Alcohol-Fuelled Violence: Think Before you Drink

1st December 2023
Category Criminal Law

The repercussions of alcohol-fuelled violence can be severe, both in terms of injuries and in potential punishments. So the message is clear: think before you drink this holiday season, writes RMB Criminal Law Division.

It has not been uncommon to hear about alcohol-fuelled violence in our community.

According to the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, every year more than 70,000 Australians are the victims of alcohol-related assaults, with 24,000 of these involving domestic violence.

Australia has passed numerous laws in recent years to help curb alcohol-fuelled violence and to punish those that commit it. So, when you do go out for a drink, you should be mindful of what you could be charged with if you do commit a violent act while intoxicated.

When a person drinks too much, often their common sense deserts them. This can lead to that person getting into arguments and even fights they normally would not have.

People who start fights in public will usually be charged with affray. The maximum penalty for this charge is 10 years. While a person can be charged with affray if they are not intoxicated, there are many instances of affray where alcohol is involved.

The ”one-punch law” is another offence a person can be charged with when committing an act of alcohol-fuelled violence. This law was passed back in 2014, in response to a number of incidents when people died after being punched from behind by an assailant.

According to the “one punch law”, sections 25A and 25B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), if a person punches someone while intoxicated and it results in death, the maximum punishment is 25 years in prison.     

A person with little to no criminal history will not receive the maximum penalty and may even receive a suspended sentence. This means the person can serve their sentence in the community.

However, if that person were to commit another offence while serving a suspended sentence, they could be forced to serve the rest of their sentence in prison.

There is no crime in having a drink, but people should always be mindful of how much they drink so that they can control their actions. No one wants to commit an act of alcohol-fuelled violence, potentially injure someone (or worse), and be charged with committing a serious offence.

You should always take this into consideration before you drink.

If you have recently been involved in alcohol-fuelled violence or assault, your first step should be to contact our office to arrange a free consultation. You can contact us by by phone or our 'Ask a Question' tool on our website.