How the Wrong Words Can Find You Charged With Assault in Calgary

"I'm so mad, I could just kill him."

"I feel like I could kick his butt for what he did."

"Somebody ought to take them outside and teach them a lesson."

Even in a city as peaceful and friendly as Calgary, people get angry, and that anger is often shown in violent language, it's human nature, for better or for worse. Fortunately, most of us never have any intention of following through on our violent words with actual physical force. When we say we're so angry we could "kill someone," it's a complete exaggeration; we're not really contemplating murder, and even if given the perfect opportunity we wouldn't carry it out.

There are times, though, when the wrong words can land you in a heap of legal trouble, and the anger that almost always lies behind such language actually makes a criminal accusation all the more likely. Read on to learn how the assault laws at work in Canada, including right here in Calgary, could see you facing heavy fines and even imprisonment simply for speaking too much of your mind.

Criminal Assault in Calgary Includes Verbal Threats and Gestures of Violence

Here's section 265 of Canada's Criminal Code, which defines assault throughout the nation:

"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"

Note the part in bold. Any act, which includes a vocalization (i.e. spoken words), that threatens the use of physical force in a situation where it reasonably appears you may follow through with that threat can be grounds for an assault charge in Calgary.

Most of the time, it is obvious that there is no intention or capability to follow through with some common "threats" of violence such as those at the top of this article. At times, though, such as in a heated moment where the outbreak of a fight seems imminent or where one person or group appears to be physically domineering another, the situation changes. This language itself, not any action taken beyond uttering these threats of violence, but simply speaking the words, could constitute a criminal act.

In Calgary, Even a Simple Assault Charge Can be Serious

When people in Calgary hear the term "simple assault" or "common assault," they might assume the charge is a minor nuisance rather than a serious legal matter. That simply isn't the case.

Even if your assault charge proceeds as a summary conviction offence, you could face up to six months in jail and a $5000 fine. A conviction could also follow you for the rest of your life—it's not something you should take lightly.

If you or a family member has been charged with assault in the Greater Calgary Area, whether you are accused of a verbal threat or other act, contact Calgary criminal defence lawyer Susan Karpa and get the help you deserve.