In Canada, there are several types of assault charges that vary in factors leading to the charge. The assault does not need to be intentional, it can also be provoked. An assault charge conviction can lead to very severe penalties depending on the type of assault. Any sort of violent act is taken very seriously by the courts and therefore requires an experienced assault lawyer.
What Is The Definition of an Assault Charge?
Under the Criminal Code, assault is defined in section 265(1). Assault is committed when a person (a) applies force intentionally without the consent of the other person, either directly or indirectly, (b) attempts or threatens to apply force to another person by act or by gesture or causes the other person to believe that they have the present ability to effect their purpose, or (c) accosts or impedes another person or begs while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or imitation of a weapon. The definition under the Criminal Code implies that there does not need to be an actual injury, threat or attempt are included.
What Are the Different Types of Assault Charges in Canada?
1. Simple Assault
Simple assault is defined under section 266 of the Criminal Code. It is the most common assault charge laid in Canada. Simple assault occurs when there are no weapons used and no bodily harm is caused to the victim. Simple assault can occur when there is a fistfight or just a push at a bar.
If someone is charged with simple assault, they can face time in prison. If the Crown proceeds by a summary conviction, the accused will likely not face time in jail. However, if the Crown decides to proceed by indictment, jail time is likely to be the result with up to five years in prison. It is not common for the Crown to elect to proceed by way of indictment for a simple assault charge.
2. Assault Causing Bodily Harm
Assault causing bodily harm is covered under section 267 of the Criminal Code. It requires physical force resulting in physical harm to the victim. The physical harm caused covers a broad range of injuries including scratches, a black eye, sprains, or broken bones.
If the Crown proceeds by summary conviction, the accused can face up to 18 months in prison. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused can face up to 10 years in prison.
3. Assault with a Weapon
Assault with a weapon is also included under section 267 of the Criminal Code. It occurs when someone carries or threatens the use of a weapon or an imitation of a weapon and causes bodily harm. A weapon is not restricted to a gun or a knife and can include a bottle or something as simple as a fork.
If convicted of assault with a weapon, you can face time in prison. If the Crown proceeds by summary conviction, you can face up to 18 months in prison, but if they proceed by indictment, it can be up to 10 years in prison.
4. Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is defined under section 268 of the Criminal Code. The offence occurs when the accused wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the victim. The resulting injury is therefore usually one of a permanent nature. An aggravated assault charge is the most serious assault charge.
Unlike the other assault charges covered thus far, it is treated solely as an indictable offence. As such, if charged with aggravated assault, the accused can face up to 14 years in prison.
5. Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is defined under section 271 of the Criminal Code. It occurs when there is an assault of a sexual nature that results in a violation of the victim. Sexual assault occurs when the victim does not consent to the sexual act.
Sexual assault is taken very seriously by the courts. If the Crown proceeds as a summary conviction, the accused can face up to 18 months, or if the victim is under the age of 16, up to 2 years. However, if the Crown proceeds as an indictable offence, the accused can face up to 10 years in prison or 14 years If the victim is under the age of 16.
6. Sexual Assault with a Weapon to Threaten or Cause Bodily Harm
Sexual assault with a weapon to threaten or cause bodily harm is severely punished. It applies when the accused carries or uses a weapon to threaten or cause bodily harm to the victim. The person committing the sexual assault does not need to be the one holding the weapon to be found guilty.
A first-time offence can result in a minimum of 5 years in prison or 7 years for a second-time offence. The maximum sentence is up to 14 years in prison or life imprisonment if the victim is under the age of 16.
7. Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated sexual assault occurs when the accused has wounded, maimed, disfigured, or endangered the life of the victim while committing the sexual assault.
Aggravated sexual assault is treated as an indictable offence. If the accused used a firearm or committed the offence for the benefit of a criminal organization, the minimum penalty is 5 years for the first offence and 7 years for the second offence. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
8. Assaulting a Police Officer
The Canadian criminal justice system takes offences against public officials very seriously. As such, an assault against a police officer is severely punishable. It occurs when (a) there is an intentional application of force towards a police officer, (b) assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest, or (c) assaulting a police officer while they conduct a lawful search or seizure.
If the Crown proceeds as a summary conviction, you can face a maximum of a $5000 fine or 6 months in jail. However, if it is treated as an indictable offence, you can face up to 5 years in prison.
What Should You Do If You’re Facing An Assault Charge?
An assault charge can change your life. If you are facing an assault charge, Pyzer Criminal Lawyers can defend you. We have won some of the toughest assault cases in Toronto. If you are looking for an experienced lawyer and a successful outcome, contact us at (416) 658-1818. We are dedicated to getting you the best outcome possible.