A Primer on Criminal Assault in Calgary

Many assault cases in Calgary involve criminal charges, and can result in a lasting criminal record if you're convicted. Criminal assault charges can be extremely damaging both to your reputation and your livelihood. Even if you haven't laid a hand on anyone, criminal assault charges may still be laid against you.

Here's what you need to know if you're charged with criminal assault in Calgary, based on my education and experience as a Calgary criminal defence lawyer.

Understanding Assault Charges in Calgary

In Calgary and throughout Canada, assault covers more actions than you might think. Among these is the obvious definition of assault: intentionally applying force, either directly or not, to another when they haven't consented to such application of force. This can mean hitting, shoving, kicking, punching, or even spitting on someone. When you're charged with this type of assault, it's up to the Crown prosecutors to prove both that you applied the force, and that the other person did not consent to it.

But the law in Calgary defining assault includes threatening or attempting to apply force to another in such a way that they could reasonably believe you were going to harm them, even if that wasn't your intention. For Crown prosecutors to prove this type of case, they have to show that you were threatening another, and that the person threatened had a credible reason to believe you would inflict the threatened harm if they didn't comply.

Either of these types of assault can happen by accident. In the heat of the moment, a verbal argument may become physical with as little provocation as touching another's arm to make a point; someone could take something you said in the wrong way, causing them to feel threatened; there may be a major misunderstanding due to a lack of communication. Anytime someone feels threatened by you, it can potentially result in an assault charge, even if you weren't intending to threaten or harm them.

Calgary's Assault Charges

As with many other types of criminal charges, assault charges can come in a variety of degrees. An aggravated assault, for instance, is the most severe degree of assault, and correspondingly carries the harshest penalties a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. If the Court finds that your actions caused serious bodily harm to another, and that you reasonably knew that your actions would or could cause such harm, a conviction for aggravated assault could plague you for the rest of your life.

Other types of assault charges in Calgary include assault causing physical harm, assault with a weapon, and threatening to carry out an assault with a weapon. These charges may be laid as indictable offences or summary conviction offences, and can result in up to ten years in prison.

Facing Assault Charges in Calgary?

No matter what type of assault you've been charged with, or the circumstances leading up to the charge, it's important to seek the advice of an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer. You're entitled to proper and effective legal representation to assist in your defence. Contact my office today for your free initial consultation about your assault charges.