Common Assault Cases in Calgary and Your Defence

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Every year, the city of Calgary sees over five thousand cases of assault. For one of Canada’s safer cities, this may seem like a fairly high number. However, approximately four thousand of these reported cases fall under common assault. This represents the lowest level of assault charges—a type of charge that is subject to many misunderstandings and potentially mitigating circumstances.

What Can Lead to a  Common Assault Offence in Calgary?

In Calgary, common assault comes in three forms. First, it can be the intentional and non-consensual application of force. Second, it can simply be an attempt or threat of such non-consensual force. Finally, it could mean that you are either openly wearing or carrying a weapon while somehow interfering with another person.

For the purposes of assault, any degree of touching can be defined as an application of force. Regardless of the amount of force applied, any physical contact that is non-consensual may be potentially result in assault charges. So long as the accused does not make use of a weapon or inflict any serious injury, though, the charges laid against them will likely be limited to common assault.

The presence or absence of consent is often open to some degree of interpretation. There are many cases in which a certain amount of consent to physical contact is implied, such as in domestic partnerships, and even consent to certain degrees of violence is assumed in various sporting events or in mutual fights—instances where combatants are equally engaged in assaulting each other, effectively. A lack of consent exists when the complainant is incapable of expressing consent, if the complainant submits to the assault due to threats or the exercise of authority, or if the alleged assault occurs in any situation where there is no implied or assumed consent.

A Calgary Defence Lawyer and Your Common Assault Case

The way common assault is defined makes it unfortunately easy to be accused of. Should you find yourself accused of common assault in Calgary, it is a good idea to have legal representation so any defence in relation to intent is advanced on your behalf. An experienced defence lawyer will work towards demonstrating  a lack of intent to apply force, which is an essential part of the Crown's case in any prosecution for assault, and can otherwise help you understand the charges you're facing and the avenues you can explore for your defence.

There are many other possible factors that can serve to mitigate a common assault charge, as well. If you can establish that you were reacting to harassment from the complainant, or that you had a reasonable belief that consent existed, these can help form a part of your defence. Particularly if you have no prior criminal history, a good lawyer may be able to reduce your charges or have them dismissed entirely.

If you are faced with a common assault charge in Calgary, contact criminal defence lawyer Susan Karpa today for a free consultation. She'll help you understand your case and your options, and make sure your rights are respected.

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