Understanding Criminal Assault Charges in Calgary

When most people think about "assault," they think about an act of physical violence. They think assault charges can only be laid when there has been an actual physical interaction, whether it's domestic altercation, a sexual advance, or simply an argument that got out of hand. While these are certainly situations in which charges could be filed, they by no means encompass the entirety of what is considered assault in Calgary.

Many Calgary residents don't realize that assault charges can stem from a variety of interactions, even those that don't lead to physical contact. It's important to understand the actions that can lead to assault charges in order to protect your best interests and steer clear of potential legal trouble.

In Calgary, Assault May Not Require Contact

As Alberta law stands, there is no requirement of actual violence or physical contact for an "assault" to have taken place. In fact, just the threat of violence is enough to result in an arrest and potential charges for assault. Words and gestures, particularly if accompanied by a weapon, are considered grounds for an assault charge, even if the threat is never carried out. Physical intimidation and threatening to use physical violence, whether in the commission of some other crime or not, is illegal in Alberta and throughout Canada.

Of course, intent can plays a large part in whether you are arrested and/or charged with assault. The Calgary Police make the determination of whether or not to make an arrest, and Crown prosecutors may not decide to pursue charges after all arrests. But you shouldn't assume that your intent will be readily apparent, or that it will keep you from being charged. If any of your alleged actions can be interpreted as an assault, you could face significant legal consequences.

Violence is Not Always a Factor in Calgary Assault Charges

Intimidation, threats, and physical violence are not the only avenues to assault charges in Calgary. Touching someone in an unwanted manner, even without any resulting injury or pain, can also be construed as assault under the law. This means that unwanted physical contact, restraint of an individual against their wishes, or physically blocking someone's path can also lead to an assault charge.

As with threats and intimidation, the Calgary Police and Crown prosecutors may take intent into account in these situations, but don't count on it. Even if you believe the incident is a clear case of self-defence or protecting your property, you shouldn't assumed that charges will be dropped. You may believe you were in the right, but law enforcement may not see it that way.

A Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer is Your Best Asset When Charged With Assault

An assault charge is serious, and should be handled by someone with comprehensive knowledge of Alberta's assault laws and experience in the Calgary court system. Susan Karpa has a proven track record of fighting for Calgary citizens charged with assault, bringing dedication and experience to her clients' side. Contact her office today for a free initial consultation.