When You've Been Charged with Assault in Calgary: Part 1

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I've posted several articles on this site detailing just how broad the assault law in force in Calgary is, and just how easy it is to find yourself caught up in a criminal assault case without even knowing you were breaking the law. Any force applied to a person or physical contact with a person that occurs without their consent can lead to an assault charge; even a simple gesture or statement that is interpreted as a credible threat of violence equals the same criminal charge.

If you're carrying a weapon, or something that looks like a weapon—even if you're legally allowed to be carrying it—all it takes for you to be charged with assault is "impeding" someone else.

So hopefully you know at this point that it's possible for literally anyone in Calgary to find themselves charged with common assault and facing a potential criminal record. The question is, what do you do if you find yourself in that situation? Here's what you need to know about protecting yourself and your family if you should find yourself facing a criminal assault charge in the Calgary courts.

1. Take Your Assault Charge Seriously

You might feel that the assault charge against you is completely without merit, or is based on a silly misunderstanding, but don't make light of it. If you don't take your charge seriously, you're that much more likely to make statements or take actions that can hurt your defence.

Even if your case proceeds as a summary conviction offence, as many assault cases in Calgary do, you're facing a fine of up to $5,000—a major financial setback for many—and worse, up to six months in jail. That might not seem like a long time when you simply read the words, but take a minute to imagine six months away from your family, your home, your job, and your community. It's a real possibility, so proceed carefully.

2. DO NOT Contact the Alleged Victim of Your Assault Case

Most instances of alleged assault occur between people who already know each other. If an argument or altercation with a romantic partner, friend, or family member leads to a criminal assault charge against you, you might feel as though you can work things out between the two of you. Whether or not the assault charges proceed isn't necessarily up to the victim, though, and there's a very high probability that contacting the alleged victim will only make matters worse.

3. DO Contact a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer As Soon As Possible

Anyone charged with any crime in Calgary is entitled to consult with a defence lawyer before answering questions from law enforcement or Crown prosecutors. This applies to assault cases, too, and can provide knowledge and options you might not otherwise be aware of. Take advantage of this by contacting Calgary criminal defence lawyer Susan Karpa as soon as you've been arrested or notified of the charges against you, and start building an effective defence from the outset of your case.

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