Clarkson Hirst Solicitors Limited

If you are charged with common assault then whilst you are unlikely to face a prison sentence you would still be convicted of a crime of violence which would damage your reputation and career prospects. It would be wise therefore to call a solicitor for help at the police station If you are charged with common assault.

This is a summary only offence which means that it will only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court unless linked to a more serious offence.

Our solicitors regularly represent Defendants charged with common assault at Lancaster Magistrates, Barrow Magistrates Court and Kendal Magistrates Court.

We offer representation at Carlisle Magistrates Court and Workington Magistrates Court. We represent clients at police stations in Barrow, Kendal, Workington, Whitehaven and Carlisle.

If convicted, the offence is set out into three categories for the purpose of sentencing. This ranges from category 3, where there is no injury, to category 1 which is the more serious offence, for example where a weapon is used including a head butt or a kick. For a category 3 offence this may be dealt with by way of a financial penalty. The sentences range through to a community penalty and up to six months imprisonment for a category 1 offence.

Actual Bodily harm

The legal definition for harm in respect of this offence is that the injury caused has to be more than merely transient. Examples of actual bodily harm are where a victim receives severe bruising including a black eye, or the victim has a tooth knocked out. The maximum sentence is five years. The sentence is worked out on categories depending on the level of injury whether weapons were used and the Defendant’s age and previous convictions. This is in either way an offence which can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court but is usually dealt with in the Crown Court.

Grievous bodily harm

This is the most serious offence. There are two offences Section 18 where the Crown must prove you have committed really serious harm or wounded another person for example by cutting them with a knife and that this was intended.

If the Defendant’s intention was to cause some pain or harm but not “really serious harm” then the appropriate charge would be Section 20 assault.

If you are convicted of Section 20 assault the maximum sentence is 5 years. If you are convicted of Section 18 assault then a maximum sentence of life imprisonment is possible.

The way we defend assault cases

By careful case planning we identify the issues in the case and assess whether you have a defence. Examples of this are as follows;

  • Is there CCTV evidence that shows you were not the perpetrator of the crime and that the police have charged the wrong person?
  • Did you act in self-defence and is that defence available to you?
  • Were the injuries actually caused by the assault? Can we obtain medical or forensic evidence to prove otherwise?