Assault is a form of crime against the person, typically involving physical violence and resulting in injury of one form or another to the victim. The more serious the injury, and the more premeditated the attack, the greater the likely sentence. Incidents that endanger the health and wellbeing of others, such as public affray and rioting, may also be considered forms of assault charge and these will usually carry even more severe penalties.
Grievous Bodily Harm, which is more commonly referred to as GBH but properly known as a section 18 assault, not only requires that considerable injury was caused to the victim, but the prosecution must also be able to prove that the defendant set out with the intention of causing that harm. The most common defence for this type of assault is that of self-defence, which would imply that the defendant did not plan to instigate an attack.
Wounding with intent is the name given to section 20 assault charges. This type of assault has a much lower maximum penalty than a section 18 GBH charge. Where there was no intent to cause serious injury, but injury did occur as the result of an attack, it is possible that the CPS will bring a section 20 charge against the defendant instead. Although the sentence is likely to be less than a GBH sentence, custodial sentences are still possible.
The least serious of the three main forms of assault is considered to be a section 47 assault, or Actual Bodily Harm (ABH). ABH means that harm was committed and injuries suffered, but usually means that the defendant did not intent to attack the victim. A prison sentence is possible, but this type of case is more often dealt with using a community sentence, a financial penalty, or a combination of the two.
Crimes against the person, or assault charges, can carry hefty penalties, and as well as the extent of the injuries caused, one of the most important factors is determining and proving whether the defendant set out with the intention of causing harm. Whether you are charged with GBH or ABH, and whether you intend to plead guilty or not-guilty, contact Ashcott Solicitors to discuss your case and to determine the most likely outcome.
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