Assault & Threats Offences
Assault & Threats Offences
The criminal offence of assault can cover a wide range of circumstances and the consequences of an assault conviction will vary in accordance with the specific circumstances of the case.
The offence of “common” or “simple” assault is laid out in s. 265 of the Criminal Code and is the most basic of the most various assault-adjacent offences. The offence of simple assault can be committed in various ways:
- Intentionally applying force on another person without their consent;
- Attempting or threatening by an act or gesture to apply force on another person to cause them to believe that you will assault them; and,
- If you accost or impede another person while openly carrying a weapon or an imitation weapon.
The Crown can prosecute a charge of simple assault on summary conviction (for less serious allegations) or by indictment (for more serious allegations). If you are convicted of simple assault on a matter which proceeded by way of summary conviction, the maximum sentence you can receive is 6 months of jail and/or a fine of $5,000 and if you are convicted of simple assault on a matter which proceeded by way of indictment, the maximum sentence you can receive is 5 years of jail. However, many assault convictions can be resolved with little to no jail time, depending on the circumstances of the case and a lawyer can help you achieve such a result.
Assault With a Weapon
Under s. 267(a) of the Criminal Code, anyone who, in committing an assault, carries, uses, or threatens to use a weapon (or imitation of a weapon) may be charged with assault of a weapon. The Crown must prove the following to secure a conviction pursuant to s. 267(a):
- The identity of the accused;
- The date, time and place of the incident;
- That the accused assaulted the victim; and,
- The assault was committed by the accused while the accused was carrying a weapon (as defined in the Criminal Code), or the accused used a weapon, or the accused threatened to use a weapon.
The maximum penalty for a conviction of assault with a weapon is 10 years of jail if the Crown proceeds by way of indictment or 18 months in jail if the Crown proceeds by way of summary conviction. Being charged with Assault with a Weapon pursuant to s. 267(a) of the Criminal Code is a more serious offence than simple assault and hiring a lawyer is your best chance at a successful defence. If you have been charged with Assault with a Weapon, please contact our office for a free consultation.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm
The offence of assault causing bodily harm is outlined in s. 267(b) of the Criminal Code and is another serious allegation. In order to prove an allegation of assault causing bodily harm, the Crown must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused intentionally assaulted the victim and as a result of that action, the victim suffered non-trivial injuries.
The maximum penalty for a conviction of assault causing bodily harm is 10 years of jail if the Crown proceeds by way of indictment or 18 months in jail if the Crown proceeds by way of summary conviction. However, there are many possible defences available for such an allegation, including but not limited to the following:
- A consensual fight between the accused and the complainant;
- Defence of another person or property; and,
- Accidental or mistaken contact.
Mounting a successful defence or negotiating with Crown to drop an allegation of assault causing bodily harm often requires the skilled assistance of a criminal lawyer. The lawyers at Cote & Evans Trial Lawyers are adept at dealing with such charges and assist you in negotiating with Crown counsel or mounting a successful defence.
The offence of aggravated assault is outlined in s. 268 of the Criminal Code and the Crown must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:
- The accused assaulted the victim;
- As a result of the assault, the victim sustained injuries resulting in the wounding, maiming or endangerment of the victim; and,
- A reasonable person would have realized that the accused’s conduct would subject the victim to bodily harm.
Given the serious nature of this offence, prosecutions of aggravated assault only proceed by indictment and the maximum sentence available is 14 years of jail. However, there are several defences that an experienced criminal lawyer can present to the court, including self-defence or defence of another person or property.
UTTERING THREATS TO CAUSE DEATH OR BODILY HARM
In Canada, it is a criminal offence to intentionally express to someone that you wish to cause them death or bodily harm, damage or destroy their property or hurt or kill their animals, including pets or livestock. A person can commit this offence through words, in written communication, or even through gestures.
The Crown Prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt certain factors, including the following:
- The threat(s) complained of were knowingly uttered, written out or acted out by the accused to intimidate or the accused intended their words to be taken seriously;
- A reasonable person aware of the circumstances would interpret the words as a threat of death or bodily harm; and,
- The allegedly threatening words themselves must denote a desire to cause death or bodily harm, to destroy property or to hurt or kill animals.
The punishment that you can receive if you are convicted of uttering threats will depend on whether the Crown chooses to prosecute your case by way of summary conviction or by indictment:
- If you are charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm to another person pursuant to s. 264.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, If the Crown proceeds by way of summary conviction, the maximum sentence the court can impose is 2 years less a day of jail and if the Crown proceeds by indictment, the maximum sentence the court can impose is 5 years of jail.
- If you are charged with uttering threats to cause damage, death or harm to a person’s property or animal pursuant to s. 264.1(1)(b) or (c), the maximum sentence if the Crown proceeds by way of summary conviction or indictment is 2 years of jail.
A person charged with this offence can have various defences available to the including defences involving the identity of the accused, the seriousness of the threat, and the context of the threat. The Lawyers a Cote & Evans Trial Lawyers are experienced at presenting such a defence. If you have questions about an uttering threats allegation or charge, please contact us for a free consultation.