How can DPP Law help?
With the penalties for various assaults ranging from fines to life imprisonment and anything in between, you need to ensure that you are properly represented from your initial interview at the police station right through to the Crown Court and, if necessary, the Court of Appeal.
Our defence solicitors form a team that is a top 10 supplier of Criminal Defence Services. This means that we have the experience and skill to examine all the evidence and work alongside you to take the best course of action possible for all kinds of assault, including section 18 assault.
Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)
It is either called a section 18 or section 20 offence because this type of assault is found within sections 18 and 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.
Section 18 offences are the most serious because they are offences in which the accused is said to have had the intent to cause really serious harm. An example of this is a stabbing. As it is considered a very serious offence the maximum sentence for it is life imprisonment. However, the severity of the sentence will vary depending on the severity of the GBH.
Section 20 is seen as less serious as the accused is not said to have intended really serious harm, even though serious harm may have been done. This means a head butt that causes a black eye could be charged as a section 20 offence if the black eye had not been intended. As it is the less serious offence it carries a shorter maximum prison sentence of five years.
Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
This is often called a section 47 offence because its definition can be found in section 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.
This type of assault will leave the other person with bruises, scratches or bite marks. Even a gentle push, which results in a person banging their head, could result in a charge of ABH as long as their body has bruises or scratches present.
Penalties vary wildly depending on the seriousness of the assault. For example, a relatively minor slap that left a scratch may be punished with a fine or low-level community order while a racially motivated assault may receive a sentence of a year or more in prison depending on the other circumstances surrounding it. The maximum sentence for the offence is a three-year prison sentence.
This is often called section 39 assault because its definition can be found in section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
This type of assault covers a breadth of acts including threats of force through the shaking of a fist or running a finger against someone’s neck and pushing or slapping another person.
A sentence for common assault can range from a fine or community order to a short prison sentence for the most serious categories of the offence.
Things that indicate a more serious offence include racist assaults, domestic violence and committing the offence under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What is assault?
The legal definition of assault often surprises people because you do not need to physically hit someone to be charged with the offence. Causing someone to fear that they will be hit is enough to constitute assault under law.
The three main types of assault are common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (GBH).
The following guide will help you understand these types of assault, their seriousness and some of the legal jargon.