Assault Police is a category of assault aggravated by the fact that it is carried out on a police officer who is acting at the time in the execution of their duty.

Resist Arrest (also known as Resist Police) is where someone resists the actions of a police officer or police officers who is/are acting at the time in the execution of their duty.

It is not at all uncommon to find that a person charged with Assault Police is also charged with Resist Police. In fact, these 2 charges together with a third offence, typically Offensive Language or similar, were previously used so frequently in combination that they were known as ‘the trifecta’.

An officer can be off-duty but take action, such as to affect an arrest, during which they are assaulted or the accused person resists that officer. The fact that the officer was off-duty, even if they failed to state that they were a police officer, does not invalidate the offence – acting whilst off-duty in the execution of their duties is sufficient – even if there is no intention to assault a police officer.

However, if a police officer was acting unlawfully, then the accused cannot be convicted.

The broad legal definition of assault is the commisson intentionally or recklessly causing another person to apprehend or fear immediate violence. We often defend matters where there has been some trivial or minor contact with a police officer in circumstances that the officer could not genuinely claim that they feared immediate violence.

Similarly, we often defend Resist Police or Resist Arrest matters because the accused person has had to act in self defence to the actions of the arresting police officer – such as when being handcuffed and their arm, wrist or thumb is being forced behind their back causing pain and they react accordingly.

Whether you are considering pleading guilty or not guilty to your matter, you should get advice immediately. The penalties include heavy fines and potential imprisonment as well as a criminal record.

Police normally give evidence in Courts frequently. As such, they may have an advantage over you in the way that they present their evidence. If you have been charged by police with Resist Police, Assault Police or any criminal law matter, contact one of our accredicated criminal law specialists or our criminal defence lawyers at either our Sydney office or Parramatta office. We travel to courts all over NSW for any type of criminal law matter and all police charges.


Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in all areas of criminal law. Contact us if you require assistance.