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Assaults

Canadian law defines the criminal offense of assault as any act where one person applies, or threatens to apply force to another individual without their consent. There are different types of assault charges depending on the amount of force used, injuries sustained by the victim and if a weapon was involved, as well as if the assault was committed as part of another criminal offense.

Even the slightest force used against another without their consent can be considered assault. For example, you slap the face or hands of another person during an argument. Even though the injuries might only leave a red mark, force was used without their consent. As a result you could face assault if they file charges against you.

A conviction of assault results in a criminal record and other possible consequences as a result of your actions. During your arrest, your fingerprints are taken and a DNA sample may be collected and these could be uploaded to police databases across the country. You might face jail time, risk your employment, and hurt your reputation in the community.

If you have been charged with assault, you need to learn about your rights and possible defenses against the charges by contacting Vaughan criminal defense lawyer Rudi Covre.

Types of Assault Offenses

The Criminal Code of Canada defines the variances between different types of assaults depending upon the circumstances during the time the act was performed and extent of injuries sustained by the victim.

Assault

A general criminal assault offense is where a weapon was not used, nor was there sexual assault committed during the act. The injuries to the victim are short term, such as a bruise, scratch or other mark indicting force was used without their consent.

Assault Causing Bodily Injury

In cases where the assault causes more serious injuries than general assault and is not sexual assault, aggravated assault, or assault with a weapon, a person is charged with assault causing bodily injury.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is where the suspect intentionally intends to maim, disfigure or wound the victim. Maiming is where the suspect inflicts injury to the victim in order to make them less capable of defending themselves. Disfiguring is causing harm to make the victim’s physical appearance less attractive. Wounding a person is where the victim’s skin is broken and bleeds as a result of the force applied during the assault.

Assault with a Weapon

You can be charged with assault with a weapon if you are carrying, threaten to use, or use a weapon while committing assault. The law defines weapons as any object which is used to cause injury and is not limited to guns and knives, or toys that look like actual guns and knives. Other objects, such as a baseball bats, hockey sticks, tire irons, automobiles, drinking glasses, and so on, are considered a weapon if they are used to inflict force and cause injury on a victim without their consent.

Assaulting a Police Officer

Knowingly assaulting an officer of the law is grounds for being charged with assaulting a police officer. The suspect must be aware the person they are assaulting is a police office. The police officer may or may not be in uniform. If the suspect has no prior knowledge the victim is a police officer, then they are charged with a different type of assault offense.

Assault while Resisting Arrest

You are charged with assault while resisting arrest if you assault a police officer or peace officer during arrest. You could also be charged with assaulting a police officer.

Domestic Assault

Domestic assault charges are used in situations where there is a preexisting relationship between the suspect and victim, such as partners, spouses, parent and child, and so on. While the types of assaults committed can be similar to other assault offenses, they are handled differently by the Vaughan courts due to the fact there is a preexisting relationship and trust factor. Further the suspect may have other special conditions imposed upon them by the court pending the outcome of a domestic assault charge, such as not contacting the victim, and in certain situations, their children.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is considered assaulting a person, either with or without a weapon, with the intention of having sex or deliberately touching the victim’s breasts, genitals, or other areas of the body in a sexual manner.

Assault during the Commission of another Crime

Persons facing other criminal charges may also be charged with assault if the act was committed during the commission of another crime. For example, during a robbery, the suspect hits the victim using force without their consent, either with or without a weapon.

Defenses to Assault Charges

There are several different defenses which can be used when you are charged with assault. Prior to be formally charged, the Crown must establish you applied force to the victim without their consent and be able to demonstrate the injuries sustained by the victim from such force. If there was no threat of force or real force committed, then there was no assault committed.

Keep in mind there are situations where people consent to force. In these cases, the other person may attempt to file assault charges later if they feel wronged or attempt to seek retribution. However, as long as there was consent between both parties, there was no crime committed.

For example, you are playing hockey and you injure another player. Since hockey is a contact sport and injury is possible, players automatically consent to being assaulted. Another example is where two adults get into an argument and mutually decide to settle their differences by fighting. Regardless of the injuries sustained from the fight, both adults consented to the fight, so there is no criminal assault.

In some cases, victims are charged with assault. However, if they can clearly prove to the court they were acting in self-defense, then the charges are normally dropped. It is the court’s responsibility to determine whether the amount of force used during self-defense was reasonable or excessive.

Assault Conviction Consequences

An assault conviction results in a criminal record. Depending on the type of assault charge you could potentially be sentenced to jail. The amount of jail time received from a conviction is at the court’s discretion. The court normally attempts to set jail time as it fits with the level and degree of assault. However, some judges like to set precedents by sentencing a convicted person to a much longer jail sentence as deterrent to others. Additionally, you might be sued in civil court by the victim to recover damages from pain, suffering, and medical bills.

Because every assault case has its own sets of circumstances, it is highly recommended you contact Rudi Covre, a criminal defense lawyer in Vaughan, to schedule your free consultation appointment to discuss your case and determine the best way to prepare your defense against your charges.

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