court will consider factors such as the seriousness of the harm caused to the complainant, the level of violence used by the defendant, and any aggravating or mitigating factors.

The offence is considered aggravated where it is committed in the company of another person or persons. In this case, it carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

However, AOABH (including if in company) is a ‘table 2’ offence which means that it will be dealt with in the Local Court unless the prosecution elects for the matter to proceed to the District Court.

In practice, this means that the matter will regularly be dealt with in the Local Court.

In the Local Court, the maximum penalty is limited to 2 years imprisonment and/or a $5,500 fine.

Apart from a full-time custodial sentence, you may also be eligible for the following penalties:

  • S10(1)(A) dismissal.

  • Conditional release order without conviction.

  • Conditional release order with conviction.

  • Fine.

  • Community corrections order.

  • Intensive corrections order.

It is important to work with your lawyer to prepare your case properly to give yourself the best chance to avoid any custodial sentence or receive a non-conviction penalty.During a sentence for AOABH, the court will consider the degree of violence involved in an assault.

It has been held that an offence may be objectively serious due to the nature of the assault notwithstanding minor injuries occasioned.


  • Self defence

  • You did not assault the complainant (false allegation)

  • You did not intend to assault the complainant, nor did you realise the possibility of inflicting any harm

  • Duress or necessity

  • The injury does not amount to actual bodily harm

  • You did not cause the actual bodily harm

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Let Faraj Defence Lawyers defend your rights

Facing charges of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH) is a serious matter that demands expert legal representation. The consequences of a conviction can have a lasting impact on your life, possibly affecting your current or future employment, negatively impacting future family law proceedings, hindering your ability to travel and change your overall lifestyle. 

Seeking legal representation is not merely a choice; it is a fundamental right aimed at protecting your rights and securing a fair outcome. Our experienced team of legal professionals possess an in-depth understanding of assault laws and have a proven track record in handling cases similar to yours. 

When you choose Faraj Defence Lawyers, you are not just securing legal representation, you are gaining a strategic ally dedicated to protecting your rights and guiding you through every stage of the legal process.

If you or someone you know is charged with Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, don't face the legal system alone. Call us now at (02) 8896 6034 for free advice or book a free initial consultation and seek the expertise of one of our specialised Assault related lawyers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Faraj Defence Lawyers is a Sydney based law firm specialising in criminal and traffic law matters.

What are my options in court for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm?

When facing an AOABH charge in court, you typically have several options to consider, and the best course of action depends on the specifics of your case. Generally you will enter a plea, this involves two options. Either pleading guilty and admitting to the charges put against you or pleading not guilty and allowing your lawyer to fight your case. Here's an overview of the 2 options:

Pleading Guilty
Pleading guilty is an acknowledgment that you accept responsibility for the offence. In the context of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, this may be an appropriate course of action if the evidence against you is substantial, and you, in fact, committed the act. However, it doesn't mean the end of your defence strategy. At Faraj Defence Lawyers, we leverage our expertise to ensure that even in a guilty plea, we advocate for the most favourable sentencing outcome. This may involve presenting mitigating factors to reduce the severity of penalties, aiming for non-conviction sentences such as section 10 dismissals or CRO without conviction, ensuring you leave the courtroom criminal record free.

Pleading Not Guilty
If you believe you are wrongly accused or that there is a valid defence justifying the alleged offence, pleading not guilty is a viable option. This choice initiates a more in-depth legal process where we scrutinise the evidence, challenge the prosecution, and build a robust defence. Faraj Defence Lawyers excels in constructing effective defence strategies that may lead to acquittal or a reduction in charges. Our experienced legal team meticulously examines every aspect of your case, ensuring that your rights are protected and that the prosecution meets the required burden of proof.

How much will it cost to hire a defence lawyer for an AOABH charge?

At Faraj Defence Lawyers, we understand that along with the stress of being charged with an offence, it is often difficult to afford highly experienced lawyers however, we offer fair costs on a fixed fees and flexible payment arrangements to assist our clients.

Can charges of AOABH be dropped or reduced?

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm carries greater severity compared to a common assault charge. However, there is a potential avenue to seek a downgrade of this charge to common assault. This process involves your legal representative submitting "representations" to the police. To determine the viability of downgrading your Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge, reach out to us for assistance.

What should I do if I’m arrested for AOABH?

If you find yourself arrested for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH), it's paramount to remain calm and exercise your right to remain silent. Courts are forced to not consider your refusal to answer any questions as something suspicious or unfavourable towards your case. Refrain from volunteering information to the police without the presence of legal representation. Follow your lawyer's advice diligently, as they navigate the complexities of AOABH charges and work towards securing the best possible outcome for your case. Early legal intervention is crucial, and our team is here to protect your rights and provide expert assistance.

What if this is my first Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge?

Does being a first timer matter? In fact it does! It is essential to note that one mistake does not define your entire life or future, being proactive and well informed is key to significantly impacting the outcome of one's case. Provisions are set in place such as non-convictions penalties which can help first-timers in shaping their lives and receiving a second chance.

Section 21A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act (1999), (3e) lists the mitigating factors courts must take into consideration whilst sentencing, this includes ‘the offender does not have any record (or significant record) of previous convictions,’. This means being a first time offender can make a significant outcome to a case. If it's your first time committing this offence, the judge or magistrate is much more likely to sentence you to a non-conviction penalty meaning that you are able to walk out of the court and live your life criminal record free.Will I go to jail for being charged with AOABH?Which court will I need to attend for an AOABH charge?

Will I go to jail for being charged with AOABH?

This offence does have a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, however this is typically reserved for some of the most serious of cases. The judge or magistrate will look at many factors when deciding whether the appropriate sentence is to send you to jail, this includes looking at elements such as:

  • The severity of the injuries inflicted

  • The level of violence or force involved

  • Whether the assault was conducted intentionally or recklessly

  • Duress or nPresence of aggravating features, such as the offence occurring in the victim's home or in the presence of a child or a person under 18 years of ageecessity

  • Your individual circumstances

  • Your past criminal history

Which court will I need to attend for an AOABH charge?

An assault occasioning actual bodily harm offence falls under the category of a summary indictable offence, specifically listed as a Table 2 offence. This designation implies that the resolution of the charge will occur through either a hearing (in case of a plea of not guilty) or sentencing in the Local Court, unless the prosecution chooses to have the matter finalised in the District Court.

Depending on which court the prosecution elects, if it's a lighter case it will most likely go to the local court, where the maximum jail time for all charges is two years imprisonment. In the legal process, matters related to less severe offences, including AOABH, are usually heard in the Local Court.

Charged with a criminal or traffic offence? First consultation free. Arrange a conference with us today

Book Here