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Including ABH/ GBH/ wounding with intent. The Criminal Justice Act 1988 says that ABH and GBH are determined by the following factors:

  1. The level of foresight
  2. The motivation for the offence
  3. The injuries inflicted

Call our 24h helpline

07912 784485

What if you have been accused or charged with Actual Bodily harm (ABH) or Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)?

You must contact Castle Solicitors at the earliest opportunity to receive comprehensive legal advice from a member of our experienced team.

What is ABH?

ABH is a criminal offence contrary to Section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. It is a less serious offence than GBH.

  • The injuries are less severe than GBH
  • The offence can be committed recklessly as well as intentionally
  • It is an either way offence and can be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court. This will depend on the circumstances of the offence, combined with the aggravating and mitigating factors
  • Sentencing to a community order is possible if it’s a first offence, plus any mitigating factors
What is the sentence for ABH?

The maximum sentence is 6 months in the Magistrates’ Court or 5 years custody at the Crown Court

What is GBH?

GBH is a criminal offence contrary to Sections 18 & 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

  • Both Sections 18 and 20 are indictable only offences, meaning they can only be dealt with in the Crown Court
  • Section 18 is more serious than section 20
  • In a Section 18 case (known as wounding with intent), the prosecution must prove the defendant intentionally inflicted grievous bodily harm and intended to do so
  • In a Section 20 case (known as unlawful wounding) the prosecution does not need to prove an intention to inflict grievous bodily harm. They can prove the case regardless whether the behaviour was intentional or reckless (not intentional)
What is the sentence for GBH?
  • A Section 18 GBH carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment
  • A Section 20 GBH carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment
Can I just get a fine for GBH?

It’s improbable that you will only receive a fine for GBH. However, the minimum sentence you are likely to receive is a community sentence such as unpaid work, plus financial penalties. However, you could also be subject to other community sentences where you report to probation and/or receive a suspended prison sentence.

What is a suspended prison sentence?

This is where the judge gives you a prison sentence but says that you will not go immediately to prison. During the period of the suspension, you must comply with the terms of the order, such as unpaid work. If you fail to comply, you can be sent to prison to complete the sentence in custody.

Why should I choose Castle Solicitors?

We understand

24 hours a day you can contact us if you require legal advice

We’re experienced

We don’t like losing, so if matters do go to trial, you’re guaranteed a solicitor who has a successful track record.

We win

Our goal is always to get the very best result for our clients, whether that be the police taking no further action, preventing someone from receiving a custodial sentence or clearing a client’s name with an acquittal after trial

What should I do now?

Contact us by calling on 0121 226 3636, emailing admin@castlesolicitors.co.uk or even sending a message from this website on the contact page. We will call you back as soon as possible (usually within 2 hours) but in any event no later than 24 hours.

For emergencies, you can also contact our 24-hour helpline on 07912 784485


If you have been arrested to simply ask for Castle Solicitors at the police station and we will receive the call. 

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