The Kruse Law Firm focuses entirely on criminal defence. Your ability to receive timely and effective legal advice both before and after being charged with assault in Guelph is critical for making informed decisions in court. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can recommend the best strategies for protecting your rights and future.
Guelph Assault Lawyer
A lawyer will begin by reviewing the facts of your particular case and determining the severity of your assault charge. The main types of assault are:
- Simple assault s.266 of the Criminal Code (“CC”)
- Assault with a weapon s. 267(a) C.C.
- Assault causing bodily harm s. 267(b) C.C.
- Aggravated assault s. 268 C.C.
- Sexual assault s. 271 C.C.
- Aggravated sexual assault s. 273 C.C.
- Assault on a peace officer s. 271 C.C.
Simple assault (“assault”) involves intentionally applying force on someone or the intention to do so, without that person’s consent. The police in Guelph may charge a person with assault even though they only attempted or threatened, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person. Beyond that, assault involves emotionally charged encounters without weapons that result in minor injuries or none at all.
A charge of assault with a weapon could occur if a person used any object to contact or threaten someone. The weapon does not have to be a firearm or knife. When moderate to severe injuries occur as a result of using a weapon, the police will usually also lay an assault causing bodily harm charge.
Legal Consequences of Assault
For assault, assault with a weapon, or assault causing bodily harm, the prosecution may proceed by either summary conviction or by indictment. The election which the Crown makes matters because an indictable offence could result in a lengthier prison term. Both summary conviction and indictable assault trials must take place in the Ontario Court of Justice. If a person is charged with assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm and the Crown elects by indictment, the accused can elect to be tried by a judge alone in the Ontario Court of Justice or in the Superior Court of Justice by a judge sitting alone or by a judge and jury. There is no right for an accused to request a preliminary hearing if they have been charged with assault, assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm. If the crown elects summarily for an assault, assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm, the accused’s trial takes place in the Ontario Court of Justice.
Aggravated assault means the victim’s injuries were extremely serious resulting in wounding, maiming, disfiguring or life-threatening injuries. Aggravated assault is a straight indictable offence, whereas the lesser forms of assault also allow the Crown the option of proceeding summarily, resulting in lesser maximum jail terms. Sexual assault is a dual procedure offence where the Crown can elect to proceed summarily or by indictment.
If a person is convicted of aggravated assault, they could be facing up to a maximum of 14 years in prison. One potentially strategic benefit of being charged with aggravated assault is that you can elect to be tried in the Ontario Court of Justice by a judge sitting alone or in the Superior Court of justice by judge alone or by a judge and jury. You can also elect to have a preliminary hearing for your aggravated assault charge, if you elect to be tried in the Superior Court of Justice.
Assault vs. Sexual Assault
The law defines sexual assault similarly to assault except that force is applied without consent for a sexual purpose. A sexual assault occurs in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. One example of a minor sexual assault charge would be a person grabbing a victim’s buttocks for a sexual purpose. On the other end of the scale would be a serious sexual assault involving non-consensual sexual intercourse. The Crown may prosecute a less aggravated sexual assault charge by summary conviction or as an indictable offence. A charge of aggravated sexual assault applies in cases that resulted in serious injuries (i.e. wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the complainant). There is a minimum sentence of 5 years in jail for certain types of aggravated sexual assaults. However, a person charged with an aggravated sexual assault, could be facing up to a lifetime in prison depending on the facts of their case and their personal background.
Defending Assault Cases
At the Kruse Law Firm, we will prepare a defence based on the most suitable strategies for your particular case. Defence arguments to win an assault trial include:
- Defence of another person
- Defence of property
- Consent existed between the parties
A defence lawyer’s skilled efforts may persuade the Crown or Court in Guelph to approve alternatives to avoid a criminal record or explore alternatives to a prison term. In addition to representing our clients at trial, an important part of our job as criminal defence lawyers is to negotiate with the Crown to try and have the charges withdrawn, advocate for a peace bond or avoid or lessen a jail term.
A well-executed defence could result in better outcomes for you than facing a lengthy jail term, such as:
- Withdrawal of the charges
- Diversion or a peace bond
- Absolute or conditional discharge (which avoids a criminal record)
- Suspended sentence (i.e. probation)
Why You Should Retain Us
Society takes any type of assault charge seriously and the consequences of being convicted of even a simple assault can be devastating. Hiring a criminal defence lawyer could avoid the Crown or Court from seeing your case in the harshest light. The Kruse Law Firm has a long standing and successful track record of winning assault trials and negotiating lenient sentencing outcomes for clients who may not want to proceed to trial. Our criminal lawyers can explain why you deserve fair treatment and your best strategy moving forward. The firm’s founder, Michael Kruse, has diligently worked in the criminal courts for over 30 years and believes that everyone deserves a dynamic defence to maximize positive outcomes.
Call us or book a free online consultation to hear expert advice from one of our criminal defence lawyers serving defendants in Guelph. We can help you cope with your situation and alleviate your stress. Contact us today.