Need Advice? 780.425.7448 or 604.669.7447

Criminal Trials and Appeals | Edmonton | Vancouver

Common Assault

Sprake Song & Konye Defend You from Common Assault Charges

Assault charges are serious and can have long-lasting negative impacts on your career, your future, and your family. If you’re facing these types of charges, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you.

Sprake Song & Konye have helped many clients facing assault charges get their life back on track.

As experienced assault attorneys, we understand the complexities of the legal code surrounding assault and will fight for your future.

What is Common Assault?

Essentially, common assault is any type of assault outside of domestic assault, which occurs between two people formerly or currently in a dating or married relationship.

The definition of assault, according to section 265 of the Criminal Code, is when direct or indirect force is applied to a person. Assault must be an intentional act. In other words, the offender must intend to cause harm, or the victim must believe the offender intends to cause harm.

Under this definition, common assault includes uttering threats, uttering “death” threats, assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault.

The criminal code doesn’t specify the degree of power or force which qualifies an intentional act as assault, which means that simply touching another person without their consent could potentially constitute an assault.

What is the Difference Between Assault and Uttering Threats?

Under the legal definition of assault, the victim doesn’t have to be physically assaulted to press charges. Threats to cause death or bodily harm are treated as assault, even if no physical force is applied.

The Crown may make a case that a threat constituted assault, but only by proving that the victim had reasonable belief that the offender was able to carry out the threat.

Types of Common Assault

Since the definition of common assault is so broad, the types of assault chargers an offender might face are broad as well.

For common assaults that don’t constitute aggravated assault or assault causing bodily harm, punishment may not exceed five years imprisonment. However, most minor cases result in minimal custody time or probation, depending on your record.

Sexual Assaults are treated differently by The Crown and are discussed in more detail here.

Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, and Assault Causing Bodily Harm

Sections 267, 268, and 269 of the Criminal Code outline definitions of the more serious assault charges of Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, and Assault Causing Bodily Harm.

An Aggravated Assault, according to Section 268, is one in which the offender “wounds, mains, disfigures, or endangers the life” of the victim. As with common assaults, an aggravated assault isn’t necessarily limited to the physical wounding, maiming, or disfiguring of the victim; The Crown need only prove that the victim had reasonable belief that they were in danger of these things.

The maximum penalty for aggravated assault is 14 years imprisonment and may also include a fine, probation, prison, intermittent sentence, or some combination of the above. Conviction of aggravated assault results in mandatory prohibition and forfeiture of firearms.

An Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, as defined in Section 267, is one in which an offender uses a weapon or imitation weapon. A weapon could be anything used to apply force directly or indirectly on the victim, including but not limited to firearms, knives, bats, clubs, and even dogs.

An Assault Causing Bodily Harm, defined in Section 269, is one in which the victim is injured in a way which “interferes with the health or comfort… and is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.” The charge of causing bodily harm is less serious than that of aggravated assault in which the victim is “wounded, disfigured, maimed, or life-threatened.”

Assault with a Weapon and Assault Causing Bodily Harm are charged as hybrid offences, and The Crown may proceed in two different ways.

If the Crown proceeds by summary conviction, conviction may carry an 18 month maximum imprisonment, $5000 fine, or both.

The Crown may also choose to proceed by indictment, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. Conviction of either of these assault charges may result in fine, probation, prison, discharge, intermittent or suspended sentence, or some combination of the above. Conviction also results in mandatory prohibition and forfeiture of firearms.

Assault as Self-Defence

In order for this defence to be effective, The Crown must be satisfied that you believed you were in imminent danger and that using force to defend yourself was “reasonable in the circumstances.”

Sprake Song & Konye: Your Best Defence

Assault charges are very serious, and you need the best possible defence. If you are facing charges like common assault, aggravated assault, or sexual assault, it’s critical to secure an experienced assault lawyer as soon as possible.

We know how to build a solid defence and support our clients with expert investigation and advice.
Protect your future and contact Sprake Song & Konye today.