What happens if you assault a peace officer?


What is a Peace Officer?

The Criminal Code has specific charges relating to assaults of “peace officers”. It is a common misconception that a peace officer is simply another name for a police officer. However, under The Criminal Code, a peace officer is a broader title that includes police officers as well as a number of other job titles. A peace officer may be:

  • A police officer, police constable, RCMP officer, sheriff, bailiff, justice of the peace, or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace.

  • A mayor.

  • A designated member of Correctional Service of Canada such as a warden, deputy warden, instructor, keeper, jailer, guard and any other officer or permanent employee of a prison.

  • A pilot in command of an aircraft while the aircraft is in flight.

  • Customs officials.

  • Designated Canadian Forces officers.


While the above list is not exhaustive, it is meant to show that there are many different people who may be classified as peace officers in certain situations.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ASSAULT A PEACE OFFICER?

Being charged with assaulting a peace officer is a serious offence that can result in significant penalties in certain situations. The charge can arise when the complainant of the assault is a peace officer engaged in the execution of their duty.

Assaulting a police officer is considered a “hybrid offence” which means that the crown can decide to make an election to proceed by way of the charge being indictable (more serious) or by way of a summary offence (less serious). 

As an experienced criminal defence lawyer, I have had a lot of success in having charges of assaulting a police officer dropped altogether. It is important to know, however, that if you plead guilty or are found guilty by a judge if you go to trial, you can face sentences that range from a fine to probation to jail time, depending upon the nature of the charge. 

There are also several defences available to you for these types of charges. I have the experience and skillset to successfully defend assaulting a police officer charges. Call me today to discuss your matter.