If you have a serious matter please ask to speak to a senior solicitor/partner
Charged with Common Assault
At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, our criminal defence lawyers have successfully represented clients facing common assault charges for decades.
With extensive specialist expertise defending clients in relation to these types of serious criminal offences, we can effectively guide you through all stages of criminal proceedings. We recognise that facing these types of charges can be confusing and traumatic, so aim to provide clear advice and sympathetic support, while giving you the strongest chance of a positive outcome.
Our criminal defence lawyers speak a wide range of languages, so we can offer clear, effective legal advice to people from all backgrounds. With strong links to various specialist criminal defence barristers, we can make sure you have the best possible advocate if your case goes to court.
Thanks to our strong track record of securing the best available outcomes for clients facing even the most complex common assault charges, many of our clients come via referrals from previous clients we have helped.
- Have you or someone close to you been arrested for common assault?
- Are you required to attend a police station by appointment?
- Have you been released on bail to return to the police station?
- Have you been charged with common assault?
- Have you received a postal summons or requisition?
Need immediate legal support? Our accredited Police Station Representatives and solicitors are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Please use the emergency numbers at the top of the page for on-the-spot specialist legal representation for a common assault charge.
A conviction for common assault in the UK can result in very serious criminal penalties which could also lead you to lose your job and affect other areas of your life, such as applying for loans or insurance. If you are arrested or charged with common assault, it is therefore critical to have specialist, expert legal support for your defence.
JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors have acted in some of England and Wales’s most high-profile criminal cases for over 40 years, meaning our criminal defence team can provide immediate, first-class legal support for anyone dealing with common assault charges.
If you have been charged with common assault, you can contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Our criminal defence expertise
Over more than 40 years of representing clients facing charges for common assault, we have dealt with everything from straightforward to highly complex cases, giving us deep expertise in all types of common assault offences. We can therefore make sure every key detail and critical piece of evidence is identified and that no possible angle of defence is overlooked, allowing us to secure the best available outcome for you.
We have a number of accredited police station representatives, allowing us to offer 24-hour police station representation, and we regularly represent clients in both Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court. Our contacts with a wide range of highly respected criminal defence barristers mean we can always select an advocate with the right specialist expertise if you need to attend a court hearing.
Our team have been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation and Children Law, recognising our exceptional skills in representing both adults and young people during criminal proceedings for common assault and all other criminal matters.
JD Spicer Zeb is also Lexcel accredited by the Law Society, meaning we meet the highest levels of good management and customer care set by the Law Society of England and Wales.
We are able to offer our criminal defence services in more than 60 languages thanks to the broad range of languages spoken by our criminal defence lawyers, as well the various approved external interpreters we work with. Please take a look at our list of languages spoken to find out more
What is common assault?
Common assault often involves the unlawful touching of another person i.e. where you make physical contact without their consent. This can include things such as punching, shoving and spitting and there does not need to be proof of any physical injury sustained by the alleged victim.
But it is wider than that. A key point to understand is that you do not actually need to make physical contact with the alleged victim in order to be charged with common assault. Instead the alleged victim simply needs to “apprehend” the use of force i.e. they must believe you were attempting to use force against them, even if you do not actually make contact with them.
So, for example, if you were to attempt to punch someone and miss, this could still be considered common assault if the person you were attempting to punch was aware that you were trying to hit them.
Whether or not an offence of common assault has occurred can therefore depend on the precise factual circumstances. Any prosecution and defence is likely to rely heavily on establishing these details.
Disputing the facts or level of injury involved in an assault
If you admit that you have committed an assault, but dispute the level of injury caused or the facts alleged by the victim, establishing exactly what happened and how serious the victim’s injuries were can be critical to the penalties you receive.
For example –
The victim alleges that you have punched and kicked them whilst they were on the floor, causing bruising and cuts.
You accept that you slapped the victim, but claim you did not punch or kick them whilst they were on the ground.
In such a case, the version of events put forward by the prosecution acting for the victim will undoubtedly result in a higher penalty.
If the court is likely to impose a lower penalty if your version of events is accepted versus that of the prosecution, then we will invite the court to sentence on your account and that may involve a Newton Hearing.
If there is a Newton Hearing, the prosecution will be required to prove their version of events took place. If they fail to do so, you will then be sentenced according to the version of events that you accept occurred. This will typically result in a significantly lower penalty and can be the difference between a fine and imprisonment.
Should I plead guilty to common assault?
You should speak to us even if you are considering a guilty plea. We can talk to you about mitigating factors that the court will take into account in reducing the penalty that may be imposed on you, such as poor health or family circumstances.
We can help you to obtain the correct medical reports and psychiatric reports to assist the court where appropriate. We recognise that some clients have drink or drug issues and we will obtain reports to assist you to show the court what steps you have taken to address the substance misuse issue you face.
We can advise you on obtaining references to show your good character where applicable and we can also advise you on writing an apology letter where required.
What are the penalties for common assault?
Depending on the severity of the offence, a conviction could result in anything from an absolute or conditional discharge (where the court finds that a crime has been committed but no formal criminal penalties are imposed) or a High Level Community Order to a Band A fine (up to 75% of your relevant weekly income) and/or up to 26 weeks’ imprisonment.
Factors that may influence the severity of any penalties imposed on conviction for common assault include the seriousness of any injuries sustained by the victim, whether there was a sustained or repeated assault on the same victim, the vulnerability of the victim or where the assault was motivated by the victim’s sexuality (or your perception of their sexuality) or because the victim has a disability.
What are my rights when arrested for common assault?
If you are arrested on suspicion of common assault and interviewed by the police, you need to know your rights to make sure you do not unintentionally say or do anything to harm your defence.
You should always keep in mind that you do not have to answer any questions the police ask you and they are required to caution you by using the words:
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
At the time of your arrest on suspicion of having committed common assault, the police officers involved must explain why you are being arrested and the crime they believe you have committed.
After the interview you could be charged with a specific criminal offence and released on bail or kept in custody to appear at court.
When released on bail, a date will be set for your court appearance. There may be bail conditions requiring you not to contact the complainant.
The police can also release you with no further action or under investigation until such time as they have the evidence to pursue the case further. In such cases, you can be rearrested or summonsed to attend court.
What defence is there against a charge of common assault?
We have defended successfully in many cases of common assault and we have experience of cases where false allegations are made.
There are various defence strategies that may be used if you are prosecuted for common assault. Depending on the circumstances, our approach to your defence might revolve around showing that no offence occurred, that lesser harm occurred than that alleged or that you had less culpability (responsibility) for the offence.
Often our approach will be to rely on using witnesses to give evidence about the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault to help establish your innocence.
Sometimes we will need to rely on expert medical evidence as to the nature of any injuries sustained by the alleged victim.
Important matters of mitigation might include that you were acting in self-defence but acted in a way beyond what was reasonable, that you suffered extreme provocation, or where you were a member of a group that committed the offence, but you had a subordinate role within that group.
If you believe you were acting in self-defence, please take a look at our guide to using self-defence as a defence in criminal law.
Our expert criminal defence lawyers know all of the available options for dealing with common assault charges, so can ensure no possible angle of defence is overlooked.
Contact our criminal law defence solicitors today
For urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about a common assault charge or any other criminal matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
You can contact a member of our dedicated team of criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:
- City of London: 0207 624 7771 - our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City.
- Camden Office: 020 7624 7771
- Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
- Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
24/7 legal representation for common assault offences
For immediate representation and advice, you can contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556, and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.
For new serious cases you can email a senior partner/lawyer directly by clicking here. When you call us you can request a call back or meeting the same day with a senior partner/lawyer or Barrister.