A Criminal Lawyer Can Help You Avoid the Most Serious Assault Charges

Having a criminal record can have serious consequences for your career, immigration status and family. A conviction of assault is no exception.

In Canada, it is illegal to apply force against another person without their consent. This can include words, gestures or even a tap on the arm.

People are charged with assault every day for incidents that result in little or no physical injury. Alex De Boyrie focuses on comprehensive case analysis, meticulous preparation and fierce advocacy for his clients.

What is an Assault?

As defined in the Criminal Code, an assault is the unlawful application of force against another person without their consent. This force can be applied directly, like a punch or more indirectly, such as hitting someone with a piece of furniture. In order to be convicted of an assault, the Crown prosecutor must prove that you intended to apply force against another person and that the force was used without their consent.

In most cases, the Crown will elect to proceed by summary conviction and a sentence of up to six months in jail. However, if the injury is severe, they may choose to proceed by indictment and a sentence of up to 14 years.

Many people charged with assault are involved in domestic matters, which are often “he said, she said” disputes. As such, a defence commonly raised is that the accused was acting in self-defence. However, this is not always possible and it is important to know the specifics of your case.

Assault with a Weapon

Assault with a weapon refers to the use of any instrument or imitation thereof, resulting in bodily harm. This is the most serious type of assault and can result in up to 14 years in prison.

The Crown must prove that the accused used force that caused physical harm to the victim. This can be anything from a scratch to a broken arm and everything in between.

If the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction, it is unlikely that the accused will face jail time unless they have a previous record of violence. However, if the Crown chooses to indict the accused, they will have the option of being tried at the Superior Court of Justice by judge alone or judge and jury.

There are several defences to this charge including self-defence, defence of property and accident/mistake. Defences may also include arguing that the weapon was not actually used and a reasonable person would have believed that they were in danger.

Assault Causing Bodily Harm

Assault that causes bodily harm is a serious charge, as the Crown needs to establish more than just an injury – they must also show you intended to cause the injuries. This can include anything from a few scratches to broken bones, or a combination of both.

One of the most common defences in assault causing bodily harm cases is that you used proportional force to defend yourself or someone else, based on the circumstances. This is supported by Canadian criminal law, which states that everyone has the right to repel force using force, as long as it is not meant to cause death or severe bodily harm.

Whether you are charged with Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Assault with a Weapon, or Assault with a Sexual Offence, it is important that you speak to an experienced Toronto assault lawyer as soon as possible. This will give you the best chance of having your charges withdrawn or reduced.

Aggravated Assault

A criminal lawyer can help you avoid the most serious assault charges in Ontario. Covered by section 268 of the Criminal Code aggravated assault is a straight indictable offence that can carry a sentence of up to 14 years. The Crown must prove that the accused knew, or had objective foresight that the act of assault would cause a complainant to be wounded, maimed, disfigured or their life endangered. Unlike the mens rea required for assault causing bodily harm the Crown doesn’t need to prove that the accused actually intended to cause these injuries rather they needed to know that there was a risk that the offence would result in them.

Charges of aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm are very serious. If you are found guilty you will be incarcerated and could face a weapons ban or DNA order. There will be a number of court appearances and your criminal lawyer can appear on your behalf.