Calgary Assault Charges and Two Types of Defence Cases
Assault is a relatively common charge brought before the courts in the Calgary area, and many cases are fairly minor, any unwanted touching, application of force, or threat of force can result in an assault charge, making it all too easy for a non-violent misunderstanding to end up with the Calgary Police Service involved. When an assault case is simple enough, and minor enough, Crown prosecutors can elect to proceed with the charge as "summary conviction offence," in which a trial takes place at the Provincial Court level in front of a Judge alone.
Prosecutors may also elect to proceed by way of indictment for an assault charge because assault is a "hybrid offence", it can be charged and prosecuted in two different ways. Crown prosecutors will look at a range of information and details surrounding the case in order to determine how best to proceed; their decision might be influenced by Calgary Police, by statements made by the accused, and by the nature of the facts alleged.
As different processes and different penalties are in place for the two different means of proceeding with charges, it is important to equip yourself with an understanding of the difference between summary conviction offences and indictable offences as they apply to assault accusations arising in Calgary.
Calgary Courts and Summary Conviction Assault Offences
Oftentimes, if Crown Prosecutors elect to proceed by way of summary conviction in an assault case, they may seek lesser penalties if it results in a conviction. A Calgary judge will hear from Crown prosecutors and from the accused or a defence lawyer on behalf of the accused, and will then make a determination of guilt based on the facts presented by both sides if the matter proceeds to trial.
If the judge finds that the evidence is sufficient to result in a conviction for assault, they will then proceed to sentencing. For most assault cases tried in this manner, the maximum penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail term in a Calgary-area facility of up to six months, or both. Other penalties can also be applied when a Calgary judge determines it's appropriate.
Most common assault cases in Calgary are tried as summary convictions, though this is by no means a hard and fast rule.
Indictable Assault Offences in Calgary
Indictable assault offences are typically seen as more serious than summary conviction offences, and can result in more severe penalties. If the matter proceeds to trial and a conviction is entered, then stiffer penalties can be sought by the Crown. Ultimately, however, your criminal defence lawyer will guide you through the process and explain the trial process, regardless of whether the matter is a summary conviction or indictable matter.
How a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Assist in Your Assault Case
Your Calgary defence lawyer, with their experience in handing assault cases, will be able to explain your assault charge to you. The right lawyer will be able to guide you through criminal law process and develop strategies that will be used to secure the best possible outcome for you. Legal defence strategy is complex and unique for every case, and you shouldn't have to face the system alone.
For a free consultation, contact Susan Karpa today to see what options are available in your Calgary assault case. She'll get the facts and help you make an educated decision to best secure your future.