Assault charges can arise from a variety of altercations and interactions. By definition, according to the Criminal Code of Canada, a person commits an assault when:
a) without the consent of the other person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
The most common types of assault that fall under the above definition include domestic assault, sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and aggravated assault. What all these charges have in common are the potentially dire consequences when one gets accused. The accused risks not only the moral stigma from having been charged or convicted of an assault, but also spending years in jail.
Assault convictions carry maximum penalties that can range up to more than 10 years in prison. When you face such severe penalties, knowing a few essential facts about assault charges can help your defence.
Domestic assault is defined as any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another. A charge like this is taken very seriously even though the complainant may later retract the accusation and reconsider the events. In fact, Ontario policy mandates that Crown Attorneys proceed with charges in domestic cases. The charges cannot be dropped by the complainant who called the police. It is the Crown Attorney who determines if the case proceeds to court or not once a charge is laid.
Because of this, it is essential to contact a lawyer immediately. When police respond to a domestic assault call, they separate the parties involved, asking each individual targeted questions to see if there is cause to lay criminal offence charges. The police are ultimately concerned with gathering evidence, and during those times, it is possible for someone to say something that may result in being arrested or charged. If a call is made to the police, call a defense lawyer immediately before you say anything.
Sexual assault is also obviously taken very seriously. It is defined as sexual contact without both parties’ voluntary consent, which can also include non-consensual touching or kissing. If you are accused of sexual assault, consult a defense lawyer. Sexual assault accusations are usually complicated cases. Perceptions of an incident may vary from person to person and it can be difficult to determine what really happened. Oftentimes, facts can be misinterpreted and taken out of context. Moreover, there is the possibility that the complainant is not credible.
To be found guilty of a sexual assault, it must be proven in court that the assault occurred, that the accused was in fact the attacker, and that the attack was not consensual. An experienced lawyer can properly look at and investigate the facts and present a case for your defense. Depending on the type of sexual offence you are charged with, you can serve up to 14 years in prison and possibly longer depending on the circumstances and charges laid.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm
Assault causing bodily harm is an assault that is made with the intention of causing harm to another person through offensive contact. Bodily harm, in this sense, constitutes injuries that are significant, but not severe, such as injuries that cause bruises. A conviction occurs if the crown can establish and prove the way the assault was committed, the use of force was intentional, and the extent of the physical injury of the complainant.
Depending on the case, the offence can be charged as either an indictable or a summary offence with penalties ranging from 18 months to 10 years. Remember that just being charged will not automatically result in a conviction. A strategic defense may help get the charges against you reduced or dropped.
An aggravated assauIt charge is different than a charge for assault causing bodily harm. This type of assault is defined by more considerable injuries. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, “every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.” More often than not, aggravated assault is associated with other types of assault charges, such as those committed using a weapon during a bar fight, for example.
In some instances, the situation may be a case of self defense. However, this depends on the circumstances. In addition to self defense, there are many other factors to consider: mistaken identity, consent, an accident, and the defense of an individual, just to name a few. Though aggravated assault is an indictable offence, having your case fully assessed can help minimize or eliminate any possible jail time you may be facing.
Fight Your Assault Charges
In all cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can determine the nature, defense and severity of your case. Though the outcome of an assault charge might seem alarming, a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer can assist by probing and questioning each piece of evidence to provide a strong, strategic defense. An experienced lawyer can be a major asset for anyone facing serious charges.
The OMQ legal team:
- Is committed to protecting our clients’ constitutional rights.
- Highly experienced and skilled with defences related to assault charges.
- Committed to providing strong, diligent and strategic counsel in very difficult situations..
Call now free at 416-735-9091, to see how we can help you.