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Assault On Police Officer

Potts Lawyers > Criminal Law  > Assaults and Violence Offences > Assault On Police Officer

Assault on a Police Officer refers to the criminal act of physically attacking, resisting or obstructing a law enforcement officer while they are performing their official duties.  The law encompasses various situations, including assaults with intent to commit a crime, to resist or prevent lawful arrest or detention, or assaults related to the execution of duty by a police officer or those acting in support of an officer. It also covers cases of assaulting individuals involved in the lawful execution of property processes.

It’s important to note that not knowing the person assaulted was a police officer is not a valid defence. The offence of assaulting a police officer is considered a serious crime, carrying a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment and is heard in the District Court as an indictable matter.

Below we outline the offence of Assault On Police Officer as per the Criminal Code as well as what the police must prove, penalties you may face if found guilty of this crime, and legal defences.

For information and advice specific to your matter, it’s recommended you speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. Call our 24-hour crime line now on 0488 999 980 for a free case evaluation or submit an enquiry online.


What the law says about Assault on a Police Officer

Sections 340 (1) of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

Any person who

  •  assaults another with intent to commit a crime, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or herself or of any other person; or
  •  assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs a police officer while acting in the execution of the officer’s duty, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting: or
  •  unlawfully assaults, resists, or obstructs, any person engaged in the lawful execution of any process against any property, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting; or
  •  assaults, resists, or obstructs, any person engaged in such lawful execution of process, or in making a lawful distress, with intent to rescue any property lawfully taken under such process or distress; or
  •  assaults any person on account of any act done by the person in the execution of any duty imposed on the person by law; or
  •  assaults any person in pursuance of any unlawful conspiracy respecting any manufacture, trade, business, or occupation or respecting any person or persons concerned or employed in any manufacture, trade, business or occupation, or the wages of any such person or persons;
  •  assaults any person who is 60 years or more; or assaults any person who relies on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial device;

is guilty of a crime.

There are also offences of hindering or obstructing a Police officer in the execution of duty under the Police Powers and Responsibility Act. Often this offence is constituted by the act of spitting on or biting a Police Officer.

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1.  The accused assaulted the complainant; Any person who strikes, touches or moves or otherwise applies force of any kind to the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without the person’s consent is said to assault that other person.
  2.  The complainant was a police officer;
  3.  The complainant was then acting in the due execution of his duty.

It is not a defence that the defendant did not know the person assaulted was a police officer.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Assault on Police Officer In Execution Of His Duty (Serious Assault) is 7 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable and is dealt with in the District Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity
  3. Self Defence
  4. Intoxication
  5. Identification -ie Not the accused person
  6. Defence of another person
  7. Officer was not acting in the course of his or her duties.
  8. Complainant was not a Police Officer
  9. The assault is trivial and not of a serious nature.


If you’re facing a charge for assaulting a Police Officer, or any violent offence, don’t delay in contacting us for advice and representation from our team of experienced Criminal Lawyers.

Do you need legal help? Contact us now.

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