Common Assault Charge

At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, our common assault solicitors have successfully represented clients facing common assault charges for decades.

With extensive specialist expertise defending clients in relation to assault charges, we can effectively guide you through all stages of criminal proceedings. We recognise that facing these types of charges can be confusing and traumatic, and so we aim to provide clear advice and sympathetic support, while giving you the strongest chance of a positive outcome.

Our common assault solicitors 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?

For a free initial consultation on your legal position and the available options with our common assault solicitors, contact our local offices in LondonBirmingham or Manchester.


Need immediate legal support for an assault charge? 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’ most high-profile criminal cases for over 45 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 our common assault solicitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we will do our best to help you in the best way possible.

Our criminal defence expertise

Over more than 45 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. Our common assault solicitors 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 several 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 many languages thanks to the broad range of languages spoken by our criminal defence lawyers, as well as the various approved external interpreters we work with. Please take a look at our list of languages spoken to find out more.

What is a common assault charge (or assault by beating)?

A common assault charge can cover two acts, assault by beating which is typically the physical assault or the threat of an assault known as basic assault without beating.

Common assault is any act committed intentionally or recklessly that causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence.

But what happens if I make contact with them?

You will have committed battery which is the act of committing unlawful violence on another person. This offence is charged as common assault by beating.

What acts can cause someone to apprehend violence and what does that mean?

This can include things such as punching, shoving and spitting, waving a weapon and there does not need to be proof of any physical injury sustained by the alleged victim.

The alleged victim 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 or battery has occurred can therefore depend on the precise factual circumstances. Any prosecution and defence are likely to rely heavily on establishing these details. You can commit a simple assault without making contact. If you make any contact in any way, then it is classed as ‘beating’.

What are the points to prove a common assault?

To prove common assault charges, the prosecution must be able to show that a person:

  • Inflicted violence on someone else; or
  • Made someone think they were about to have violence inflicted upon them

The violence does not need to be physical, for example, threatening words and actions could potentially count. The violence or threat of violence could be either intentional or reckless.

Is common assault a serious offence?

Common assault can be considered a serious offence, depending on the circumstances. The level of harm suffered by the alleged victim and the level of culpability of the alleged perpetrator will both influence the possible sentence for a common assault offence, so how serious the matter is will depend on these factors.

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 because 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.

What if the common assault is a first offence?

If a common assault is a first offence, this may be taken into consideration when it comes to sentencing. However, whether the fact that the assault was a first offence may be taken into account will depend on the circumstances, including how serious the harm suffered by the victim was and the level of culpability of the offender, as well as any other mitigating factors.

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. These are factors such as poor health or family circumstances.

Our common assault solicitors can help you to obtain the correct medical reports and psychiatric reports to assist the court where appropriate to fully understand your circumstances. 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 one of the following:

  • An absolute or conditional discharge (where the court finds that a crime has been committed but no formal criminal penalties are imposed)
  • A high-level Community Order
  • A Band A fine (up to 75% of your relevant weekly income)
  • 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. As stated above, if the common assault is a first offence, this could also potentially be taken into account.

Can you get a fine for common assault?

Yes, as stated above, a common assault fine could be up to 75% of your relevant weekly income.

Can you go to prison for common assault?

Yes, as stated above, you can potentially face up to 26 weeks’ imprisonment for common assault.

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 have a solicitor present.
  • 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 and have one of your choice, if possible.
  • 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 release you 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 are the bail conditions for assault in the UK?

The bail conditions for someone charged with assault will depend on the situation, including how much risk the police feel there is of the charged person not returning when required.

Common bail conditions can include being required to:

  • Report to the police station at specific times
  • Forfeiting your passport
  • Maintaining a curfew
  • Living at a specified address
  • Staying away from certain people and places

Police bail conditions can potentially be contested by your defence solicitor if you feel they are unreasonable, so this is something you can discuss with your lawyer.

Read more about changing and lifting bail conditions.

How much evidence is needed to convict someone of assault in the UK?

Exactly how much evidence is needed for a successful common assault prosecution will depend on the specific case. In general, the prosecution will need to be satisfied that there is enough evidence to have a realistic prospect of success. Exactly what this will involve will depend on various factors, including what evidence the defence may have to counter the prosecution’s case.

Any evidence the prosecution relies on will need to be admissible in court, reliable and credible. These are all issues a defence can potentially contest to have evidence presented by the prosecution discounted or discredited.

For a common assault charge, types of evidence that the prosecution may attempt to use can include things such as witness testimony, CCTV footage and medical reports about any injuries the alleged victim sustained.

You can read more about this in our blog What evidence does the CPS need to charge someone?

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 common assault solicitors’ 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.

We handle assault cases every day and have outstanding results

Can a common assault charge be dropped?

A common assault charge can potentially be dropped, for example, if there is not enough evidence to support a realistic chance of conviction. However, this is a decision for the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), rather than the alleged victim.

Our cases

Do we offer free consultations? Read more here

Some of our results for defending common assault charges in the UK

Case Dropped – Assault
Our client elbowed a security officer intervening in a fight, Police objected to an out-of-court disposal but written representations and substantial work secured one. The court case was dropped.

Client acquitted – s20 GBH
Our client in prison was accused of assaulting a prison officer after being assaulted by another prisoner, CCTV showed our client acting in self-defence. Our client was found not guilty.

Community Resolution – Assault on paramedics
Our client drunkenly assaulted two paramedics. We argued that client had genuine remorse and made a mistake, an out of court disposal namely a caution was secured. Our client avoided court.

Not Guilty – Assault on police emergency worker
Our client allegedly kicked out at a police firearms officer, we argued that any contact had been accidental and the jury found him not guilty. The police argued the contact was intentional or reckless.

Not Guilty – Assault on Police Officer
Our client allegedly headbutted an officer trying to gain entry into his house. The Prosecution offered no evidence there was body worn video and the client was acquitted.

Not Guilty – Assault on Police Officer
We represented a client by cross-examining police officers who were violent in their arrest. Drawing on our years of experience, we discredited their accounts and our client was acquitted.

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:

Or email:

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.