Domestic Violence & Abuse Defence Solicitors

Are you facing domestic abuse charges?

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 a domestic violence 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

What are the sentences for domestic violence charges?

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 abuse?

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.

What mitigating factors are there for domestic abuse charges?

Facing domestic violence charges can be a daunting experience, but UK law acknowledges various factors that can mitigate the offence. These include:

  • Mental illness or disability
  • The offender being of a young age
  • A minor role in the offence (if there were multiple offenders involved)
  • Extreme provocation (in very particular circumstances) 

All of these factors are open to interpretation and the effectiveness of any strategy will depend upon your individual case. 

As with any offence, showing genuine remorse or admitting your guilt early on in proceedings may benefit your cause. 

On the other hand, it could be that the allegations are false or that the accuser puts forward a different version of events to yours. To support your domestic violence defence, we can call upon specialists including investigators, medical professionals, barristers and forensic scientists. We leave no avenue unexplored in seeking the best possible legal outcome for you.

Why choose Lawtons solicitors for your domestic violence charges?

An experienced domestic abuse lawyer can secure the best possible legal outcome in your case, minimising the damage to your personal and professional reputation as much as possible. We’ll create a solid defence strategy and work tirelessly to safeguard your future. We have a proven track record of securing justice for defendants in domestic violence cases.

We’re recognised by the Legal 500 as a leading firm in the South-east of England for our expertise and ‘providing a first-class service’ – and for being ‘very highly regarded’ for criminal work.

As well as legal expertise, we’ll give you our full support. Understanding that it’s a troubling time for you, we’ll take you through the legal processes and potential repercussions, explaining everything in plain English. We’re on your side, all the way.

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. Please get in touch or call us on 0333 577 0522.

FAQs about Domestic Violence

What are the penalties for domestic abuse?

Penalties for domestic abuse include the following court orders:
  • Restraining Orders – breaching a Restraining Order can lead to imprisonment.
  • Occupation Orders – The accused can be forced to leave the home they share with the alleged victim.
  • Non-Molestation Orders (NMO) – if you were to breach an NMO you can face up to 5 years in prison.

What are my rights when arrested for domestic abuse?

You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present. If you are arrested for domestic abuse, you need to understand your rights so that you can avoid saying something that could harm your defence. After interviewing you, the police can either say you are free to leave with a caution or you will be charged and released on bail with a date for your court appearance.

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