Assault is a serious crime throughout Australia and assaulting a police officer is arguably one of the most serious crimes you can commit. If you’ve been charged with assaulting a police officer, the first thing you should do is enlist the services of an experienced criminal lawyer with a strong reputation.
Failing to do this could result in serious penalties. Even if you do use a decent lawyer you might still be convicted, but your sentence/financial penalty should be less. In the rest of this article we should look at a few of the things you should do if you’ve been charged with assault of a police officer (or some variation of the charge). We’ll also look at some of the likely penalties associated with these charges.
*Note that this article will focus specifically on the process and outcomes of being charged with assaulting a police officer in Victoria. While the law is similar throughout Australia, you need to make sure that you do you own research.
Under What Circumstances Would I Be Charged With Assaulting A Police Officer?
Well, the charge basically speaks for itself. In Victoria, you could be charged with assault of a police officer under a range of circumstances. The Crimes Act 1958 states that:
“A person who assaults or threatens to assault, resist or intentionally obstructs an emergency worker on duty, knowing or being reckless as to whether the person was an emergency worker is guilty of an indictable offence.”
In short, if you kick, punch, or otherwise obstruct or assault a police officer, you could be charged. This applies both in cases where you might be resisting arrest and where you happen to simply do the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Are There Any Defences For Assaulting A Police Officer?
If you are charged or think that you are likely to be charged with assaulting a police officer, you need to act immediately. Start by getting in touch with a professional criminal lawyer, who will be able to help you build your defence and reduce any possible penalties.
There are two main defences when it comes to arguing your charges they include:
- Arguing that you acted in self-defence or in defence of another person.
- Arguing that you didn’t intend to assault the officer in question or that they have the facts wrong.
If you’re planning on using either of these defences it’s important to make sure that you get your story straight and build a strong argument. That’s where a criminal lawyer can help.
What Are The Penalties For Assaulting A Police Officer In Victoria?
Remember that the penalties and exact laws are different throughout Australia. However, the penalties for assaulting a police officer, depending on the severity of the charge and your success in arguing your case, include:
- Up to 5 years imprisonment
- Community corrections orders
As you can see, these penalties could be quite severe, so it’s important to act sooner rather than later. If you have been or are suspicious that you’re going to be charged, get in touch with a criminal lawyer and start to sort your defences out.