Common Assault Sentencing
Have you been charged with Common Assault?
If you have been charged with Common Assault, Professional Defence Lawyers can help. We are a dedicated Common Assault Defence firm of specialist Lawyers headed by Rob Bimpson and Tim Chapman. Both are Solicitors who have been qualified for over 20 years.
Common or Section 39 Assault
Common Assault or Section 39 Assault is an act of violence that causes minor injury which does not even have to be visible. It can also include the situation where a person is made ill through shock or depression or stress i.e. the injury can include a non-physical symptom. Sometimes the offence can be referred to as an offence of assault and battery.
If a person is charged with an offence of common assault this can include situations where no physical contact has been made. As indicated above, a common assault charge can arise out of causing immediate fear of injury or violence. It can also include spitting, and we recently dealt with a charge of common assault arising out of a situation where a car was deliberately driven at an individual in order to cause him to feel that he would be run over and thereby injured. If no contact is made this will be charged as a simple offence of common assault.
If any physical contact is made between the accused and the alleged victim, this will be charged as "common assault by beating". We are very often contacted by people who are concerned that they are being accused of beating the alleged victim up. This is not the case. The word beating is there to indicate simply that there was at least some physical contact between the two parties.
The level of charge of assault will depend upon the nature and extent of the injuries. A common assault charge can arise where no injury is caused but unlawful physical contact is made. A large number of people face prosecution for common assault where no actual injury has been caused. If injury is caused, common assault will usually cover bruising, minor cuts, grazes abrasions and other similar injuries.
More serious cuts or fractures, and serious bruising will result in a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Although, common assault is in the least serious catgeory of assault charges, it is still a serious charge and anyone facing prosecution for a common assault charge should seek the services of an expert, common assault defence lawyer.
Charges of Common Assault are dealt with in the Magistrate's Court. Cases of a less serious nature are generally dealt with before the Magistrate’s court. We are often contacted by people charged with common assault who enquire if they have the right to have the case dealt with at the Crown Court. A charge of common assault can only be dealt with in the Magistrate's Court.
How the case will be dealt with depends upon the plea that is entered and the nature of the incident.
If a person is charged with a straightforward common assault and they plead guilty, in the absence of any aggravating features we can almost always have the case dealt with at the first hearing by way of a fine or conditional discharge.
If the common assault charge is more serious with aggravating features or is a domestic violence related charge, the court will almost always adjourn the case to a further hearing date in order that the probation service can prepare a presentance report. This is because with the more serious charges of common assault, the court has a wide range of powers including community order and prison sentences.
If charged with any offence of common assault, even if pleading guilty, it is essential to get the services of a specialist common assault defence lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome to the case.
We are regularly contacted by people charged with common assault where there are aggravating features. These are certain aspects to the charge of common assault which the court regards as making the charge more serious. This can include if this was a group or planned attack, if the victim was vulnerable or was targeted because of race, religion, or appearance. These are "common assault hate crimes". Once again, it is essential to have the services of a specialist criminal defence lawyer in these cases.
In addition, aggravating features to a charge of common assault can include head-butting, stamping, kicking whilst prone and preplanned attacks with or without weapons.
Common Assault Sentencing
If a person is guilty of assault resulting in actual bodily harm, the powers of the court are wide. The courts can impose a period of imprisonment, which in the Crown Court can be up to 5 years. Alternatively the courts can impose a fine, a community order or a suspended prison sentence.
The reality is that in the majority of assault cases a prison sentence is not imposed. This is especially the case if the defendant has no previous convictions, the offence was not premeditated, and there are no aggravating features such as kicking an individual whilst they are on the ground.
Because the offence is serious and the consequences potentially so serious to the defendant, it is vital that high level specialist experienced defence lawyers represent the defendant charged in such circumstances as common assault charges can arise out of a very wide range of circumstances from involving no contact through to quite serious injury and unpleasant events taking place, the range of sentences open to the court for common assault is very wide. At the bottom end, in relation to offences were little or no injuries is caused and there are no aggravating features, we can almost always ensure that the case is finalised rapidly with a fine or a conditional discharge.
If the case is a domestic violence common assault charge and a guilty plea is entered or a person is found guilty at the end of a trial, the court will almost always adjourn the case to a further hearing date for the probation service to prepare a presentence report. The purpose of the report is to give, the sentencing court as much background information as possible.
Furthermore, if it is a non-domestic violence related common assault charge but there are aggravating features as described above, the court will almost always want a presentence report before deciding what penalty to impose.
Common Assault Defence
At professional defence lawyers you will only be advised by a Solicitor with at least 20 years experience regarding Common Assault Sentencing. At court you will be represented by the by a Solicitor or Barrister of the appropriate level of experience and knowledge. We are very often contacted by people charged with common assault who intend to plead not guilty. There are a number of defences open to a person charged with common assault.
This can include self defence. The law will allow a person to use reasonable force to protect themselves, others or property if they geniunely feel that they are about to be attacked or are in fact attacked. A person does not have to wait to be attacked. They are entitled to use a pre-emptive strike if they geniunely and reasonably fear an immediate assault.
If charged with common assault and the circumstances apply to you, very serious thought should be given to pleading not guilty. As specialist assault defence lawyers we regularly represent clients charged with common assault who plead not guilty upon the basis of self defence.
A further defence to a charge of common assault is that it was an accident. Very often people may be involved in a heated situation with arms raised and voices loud. Alternatively, they may even be trying to restrain somebody who is intoxicated or unwell. This can result in accidental injury or contact to be made. If a person charged with common assault geniunely believes that any contact or injury was done entirely by accident, they should carefully consider pleading not guilty, once again with the services of a specialist assault defence lawyer.
It should be noted that provocation is not a defence to common assault. It will, however, depending upon the circumstances, be a very important mitigating factor when a court is deciding what sentence to impose for a common assault charge. If an assault has taken place in the face of extreme provocation, a court will normally pay a large amount of attention to this and it can result in a lower sentence being imposed.
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FAQ: What will be the Cost?
We understand that the cost of instructing a solicitor is something that can be a major concern. In order to prevent this worry we will tell you at the outset of your case exactly what our fixed fee will be for your case. Any fee agreed will be clearly advised and will include the cost of all aspects of your case including advice, preparation and representation at court. This means complete peace of mind for you when having us deal with your case.
Need help regarding Common Assault Sentencing?
Our Common Assault Solicitors have significant experience and have been practicing in Common Assault cases for over 20 years now, so please don't hesitate to contact us free on 0800 634 7022 today.