Common Assault: An All Too Common Criminal Charge in Calgary

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Speeding, jaywalking, even littering (my least favorite)—there are plenty of examples of "breaking the law" that even the most law-abiding Calgary citizen has been guilty of at one time or another.

When Calgary Police witness or receive reports of these infractions, people don't end up charged with criminal offences. There may be administrative penalties such as fines or a ticket that requires an appearance in a Calgary court, though many times people are let off with a simple warning and a reminder that the rules are in place to keep our city a safe, secure, and sparkling-clean place for everyone in it. These minor transgressions, which often don't "feel" like they're against the law, aren't seen as a cause for serious concern in most cases, by law enforcement or by criminal justice officials.

The charge of assault, however, is taken very seriously indeed, even though criminal charges for assault can arise from situations that seem very innocuous on the surface. The law defining assault is very broad and far-reaching, and many people are unaware of the range of incidents and actions that fit the definition of criminal assault. This is why charges for common assault are among the charges most frequently laid by the Calgary Police and Crown prosecutors against Calgary-area residents.

Ignorance of the law is never a good defence, so read on to find out how easy it is to find yourself charged with common assault in Calgary.

Canada's Assault Law Leaves Everyone in Calgary at Risk

Here's the law defining common assault throughout Canada, including Calgary:

265. (1) A person commits an assault when
(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
(b) 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; or
(c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

Any application of force without consent—directly or indirectly—without someone's consent can be interpreted as a criminal assault.

Any threat of force—even through a simple gesture—can lead to a criminal assault charge, even if no physical contact is ever made.

Any time you impede another person while carrying a weapon—even a weapon you're allowed to be carrying—or even something that looks like a weapon, you can be charged with criminal assault in Calgary.

Finding yourself charged with criminal assault in Calgary is far too easy. Dealing with such a charge is far more difficult.

Defence Against a Calgary Assault Charge

If you're facing a criminal charge for assault in the Calgary courts, partnering with an experienced legal professional is in your best interest. For a free consultation with Calgary criminal defence lawyer Susan Karpa, contact her office today.

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