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Assault Solicitors

Assault is an offence that can be committed in various ways with some assaults being deemed more serious than others. The type of assault you could be charged with is usually dependent on the circumstances; such as the seriousness of the injuries inflicted and whether it was intentional or not. At Cartwright King, we understand that conflicts can get out of hand and acknowledge your right to legal representation if it is required. If you have been accused of assaulting somebody else it is in your best interests to obtain expert legal advice as soon as possible.  We are available to support you through the entire legal process and represent you in court if necessary.  

Free Police Station advice

Everyone has the right to free legal advice when at the Police Station. Our experienced lawyers are available at any time of day or night to help you and make sure your position is protected and that your defence is properly presented. If you are arrested remember to tell the Police that you want to be represented by Cartwright King. Our highly skilled Criminal Defence team are here to take the worry off your hands. We can also provide an initial telephone consultation to see how we can assist in your case. Please call us on 0808 168 5550 or email

Assault offences and the law

Assault offences vary but they range from common assault to grievous bodily harm (GBH) and GBH with intent. In order for the type of assault to be categorised, the seriousness of it is dependent on the nature of any injuries that have been sustained. Putting this into practice, less serious cases such as common assault can involve a threat of violence and no actual injuries, whereas grievous bodily harm usually means injuries including broken bones , damaged organs or knife wounds to the victim.

The different types of assault and how they are charged as such are outlined below:

Common Assault – According to Criminal Justice Act 1988 this is the least serious assault that can be committed and can only be heard in a Magistrates Court. Physical contact does not necessarily have to be involved as instilling immediate fear in somebody else that they will be assaulted is enough to commit this offence. This offence can be made more serious if physical contact is used. This is called a battery, or if other circumstances are considered such as the use of a weapon and the vulnerability of the victim.

Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) – According to section 47 of Offences Against the Person Act 1861 this can be heard in either a Magistrates or a Crown Court depending on the circumstances. In order to be charged for ABH, more than minor injuries must be alleged to have been caused to the victim. The law says there must be actual harm. Prosecution charging standards require more than minor injuries, for example extensive bruising.
Assault on a Police Officer – The Police Act 1995 Section 89, makes it an offence to assault a Police Officer in the execution of his duty. A similar offence can be committed against a Community Support Officer. The offence can only be heard in the Magistrates Court.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) – According to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 Section 20 this can be heard in either a Magistrates or a Crown Court. This offence involves maliciously inflicting a serious injury such as broken bones or injury resulting in a permanent disability. A serious injury can also be caused by the transmission of a disease or causing psychological damage. This might happen if someone knowingly had a relationship with someone while carrying a communicable disease.

Causing Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) with intent – The Offences against the Person Act 1861 Section 18 provides that this offence can only be heard in the Crown Court. This is the most serious assault offence that can be committed. It requires the Prosecution to prove that there was intent to cause grievous bodily harm, not simply that the injuries were caused.

What sentence could you face?

If you have been accused of assault, as mentioned in the previous sections, how a case is dealt with depends on which offence is charged. Many factors will be taken into account, including but not limited to whether there has been physical contact, the seriousness of any injuries inflicted, if the injuries sustained were intentional and the vulnerability of the victim. Remember, it is more serious if you intended to harm the victim.

The potential maximum sentences that you could face are outlined in the table below:

             Assault Type     Maximum Sentence - Magistrate’s Court   Maximum Sentence –
 Crown Court
Common Assault6 months prison sentence N/A
Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)6 months prison sentence5 years prison sentence
Assault on a Police Officer 6 months prison sentenceN/A
Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)6 months prison sentence5 years prison sentence
Causing Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) with intentN/ALife imprisonment

If you have been charged with any of the above offences, it is essential that you seek expert legal advice as early as possible. If you are arrested you are entitled in law to be legally represented at the Police Station. You should always insist that the Police contact Cartwright King and not speak to the Police until you have had chance to consult with one of our experienced team. Cartwright King’s Defence Solicitors are available to advise you day and night and through the legal proceedings and represent you in court if necessary making sure that the strongest defence case is put forward for you. They will also advise about your right to appeal should the need arise.

How can we help you?

If you have been accused of assault, our experienced Criminal Defence Solicitors are available to advise you throughout the entire process and build a strong case for your defence. We promise to:

  • Advise you throughout the entire process
  • Seek legal aid for you subject to your finances
  • Deal confidentially with any concerns you may have
  • Represent you in interview under caution by the police 
  • Prepare and collate any and all documentary evidence that may be required
  • Represent you in both Magistrates and Crown Court as necessary
  • Take the worry off your hands
  • Argue your case
  • Prepare an appeal if necessary

Our team are highly ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides. We have extensive experience in successfully defending people who have been accused of committing an assault.

Why Choose Us?

At Cartwright King, our solicitors understand the stress and worry that being accused of committing an assault can cause as it can lead to serious consequences for you and your future. We are available to support you throughout the entire process, explaining the likely outcomes and fighting on your behalf. 

How to make contact

Always insist on representation by one of our lawyers if you are arrested. Remember that advice at the Police Station is free and will not delay your release.

If you require legal advice or if you would like a no obligation, free initial telephone discussion, then please call us on 0808 168 5550. Alternatively you can email the Criminal Defence team on and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our Criminal Defence Solicitors can provide advice and are happy to meet at a time and location that suits you. We also have a network of offices in BirminghamBedfordBoltonDerbyLeedsLeicesterLondon TempleManchesterMiddlesbroughNorthamptonNottinghamSheffield and Worcester.

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