What is Assault?

The most important factor when dealing with Common Assault is that it does not require any actual physical contact or harm. The requirements to prove a case  are that a person has, intentionally or recklessly, caused another person to fear immediate violence against them, this can even be caused by words alone. Where violence has been used, this is often known as “Common Assault by Beating”.

There are a number of potential defences so a person can use reasonable force in the circumstances such as:

  • self-defence or defence of another
  • defence of property
  • prevention of crime; or
  • lawful arrest

What are the different types of Assault?

Common Assault

This is the standard definition of Assault?

Assaults on Emergency Workers and Public Servants

This happens when the assault takes place against an Emergency worker, Public servant or someone providing a public service. Although the same burden of proof for Assault applies the sentencing guidelines can be different.

Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)

This where minor injury is caused to the victim such as grazes and scratches. You can find out more about ABH here.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

This is where serious injury has been caused to the victim. You can find out more about GBH here.

Assault with intent to resist arrest

This happens when it takes place in the process of trying to resist arrest. Although the same burden of proof for Assault applies the sentencing guidelines can be different.

Hate related assaults

This happens when it is motivated by Race, Religion or Sexual orientation . Although the same burden of proof for Assault applies the sentencing guidelines can be different.

Throwing corrosive fluid on a person

This occurs when it is caused by throwing any corrosive fluid … with intent … to burn, maim, disfigure or disable any person. A guilty verdict can be reached whether the fluid touches the intended victim or not.

What are the Sentencing Guidelines for Assault

The maximum length of time will depend on the type of Assault committed.

For Common Assault, the range is from Discharge through to 26 weeks. This increases to 2 years for offences against emergency workers or racially/religiously motivated attacks. Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) and Grevous Bodily Harm (GBH) work on a different set of guidelines.

The length of sentence will depend on a number of different criteria.

  • Whether there was use of weapons or corrosive liquids
  • The length and strength of the attack
  • The vulnerability of the victim
  • The role in the group activity
  • The intention of the attack

I've been arrested for Assault, what should I do?

If you’ve been arrested and detained at a police station or asked to attend a voluntary interview, it’s your legal right to request advice and representation from a solicitor.

As a reputable firm of criminal solicitors, we offer legal advice from experienced criminal defence solicitors at both police stations and courts.

We provide a complimentary, 24-hour legal representation service at police stations. Our skilled criminal defence solicitors are located in London and the surrounding home counties, and we can also offer legal assistance beyond these areas.

A case example from a recent Assault charge

During a domestic related incident, the defendant was fearful for another’s safety and denied the prosecution case. The case involved a father, charged with intentional strangulation and battery, of his daughter.

Katerina Iwai litigated on this case instructing Shanice Mahmud. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict on both counts after a 7 day trial including cross examination of his two daughters and his mother.