3 Things to Know When You're Charged With Assault in Calgary
Charges of/suspicion for assault remain one of the most common reasons of arrest by the Calgary Police, and common assault cases can be heard nearly every day in the Calgary courts. It's not that Calgary is an especially violent city, in fact, compared to the rest of the world and even the rest of Canada, Calgary is very safe, but rather that the charge of "common assault" encompasses a great deal of behavior we might not typically consider violent or think of as an assault.
For instance, did you know that using gestures, actions, or words to physically threaten someone can result in an assault charge without any physical contact taking place? Or that any intentional unwanted physical contact is potential grounds for an assault charge, even if no injury is caused? The assault laws at work in Calgary are purposefully broad, allowing law enforcement, Crown prosecutors, and judges to use a fair amount of discretion in determining when alleged behavior becomes aggressive enough to warrant intervention by the criminal justice system.
But though the assault law is broad, it doesn't erode your rights. Here are three things ever Calgary citizen should keep in mind if they're charged with common assault.
1. You Are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty
It's a fundamental principle of the criminal justice system in any free nation, and it's enshrined in the highest body of land in Canada: even if you've been arrested and charged with a crime, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty and deserve to be treated as such.
When police and others are accusing you of crimes or questioning you as though you are guilty, it can be difficult to remember that the system considers you innocent until there has actually been a finding of guilt in a court of law. Know that as much as the system seems stacked against you, you still have the ability to put your assault charge behind you.
2. You Have the Right to Fight Your Assault Charge
Not only do you have the right to be treated as innocent until you have been proven guilty, but you have the right to fight and assert your innocence in a court, before a judge and/or jury. If you believe you did not commit an assault and that the facts being alleged against you are false, you are entitled to raise that as a defence against the crimes you have been accused of.
3. You Are Entitled to a Calgary Defence Lawyer
Another important principle of our criminal justice system, and that is also included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is your right to consult with a lawyer before you respond to your chagres or answer questions from the Calgary Police. This is true for assault charges just as it is for any other crime, you are entitled to speak with a lawyer as soon as is practically possible following your arrest and/or charge.
For a free initial consultation with one of Calgary's leading defence lawyers, please contact my office today.