Criminal Law


Our specialist criminal solicitors will offer you all the legal advice and support you need.

Are you under investigation or have you been charged with assault? We can help.

Lucinda Dore Criminal Solicitors have more than 20-years’ experience representing clients in the Magistrates’ court and the Crown Court on a premium private basis. We can help anybody under investigation or charged with any type of assault - common assault, assault by beating, actual bodily harm, and wounding/grievous bodily harm.
We do not provide legal aid representation which allows us to focus on providing attentive, specialist private criminal solicitor or barrister representation for clients that need expert legal advice, but we offer clear affordable competitive fixed fees according to your own personal circumstances at the outset of your case, so you not have any unexpected legal costs.
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The Law. 

An assault is any act (and not mere omission to act) by which a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer or apprehend immediate unlawful violence.
Assault covers a range of actions, from using threatening words to a severe physical attack that leaves the victim permanently disabled. Offences of assault fall under the Offences against the Person Act 1861, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
Common assault is when a person inflicts violence on someone else or makes them think they are going to be attacked. It does not have to involve physical violence or contact. Threatening words or a raised fist is enough for the crime to have been committed provided the victim thinks that they are about to be attacked. Spitting at someone is another example.
Actual bodily Harm means the assault has caused some hurt or injury to the victim. Physical injury does not need to be serious or permanent but must be more than “trifling” or “transient”, which means it must at least cause minor injuries or pain or discomfort. Psychological harm can also be covered by this offence, but this must be more than just fear or anxiety.
Grievous bodily harm means the assault has caused serious physical harm. It does not have to be permanent or dangerous. For example, a broken bone would amount to GBH – in some cases a broken bone might lead to permanent disability but, in others, it might heal without leaving any long-term effects. GBH can also include psychiatric injury or someone passing on an infection, for example through sexual activity.
Wounding requires that the victim’s skin is broken, either on their body or their inner skin (for example, inside their lip) but it does not include the rupture of blood vessels so, if the injury is just bruising, that would not amount to wounding. The injuries involved in a wounding can be less serious than those in GBH.
The GBH or wounding must be caused either with an intent to cause some injury or with knowledge that injury was likely. If it was committed with intent to cause GBH or wounding, then the offence is more serious. The maximum sentence for this is life imprisonment.
The offence is also more serious if the victim of the assault is an emergency worker. This covers police, prison officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue services and paramedics.

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We can help if you wish to plead not guilty to the offence if you did not commit the offence alleged (perhaps there is a case of mistaken identity or someone has made a false allegation against you) or you may accept that the harm was caused but you had a valid legal reason for doing so – our solicitors will be able to assess the prosecution evidence against you and advise whether you have a case to legally defend the allegation.
A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of:
• self-defence• defence of another• defence of property• prevention of crime; or• lawful arrest.

Criminal Law

Assault Specialist Criminal Solicitors based in West Sussex and London, serving clients throughout the UK

Our expert solicitors know your questions. We have the answers. We can help you.


We can help you make an admission to the police or plead guilty at court to an assault matter if you accept full responsibility for the offence. Perhaps you have made a mistake or acted due to personal circumstances and out of your character, whatever the reason, we can professionally advocate in court on your behalf to mitigate the offence to help you achieve the most lenient outcome possible.

Each case is different and therefore each case is dealt with according to its own circumstances and the personal circumstances of the offender. The court can impose sentences ranging from a Fine up to a term of imprisonment, dependant on the circumstances of the matter. Our solicitors have been representing clients for over 20 years for assault matters so will be able to advise you of your likely sentence. We will assess the prosecution evidence and take your full instructions on the matter to help us clearly advise you so that you are fully prepared and do not have the anxious wait for the unknown at court.
When deciding on a sentence, the court will assess the level of harm caused and the culpability of the offender.Harm is an assessment of the damage caused to the victim by the assault. It considers how injured the victim was and whether the assault was sustained or repeated.
Culpability is a measure of how responsible the offender was in the assault. It considers whether the assault was premeditated or motivated by things like the victim’s race, disability, sexual/gender identity.
Factors such as use of weapon, targeting a vulnerable victim or which involves an abuse of power or taking advantage of a position of trust will increase the severity of the sentence. But also, some factors such as if the offender is of good character, has shown remorse, has a serious medical condition, can decrease the severity of the sentence. Also, if the defendant pleads guilty, they will receive a reduced sentence.
Lucinda Dore Criminal Assault Solicitors are highly experienced at mitigating a sentence for our clients – we will always strive the best outcome for you and our reputation proves our success at achieving this. We will advocate for you in court and robustly persuade the court to impose the most lenient sentence for you.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the difference between assault and battery?

    The term assault is often used to include a battery, which is committed by the intentional or reckless application of unlawful force to another person.
    An assault means to put a person in immediate fear (or apprehension) of physical injury or offensive contact. This may include verbal attacks. A battery is committed when a person intentionally and recklessly applies unlawful force to another, so in battery there is actual physical contact with another individual, so it is a more serious form of assault. Cases of battery can include instances in which a person is pushed, slapped or even spat at.

    Where there is a battery, the defendant should be charged with ‘assault by beating’: DPP v Little [1992] QB 645. Provided there has been an intentional or reckless application of unlawful force the offence will have been committed, however slight the force.

    Assault, as distinct from battery, can be committed by an act indicating an intention to use unlawful violence against the person of another – for example, an aimed punch that fails to connect. In Misalati [2017] EWCA 2226 the appellant spat towards the complainant. The appeal court confirmed that although there was no actual violence, spitting is an assault whether it makes contact with the victim or causes fear of immediate unlawful physical contact.

  • What is the difference between battery and actual bodily harm?

    Actual bodily harm covers injuries that are more serious than battery but less serious than wounding/grievous bodily harm. Actual bodily harm is defined as any injury calculated to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim. It does not need to be permanent, but it must be mor than merely transient. Cuts, grazes, black eyes, bruises, or burns will satisfy the test, as will a recognisable psychiatric illness.

  • What sentence will I receive if I am found guilty or plead guilty to an assault at court?

    Each case is different and dealt with by the court according to its own circumstances and the personal circumstances of the offender. The court can impose sentences ranging from a Fine up to a term of imprisonment, dependant on the circumstances of the matter. Lucinda Dore Criminal Solicitors have been representing clients for over 20 years for assault matters so will be able to advise you of your likely sentence.
    Sentencing for assault depends on the offence type:

    Common assault:
    • the maximum sentence is six months’ custody
    • if the assault is against an emergency worker, the maximum sentence is one year’s custody
    • if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is two years’ custody

    Actual bodily harm:
    • the maximum sentence is five years’ custody
    • if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is seven years’ custody

    Grievous bodily harm or wounding:
    • the maximum sentence is five years’ custody.
    • if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is seven years’ custody
    • if the assault was committed with intent to cause GBH/wounding then the maximum sentence is life imprisonment

How can we help you?

If you are under investigation by the police for an assault matter or have been charged and have a court date looming, we strongly advise you to seek professional legal representation straight away. The implications of an assault conviction can be severe, don’t leave it too late, we can help minimalize how the police or court deal with the matter. You do not need to face this alone; we pride ourselves with providing professional, robust legal representation whilst providing full support to our clients who are often anxious, embarrassed or fearful of the potential implications.
1. In appropriate assault cases where early advice is sought, an early admission, apology and offer of compensation can sometimes be enough to avoid a criminal prosecution for a person of previous good character. We will work hard to have your case steer away from the criminal justice system.

2. If you have been asked to attend an interview under caution at the police station, we will be able to attend the police station with you – we may be able to provide robust early representation to avoid the matter proceeding further to court (link to interview under caution page on our website)

3. If you have been charged with an offence and are due to attend court, we can book you in for a consultation with one of our specialist solicitors as soon as possible (most clients request a virtual consultation to work around their working commitments which we can always offer).

Once you have booked in with us, we will start work on your case right away. We will request the prosecution evidence from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), if this is provided before your consultation we will be able to go through all this with you, we will be able to assess the evidence against you and advise whether it is in your best interests to plead Guilty or Not Guilty but even if the evidence is yet available we can take your full instructions, advise you on the relevant law and procedure and prepare you for your court hearing.

4. If you do not accept the offence you are charged with, we can help you challenge the offence. We will help you to enter a Not Guilty Plea to the Assault matter and represent you at trial (either one or our solicitors will represent you or we will instruct a barrister according to your personal budget - We offer bespoke criminal legal advice and representation, tailored to your own personal needs)

5. If the evidence against you is strong, or you wish to plead guilty for a mistake made, we have a particularly outstanding reputation for providing expert court mitigation to get the best outcome at court for you.

Contact one of our specialist Assault solicitors today for advice, Lucinda Dore can often fit clients in for a virtual consultation at short notice as we know that you will need urgent advice. We have a service available for all budgets so contact us today for a free no obligation discussion about how we can help you.