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Common Assault, Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm And Grievous Bodily Harm – What Is The Difference And What Should I Know?

What is an assault?

Assault’ is a generic criminal term used to cover a wide range of offences. However, two offences both deemed ‘assaults’ could be at polar ends in terms of harm caused and the ultimate sentence a Court can impose. For example, the lowest category of assault, a common assault, can attract in some cases a maximum 6 month prison sentence whereas the highest category of assault, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, can in some cases invoke a maximum sentence of 16 years’ in custody.

Understanding what type of assault you have been arrested for or charged with can often feel confusing. The key differences between the various types of assaults and what you need to know if you are accused of one are outlined in our table here.

What should you do if you have been arrested or charged with an assault offence?

It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you have been arrested, asked to voluntarily attend a police interview or charged with an assault offence. A criminal defence solicitor will be able to guide you through the criminal process, take your instructions, advise you in respect of the evidence available and on relevant defences. If your matter goes to Court, a solicitor can assist you in terms of preparing your case, challenging and gathering evidence as well as ensuring that you are fully represented at your Court hearings.

At Hodge Jones & Allen we have a dedicated crime team whose practitioners have specialist experience advising and assisting clients in assault cases. For more information please contact us on 0808 271 9413 or request a call back.

Outside our office hours, please call our 24 hours helpline on 0808274 8226.