Our specialist team of domestic violence and assault defence solicitors at Lawtons are here to help:

Have you been arrested for domestic violence and assault? Our solicitors will spend time with you so we fully understand the circumstances.

Have you been charged with an offence? We can help persuade the magistrates to choose a community penalty over a prison sentence.

Have you been released on bail? We make applications for your bail whilst you are waiting for your trial and ensure any bail conditions have as little impact as possible on you and your family.

Have you been told to attend a police station by appointment? You need legal representation in the police station as it can make that vital difference to whether it leads to a court case or not.

We understand the impact these cases can have on children, dependants and family relationships, as well as on your life outside the home and at work.

Our domestic violence solicitors work with you, at your own pace, to ensure the full facts of the case are discovered. We provide you with the necessary peace of mind that you will be looked after through the whole legal process.

 

What is classified as domestic violence by law?

Domestic violence is an umbrella term and includes assault, criminal damage and any episode of threatening violence, abuse or behaviour between adults who have been, or are currently, intimate partners or members of the same family.

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.’

Domestic violence is not just considered in terms of physical violence, such as common assault, ABH or GBH.

It can also include:

  • Behaviour deemed as controlling, which can include financial abuse
  • Threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Emotional and/or psychological abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Forced marriage
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Honour-based abuse

 

Sentencing for cases of domestic abuse

Every case of domestic assault and domestic violence will be treated individually, taking into account both the complete context of the assault charge together with the alleged physical and emotional factors. Aggravating factors – such as previous convictions and the impact on children – will be considered, as will the history of the relationship. 

Other relevant facts surrounding the case will also be assessed, which may include:

  • Mental illness
  • The influence of alcohol
  • The influence of drugs
  • The influence of prescription medication

The maximum sentence depends on the nature of the case and the severity of the offence and not on the expressed wishes of the victim.

 

What should you do if you are accused of domestic violence or assault?

If you are accused of domestic violence, you may be arrested without notice or asked to attend the police station. If you find yourself in either of these situations, you should seek specialist legal advice before answering any police questions.

Being questioned by the police regarding a domestic assault accusation can be a particularly emotional experience, especially if a family member has made the allegation against you. It will be difficult for you to make important decisions and to withstand questioning, so you should ensure you consult a specialist domestic violence solicitor.

Contact our team for more information and advice on the laws and sentencing surrounding cases of domestic violence and assault, or to discuss a specific case of abuse in a relationship in complete confidence.

 

Case studies: Successfully defending our clients  

Man assaulted ex-girlfriend for mobile phone – Luton Crown Court– June 2015

Man verbally abused wife – 2 year conditional discharge sentence at St Albans Crown Court– June 2015

Lucky escape after domestic abuse – January 2016

 

Useful Links

 

Q&As

 

What are the penalties?

Depending on the seriousness of the offence, a conviction can result in a prison sentence or the alleged victim can apply for court orders. Breaching these can result in imprisonment. 

These include:

  • Restraining orders
  • Occupation order
  • Non-molestation orders (NMO)

 

Who can be charged? 

Anyone can be charged with domestic assault and violence, even those with no previous criminal record and who have otherwise been responsible, good members of society. Lawtons can help you, no matter how serious the crime.

 

Are there specific domestic violence and assault offences?  

No. An arrest for an act of domestic violence and assault would be charged as:

  • Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
  • Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)
  • Common assault