What Constitutes a Criminal Assault in Calgary?

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"Assault" is a term most people in Calgary probably think they are familiar with, but if pressed to provide the legal definition they would probably be at a loss. In conversational speech, "assault" usually refers to some actual violence that took place—a physical attack, a verbal altercation that one person pushed to blows, or possibly a case of domestic abuse or even a sexual assault.

This understanding of assault isn't entirely incorrect, and contains part of the legal definition of assault in place in Calgary and throughout Alberta, but it doesn't fully describe the actions that can constitute a criminal assault. Understanding the full extent of Alberta's assault laws is important in helping you defend yourself against these charges, and ideally avoiding any charges altogether. So take a minute and learn how the Calgary Police, Crown prosecutors, and the province's lawmakers view assault.

A Calgary Assault Charge Doesn't Require Any Touching

A charge of criminal assault, according to Alberta law, doesn't have to come from any actual violence or touching. Simply the threat of violence, with words or with gestures, can be enough to warrant an arrest for assault, especially if there is a weapon of any sort involved. It doesn't matter whether or not the threat is followed through with, and it doesn't matter whether or not the threat was applied in the furtherance of some other crime—trying to intimidate someone by threatening them with physical violence can lead to an assault charge.

The situation and intent can, of course, determine whether or not Calgary Police will make an arrest, or if Calgary's Crown prosecutors will decide to lay charges in court, but don't assume that your situation will keep you away from criminal charges. Knowing the law and refraining from any threats or actions of violence is the most sure way to avoid an assault charge.

Any Unwanted Touching Can Lead to an Assault Charge in Calgary

Not only can threats of violence or intimidating gestures be grounds for an assault charge in Calgary, but any unwanted touching—even if it doesn't cause pain or injury—can also be considered a criminal assault under the law's definition. Restraining someone else's movement against their will, pushing them, or making a physical sexual advance that isn't wanted can all result in the same charge: assault.

Again, circumstances might impact whether or not Calgary Police and/or Crown prosecutors decide to pursue an assault case. Self-defense, protection of property, and other mitigating factors might cause some assault charges for unwanted touching—including restraining someone—to be dismissed. This isn't a judgment you can make on your own, though, and if you're arrested for an assault and you believe your actions were warranted, calling a defence lawyer is very much in your best interests.

Contacting a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer After an Assault Arrest

Susan Karpa is a dedicated Calgary criminal defence lawyer with proven success handling assault cases. For a free initial consultation regarding your assault charge, please contact her office today. You deserve to have someone with knowledge of Calgary's assault laws and experience in the Calgary courts standing by your side.

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