Physical Assault and Battery Lawyers
Are you being charged with Physical Assault or battery offences? Our professional Physical Assault and Battery Lawyers can help
Physical Assault and Battery Charges
In English law, there is a distinction between Assault and Battery, which means you can be charged for either one depending on the circumstances. In general terms, assault is the apprehension of the possibility of immediate unlawful violence whilst battery is the infliction of such violence.
There are certain circumstances where the law actually permits an individual to cause harm to another person without that amounting to a criminal offence
This will usually include situations where a person has been acting in self defence. The law does allow a person to use reasonable force to defend himself from an actual assault / battery or from an anticipated assault. You do not have to wait to be hit before using violence against another person to prevent injury to yourself provided there was a genuine and real fear that you were about to be assaulted.
PENALTIES FOR COMMON ASSAULT
If a person is convicted of an offence of common assault wether by beating, or otherwise, the courts powers are wide. The penalty imposed will depend upon the circumstances of the offence, the nature of any injury caused and the presence of any number of aggravating features. The court will also take account of whether there was any provocation by the complainant. Where there is an assault where no injuries are caused, and there are no aggravating features then this can often result in a fine or a conditional discharge being imposed.
In the case of a common assault where there is no injury but one of the aggravating features (see below) are present then the court will consider the imposition of a community order. The court has the power to order that a person convicted of common assault in these circumstances performs a number of hours of unpaid work.
When convicted of a common assault, a defendant will very often fear the imposition of an immediate prison sentence. They will usually only be at risk of this if there is an injury and there are two or more aggravating features present.
AGGRAVATING FEATURES IN COMMON ASSAULT CASES
The most serious aggravating features are, the use of a weapon, a planned assault, head-butting , kicking, stamping or strangulation. This can also include offences which have been motivated by hostility towards a person's sexual orientation or disability, any action as part of a group against a single victim or the abuse of a position of trust.
The court will also have regard to the injuries, whether or not the victim was especially vulnerable, if the offence was committed in the presence of a child or if there had been previous violence or threats to the same victim. This list is not exhaustive.
COMMON ASSAULT IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES
If a person is convicted of common assault in a domestic violence context the court will have regard to specific sentencing guidelines for domestic violence cases. We are very often instructed by defendants in domestic violence cases where the complainant has attempted to retract their complaint, usually because the parties have reconciled. Unfortunately, recent policy decisions have made it extremely difficult for the Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue proceedings once charges have been laid . Furthermore the sentencing guidelines indicate that if a person is convicted of an offence of violence in a domestic context, the sentence imposed should be determined by the seriousness of the offence and not the wishes of the victim.
However, in a case of a domestic violence, following conviction, the court will have regard to whether or not the parties are planning to continue their relationship. This will be a factor when deciding what penalty to impose. The obvious concern from the perspective of the police or Crown Prosecution Service is that any reconciliation is only temporary. The fear is that in dropping proceedings or treating a defendant lightly, this exposes a complainant to possible further injury or danger. Hence the difficult in trying to persuade the Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue proceedings for common assault prior to a trial date.
This also indicates the importance of specialist and experienced legal defence when facing prosecution for any offence of common assault. In any conviction for domestic violence assault the court will always require a presentence report prepared by the probation service. The court will also give the complainant the opportunity to prepare a victim personal statement.
As with all common assault offences there are aggravating features but there are also aggravating features which are specific to domestic violence cases. These include abuse of trust/abuse of power, a proven history of violence or threats within the domestic setting, and disobedience of previous court orders.
The court will also have regard to whether or not the victim is particularly vulnerable or if there has been any impact upon children.
Why choose our Physical Assault and Battery Lawyers?
The Full Legal Team
Our Physical Assault Lawyers have established a working relationship with some of the finest barristers in the country. Should any proceedings require representation by a barrister you can rest assured that only those barristers that we feel will give you the very best assistance will be incorporated into the legal team.
Our Physical Assault Lawyers realise that it is our job to look after your best interests. We assure you that we will use our very best efforts on your behalf at all times.
These may be very anxious times. Although our Physical Assault Lawyers are specialised we also pride ourselves on being approachable. We realise that it is our job to provide our clients with as much support as possible throughout the course of the case and we make sure that we are readily contactable at such times as we may be required by our clients throughout the course of any case.