An offence of assault can be very serious. For certain offences, this can result in a prison sentence. It can also impact on you for example if you have children and seek contact.
We most see this type of charge within a domestic setting, often, where there are difficulties in a relationship or where they are separating.
It is important that you seek advice early and that your case is reviewed and prepared in detail. We will listen to what you have to say, identify what is important to you and help you achieve your desired outcome.
We will make submissions on your behalf, provide you with robust advice and ensure that your interests are protected. As we cover a number of areas of law, we will be able to assist you throughout your matter giving your continuity and cost effective representation at a high level of service.
What is an assault?
An assault is an act by which a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer or apprehend immediate unlawful violence.
What are the different types of assault?
The main three types of assault are usually common assault, actual bodily harm commonly known as ABH or wounding/grievous bodily harm known as GBH.
Common Assault (section 39)
To be guilty of this offence, you either have to be violent to a person or make them believe they are about to be attacked. Both intentional and reckless offences are covered by this offence. Common assault is a charge used for the least serious type of assaults where usually there is no or little injury caused. If you are found guilty of this offence (provided that the assault if not racially or religiously aggravated), you can be imprisoned for a maximum of six months. This charge would only be heard in a Magistrates Court.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (section 47)
To be guilty of this offence, physical harm needs to have been caused by an assault. The maximum sentence for this offence is up to five years imprisonment. ABH is an either way offence which means it can be heard in a Magistrates or Crown Court. Careful consideration will need to be given to decide the best Court which is likely to result in a favourable outcome for you.
Grievous bodily harm (section 18 or 20)
To be guilty of this offence you have to inflict unlawful wounding or grievous body harm to another. This offence can also be covered by intending to wound. This tends to be reserved for serious physical harm. This can be inflicted directly or recklessly. With section 18, intention is a mandatory requirement to be found by the Court. The maximum punishment for this offence is life imprisonment and can only be heard in a Crown Court.
What is going to happen if I’m accused of assault?
If you are accused of assault, you will be arrested and taken to a police station. You will be interviewed by a police officer where questions will be put to you. You will require police station representation to ensure a fair interview takes place. We will ensure that we obtain disclosure and advise you of the allegations before you begin answering questions. Once the interview is concluded, it will be decided whether you should be prosecuted. Sometimes you may be bailed pending further investigation. If you are charged, you will receive a court summons to attend court. We can represent you in Court at all hearings and ensure you are defended. At Court the evidence will be presented and a final decision will be made as to whether you are guilty of the offence. If you are found guilty, we will present your mitigation in order to ensure you receive the minimum punishment possible.
What are the most popular defences for assault?
There are generally five defences which are available for assault which are
- defence of another
- defence of property
- prevention of crime; or
- lawful arrest.
In the above circumstances you can use ‘reasonable force’.
We will examine the circumstances of your case and determine whether there are defences available to you. This will usually involve asking questions about what happened, how many people there were, establishing if there were any weapons involved and the build up to the incident. No stone will be left unturned when defending you.
How can Manak help you with your assault allegation?
It is important that you have a proactive and strategic lawyer represent you when faced with this serious charge. We will establish the allegations raised against you and review any disclosure. We will also look to quickly secure evidence for you, for example, if there is CCTV footage or witness statements that can be taken. We can represent you all the way through your matter from the police station representation to trial. We understand that your reputation and prospects are at stake and will deal with your case with the diligence and respect that it deserves. You will be listened to and we will try to achieve your desired outcome. Preparation will be undertaken for all circumstances so that we are ready to present your best interests. We will support you through this daunting and upsetting process. We take you trusting our firm seriously and treat your case as if it is our own. Exceptional client care and diligence when undertaking work is important to our firm. We will always act in your best interests.
What is a section 47 assault?
To be guilty of this offence, physical harm needs to have been caused by an assault.
What is a common assault?
To be guilty of this offence, you either have to be violent to a person or make them believe they are about to be attacked. Both intentional and reckless offences are covered by this offence. Common assault is a charge used for the least serious type of assaults where usually there is no or little injury caused.
What is aggravated assault?
An aggravated assault is an attempt t cause serious bodily harm to an individual. This will usually involve a disregard for human life and so often involves a deadly weapon. This can be reckless or intentional.
What is assault and battery?
Where there is an assault and battery, this will involve physical violence to another. This is usually charged as an assault by beating. This can be recklessly committed or deliberately even if there is little injury sustained by the complainant. This can be for example, a punch, with the use of a weapon or a slap.
How long does a criminal record last for common assault?
The length of time for a criminal record is dependent on the sentence. If you receive a conditional discharge, this will be live on your record for three months. If you receive an absolute discharge, this will be on your record for six months.
If you are fined or receive a community sentence, you will have a live conviction for five years. If you are imprisoned up to 6 months, this will be live for seven years. If you are imprisoned for a term not exceeding 30 months but more than six, this will be live for 10 years. If you are imprisoned over 30 months, the conviction will never be spent.
Is verbal assault a crime?
There are different forms of verbal assault which can form the basis of a charge. This can range from words which make a person fear they will be assaulted (common assault) to a racially aggravated offence.
There are other general offences such as harassment which can be comprised of verbal abuse. It is important to receive advice at an early stage so that any defences can be considered and advanced on your behalf.