Assault Laws in Calgary: What You Should Know
As a dedicated Calgary defence lawyer, one of the most common charges I encounter is assault. Many of my clients come to me shocked that they have even been charged with a criminal offence, let alone something as serious as assault; often these charges arise from a simple misunderstanding that may have gotten a little out of hand. Yet when an assault charge has been laid against you in the Calgary courts, there is nothing simple or little about your case.
No matter how mistake you think the Calgary Police or Crown prosecutor are for charging you with assault, you're facing a significant legal challenge. Given the way Calgary's assault laws are written, it's all too easy to find yourself accused of criminal assault even if you don't believe you've done anything wrong.
Here are a few things you should know about assault laws in Calgary, straight from an experienced Calgary defence lawyer.
Any Unwanted Physical Contact Can Lead to an Assault Charge in Calgary
If you touch another person in any way without their consent, you can technically be charged with an assault. Now, if you accidentally bump into a coworker in the hallway or put a hand on a stranger on the bus when you lose your balance, no law enforcement officer or Calgary judge will interpret this as a crime. But if you're in the midst of a heated discussion, even this type of accident might be misinterpreted as a purposeful act of violence.
If you place a hand on someone, even to calm or restrain them, it could potentially be viewed as an assault. So be careful who you touch, and when you touch them. If someone takes it the wrong way, the law may be stacked against you.
Not All Alleged Assaults in Calgary Involve Physical Contact
The definition of "assault" in Calgary might already seem broad, but it gets even broader. There doesn't actually need to be any touching at all for a criminal assault to have taken place. If you make a verbal threat of violence, brandish a weapon, or simply stand in someone's way when they're trying to pass, that can constitute an assault as well. Even if you don't intend on doing anything physical, the simple attempt to intimidate or frighten someone through these actions is considered the same crime as what you might think of as an "actual" assault.
Under the law, the threat of physical violence is assault, just like any unwanted physical contact.
Calgary Assault Convictions Carry Serious Consequences
If you are convicted of assault by a Calgary judge or jury, you can find yourself spending years in prison and/or facing massive fines and fees. No matter how trivial you feel the incident leading to your charges may be, the consequences can be devastating and should not under any circumstances be ignored. Your future is very much on the line, and depends on mounting the best possible defence against your assault charges.
For a free initial consultation with one of Calgary's most dedicated defence lawyers, please contact my office today.