Affordable Ottawa Assault Defence Lawyers

Ottawa Aggravated Assault Criminal Lawyers

Assault is a relatively common but often poorly misunderstood charge.

The charge needs to be taken very seriously because of serious potential penalties. However, the complexities of the law can make a conviction challenging for the prosecution.

As criminal defence lawyers, we are well accustomed to exploring potential weaknesses in the case against defendants in assault cases.

Sometimes, a momentary loss of temper, extenuating circumstances or provocation leads to an unintended outcome. We believe that one mistake or one accusation against you shouldn’t have devastating lifelong consequences.

Speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer at Affordable Defence in Ottawa to start building your case. We will protect your rights and advise you on the recommended next steps.

What is considered an assault?

Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the basic crime of assault occurring when a person:

  1. Without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly.
  2. He attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose.
  3. While openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

Common types of assault

Assault is further broken down into several different types, depending on the circumstances, as follows:

If a person applies force upon another person but no injury occurs or it is only a scratch or bruise, it is likely to result in no more than a charge of common assault, which is the lowest grade.

Such force is usually applied from a person’s hands, legs or feet only.

Aggressive acts, gestures or words towards another person or people that you share a relationship with can be charged as domestic assault. This includes other family members, a spouse, a common-law partner or even a dating partner.

Matters of domestic assault are regarded as more serious than simple assault. Little sympathy is shown towards perpetrators of domestic violence and the bail conditions usually prevent the accused from returning home or having any contact with the family members concerned.

Sexual assault is also considered more serious than simple assault. Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind is a violation of the other person’s integrity and rights.

The investigators, prosecutors, and the court will consider the following factors in sexual assault cases:

  • The area of the body touched
  • The nature of the contact
  • The situation in which the incident occurred
  • The words and gestures accompanying the act
  • Any threats or force that was used

It is worth noting that in Ontario, a spouse may be charged with sexual assault on the other spouse.

If a significant physical injury has occurred from an assault (i.e., not transient or trifling in nature), a charge of assault causing bodily harm may be filed.

Jail time is more likely for an assault of this nature.

Assault with a weapon involves the application of force with an inanimate object. This needn’t be a gun or a knife – it can include a stick, bat or projectile, for example.

Aggravated assault charges are normally filed when an injury is more substantial than one caused by an assault causing bodily harm.

Specifically, if a person is wounded, maimed, disfigured or their life is endangered, it may result in an aggravated assault charge. A conviction can lead to significant jail time.

Is physical harm necessary for an assault charge?

The law says that the intentional application of force or even the threat of force can lead to a charge of simple assault.

Physical harm is, therefore, not necessary for an assault charge. For instance, a push or pinch may be enough for an assault charge.

What happens if you accidentally strike someone?

Intent is a key element of an assault charge so if the physical contact is an accidental or reflex action, no charge can be filed.

It can be difficult to convict someone who is accused of assault in a crowded area, like a bus or sports arena, as the contact can be presented as accidental.

What are the main defences for assault charges?

The two main defences to an assault charge are:

For a conviction, the application of force must be without the consent of the party allegedly assaulted. It can be challenging to prove that consent was given or implied but it does depend on the situation and social circumstances.

For instance, touching someone in a certain way at a party might be more tolerated than on a public bus.

If a person uses “reasonable” force in response to provocation, to protect either themselves, a close family member or property, it can be a valid defence.

The response must be in proportion to the provocation or it is not a valid defence.

What are the penalties for assault in Ottawa?

Affordable Assault Defense Attorneys in Ottawa OntarioThe penalties for assault generally increase in proportion to the amount of harm caused to the victim.

Common to all assault convictions is a criminal record but the likelihood of jail time depends on the type of assault.

Some are prosecuted as summary convictions, which carry a maximum sentence of two years less one day. Others are prosecuted as indictments, with a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

Assault causing bodily harm can lead to a jail term of up to 10 years and aggravated assault is 14 years.

The longer-term consequences of receiving a criminal record include problems with employment, travelling abroad, and immigration status.

Affordable defence for assault in Ottawa

After evaluating your case, we will see if it is possible to get the charges dismissed. If not, there are usually other options.

Sometimes, pleading guilty may help you avoid a criminal conviction if a conditional discharge and community service are a possibility. This is more likely if you have no previous criminal history.

If you have been charged with assault in Ottawa, our skilled criminal lawyers at Affordable Defence can protect your rights and freedoms and defend you against the charge. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

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