Section 18

Section 18 offences are serious and could result in life imprisonment. That is why working with a skilled and experienced Lawyer From JD Solicitors is vital to the success of your case. 

Whether you need help with representation or advice on a GBH offence, contact our dedicated and tireless criminal law experts today.

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What is a Section 18 Offence?

A Section 18 offence involves GBH or Grievous Bodily Harm. It is a very serious indictable offence and this means it can only be tried in the Crown Court, so you will need a competent solicitor by your side to present your defence. 

Section 18 vs Section 20

Under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (OAPA), two sections relate to GBH – Section 18 and Section 20. Section 18 differs from Section 20 concerning intent. The law states that if a person intends to do grievous bodily harm, then it’s a section 18 offence. However, for a Section 20 offence, a person only needs to have foreseen that some harm will occur. 

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What may constitute a charge of GBH?

Additionally for a person to be charged with an offence under either Section 18 or 20, their actions must fall under the remit of GBH, and not ABH or Actual Bodily Harm. 

This will first be determined by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and then later on by the Jury that is trying the case. However, as a general rule any incidents that have a life-changing impact on an individual, or that were committed with a weapon, should be classified as GHB. While those requiring only minor hospital treatment will be classified as ABH. 

What Are The Sentencing Guidelines For A Section 18 Offence?

Section 18 offences are some of the most serious that you can be charged with, and this is reflected in the sentences, with the maxim penalty being life imprisonment. The sentences for Section 20 offences, on the other hand, tend to be a maximum of 5 years, unless the incident was religiously, or racially motivated where the sentence maxim increases to 7 years. 

However, several different culpability factors will influence the sentence you are given. The first of these is whether the incident was premeditated, that is you thought about and planned doing it beforehand. 

Additionally, if you were coerced into offending, if it was self-defence, or if there is a mental health issue at play, can all impact the length of sentence you may be given. 

The level of harm that you caused will also play into your sentencing, with incidents causing permanent and serious harm being punished more severely. 

It is important to remember that it’s not uncommon for first-time offenders found guilty under Section 18 to go to jail. However, a lack of a previous criminal record along with good character witnesses could reduce the sentence. 

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