Old Bailey Solicitors

Legal Defence & Guidance for Common Assault/Battery

Common assault/battery is a criminal offence which can only be tried in the magistrates’ court. In more serious cases, such as those that are alleged to have been racially aggravated, it is an offence which can also be tried in the Crown Court.

Old Bailey Solicitors provide high quality legal representation, focused on achieving the best outcome possible in your case when facing an allegation of common assault or battery. Our compassionate and experienced team will work diligently to protect your legal interests and to ensure you receive the most favourable result possible in your case.

What is Common Assault/Battery?

Common assault is an offence contrary to section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly causes someone else to fear immediate unlawful violence. The term ‘by battery’ simply means that a person is alleged to have intentionally or recklessly applied unlawful force to someone else.

Therefore, while common assault includes situations where no physical violence or touching is involved, battery refers to situations where unlawful force has actually been applied. This could involve pushing or grabbing or even spitting at someone.



Common assault/battery is a crime of basic intent. This means that for someone to commit the offence of common assault or battery, the individual must either intend to commit assault or be reckless as to whether their actions could lead to the commission of the offence. Being reckless means foreseeing the possibility that someone will be caused to fear unlawful force or that unlawful force will be applied and going on to take the risk. The offence is summary-only which means that it can only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, unless the commission of the offence is considered to be racially or religiously aggravated in which case it is an either-way offence, which means that it can be tried in either the magistrates’ or the Crown Court. Old Bailey Solicitors will be able to guide you through the court process and, where appropriate, advise you of the appropriate venue for your case.

Factors Impacting Your Case

There are a number of factors which could impact the seriousness of your case. One of the most significant factors is if the offence is alleged to have taken place in a domestic context. This can impact the case in a number of ways.

For instance, it can impact the time that the police have to make a decision in relation to the disposal of your case.


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Sentencing for Common Assault and Battery

There is a range of sentences at the disposal of the courts in relation to this offence. The sentence imposed depends very much on the facts of the case and the level of seriousness of the offence. The possible sentences can range from a discharge or a financial penalty, to a community order or imprisonment of up to 26 weeks.

The maximum sentence for assault or battery if the offence is deemed to be racially aggravated, however, is a two-year custodial sentence.

Therefore, when facing an allegation of assault, it is crucial to instruct experienced solicitors to secure the best outcome possible for your case.

Contact Old Bailey Solicitors for Experienced Defence Against Assault Charges

Assault and battery cases can be serious offences carrying, in some cases, prison sentences. It is therefore crucial that you obtain skilled legal representation as soon as possible. With the right legal representative, it may be possible for a valid defence to be identified, or in cases where a defence is not available, the right legal team will be able to get you the best outcome possible by applying the correct mitigation in your case.

Contact Old Bailey Solicitors who will help you through each step of your case. Get in touch with us as soon as possible to secure a dedicated and client-focused legal team are on your case and take the first step to achieving the best outcome possible for you.

Old Bailey Solicitors have been exceptional in handling my case and making it as worry free as possible for me. Old Bailey Solicitors assisted me through every step of my case and went above and beyond expectations to achieve an outcome in the Crown Court which avoided a custodial sentence, for this I am very grateful.

Case dropped

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