Practice Areas: Assault

Assault under the Criminal Code of Canada refers to the direct or indirect application of force on another person without their consent. 

This can include a wide variety of scenarios. A person does not have to have physical contact with someone for an assault charge. Assault charges can also come from stopping or restraining a person from doing something.

Also, the victim does not need to be physically hurt or have lasting injuries for an assault charge, so long as it has offended their dignity. A push, pinch, or slap for example, while obviously less severe than lasting physical harm, may still bring about an assault charge. More serious assaults that cause lasting physical harm can rise to the level of aggravated assault.

The penalties for assault can be severe depending on the nature and severity of the assault. Prison sentences can range from 2 years less a day for a summary conviction prosecution, or up to 14 years for a serious aggravated assault. Moreover, anyone charged with assault may be left with a criminal record, which can present later difficulties such as securing employment.

An assault charge can vary greatly based on the circumstances behind the assault. For a criminal act the assault has to have been intentional, so a defence of consent to the act or of self-defence may reduce or eliminate any potential penalties. Your lawyer will review your charge in detail to see what potential defences apply.