What is the law on a ‘One-Punch Hit’?

What is a ‘One-Punch Hit’?

This term was largely invented by the media to describe when a person has become intoxicated and hit someone, causing them to fall, strike a hard surface like a sidewalk  or footpath pavement and suffer a brutal injury.
The ‘One Punch hit’ is the new trend on changing laws in NSW, for a emerging issue in our courts, legal system and the influence of the media.
NSW laws have recently been amended to address the issue of assaults resulting from what has been labelled the ‘one punch hit’.

The media and courts have latched onto this term, to promote awareness to the public about the fatal consequences of the one punch hit.
Sadly, case studies show that the ‘one punch’ can result in a person making contact with a hard surface and the impact of that contact can cause an injury warranting a concussion, fatality or paralysis.
The problem is that a serious injury such as this is not often something the offender will think about – when affected by alcohol.


What is the law on a ‘One-Punch Hit’?

Section 25 “Assault causing death”
Section 25 A (1) of The Crimes ACT NSW  carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 8 years imprisonment.
The elements of the offence are as follows

  • anyone 18 years old (or older)
  • intoxicated
  • a person is guilty if they intentionally hit another person with any part of the person’s body or with an object held by the person
  • the assault causes death
  • if the injuries cause death (this can result from the injuries directly or as a consequence of the injuries)
  • hitting, assault, reckless grievous bodily harm, (in company aggravates the offence), wounding,
  • drug, alcohol, breath, blood tests taken at the time become relevant to the case.
  • Murder, manslaughter charges can be raised.

****Note: A DEFENCE is available if the intoxication was not self induced OR if the accused had a significant cognitive impairment at the time of the offence ****
(*Please note these laws may change in time and are subject to being published with the laws that are relevant at the time. We recommend seeking legal advice)

Also note: DO you think someone has drugged you by placing something in your drink? This can be a defence.
The charges against you must reflect the criminality of the offending behaviour.

Can you go to prison for a One Punch hit?

YES, you can go to jail.

The courts have demonstrated that after some 18 months, they will recognise all kinds of assaults as a one punch hit’ even if the victim has not been hurt badly.
The potential to hurt the victim with serious consequences is something the courts WILL mention.
It is important that your legal representative find out exactly what the victim went through and what injuries they suffered and what happened.
It is also very important to be aware of the level of intoxication you have suffered as abusing alcohol is a risk and can result in you behaving in a way you normally do not behave – or identify with. Your character is an important factor at sentence.

Basically for all intents and purposes, striking someone in a drunken blur can result in causing a serious injury or death.
Other charges can include Assaults. Read more about Assaults and battery here.


Further matters to consider include being banned from certain zones, ie Sydney CityRead more on Long Term Ban Orders (LBTO)

If you need help with any criminal charge or proceedings Contact ETB Legal immediately!
or Call: (02) 9188 9669  Mobile: 0412 915 247




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