Assault has a very broad definition according to the Criminal Code of Canada. Generally, assault is when a person applies intentional force to another person without consent. It also includes threatening to apply force and even just attempting to apply force through actions or gestures.
If you have been charged with assault, the consequences of simply pleading guilty and eventually having a criminal record may be very severe—not only to yourself but to your family. Your ability to obtain work may be compromised for the rest of your life due to a criminal record.
The Many Different Forms of Assault
Physical harm does not necessarily need to occur in order to be accused of assault. In fact, applied force without consent can be enough to lead to an accusation of assault. In order to be charged, the accused must have (or seem to have) the present ability to affect the purpose of assaulting. Holding a weapon—even just an imitation weapon—in order to hinder another person is also assault.
A charge of simple assault could be upgraded with the following provisions:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Domestic assault
- Assault with a weapon
- Assaulting a peace officer
Consequences of an Assault Conviction
The criminal justice system can be very harsh to those who are processed under it. The outcome you face depends in large part on the expertise of your criminal defence lawyer and the strategy they execute in delivering your defence, but possible consequences include the following:
- If a person is found guilty of assault with an indictable offense, the punishment is imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years. A person can be convicted of an offense punishable on summary conviction as well.
- If the accused used a weapon (or an imitation thereof) or caused bodily harm, the accused may be guilty of an indictable offense liable to a maximum of ten years' imprisonment or a summary conviction liable to a maximum of 18 months' imprisonment.
- An aggravated assault, where the accused wounds, maims, disfigures, or endangers another's life, is an indictable offence liable to a maximum of 14 years' imprisonment.
- Instead of imprisonment, there may be other alternatives to carry out the sentence, such as fines, suspended sentence, diversion, or discharges. It also depends on the facts and circumstances as to whether the court decides to label your actions as assault.
Be aware that there can be a number of valid defences when accused of assault. You can state that you assaulted as a method of self-defence or to defend others—or even your property—and that you did not provoke any assault. You may also argue that you had the consent of the person or the violation of your rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Contact Our Defence Team for Help
There are many strategies that a skilled criminal lawyer can follow to overturn an assault charge or to get the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with assault in Ontario, contact us today to learn how we can help you in a free online consultation.