What if you are accused of an assault that you have never committed?
Maybe you did, but never intended to do so?
Imagine running around the police stations and courts because of such reasons. Feels awful, right?
And you are thinking about how to beat an assault charge in Canada?
Well, an assault can never be a pleasant experience for anyone, no matter what kind of assault it is. But false accusations of causing anything like this can give away a traumatic experience; sometimes, these situations hamper reputation in society and the workplace.
So, you must beat your assault charge and do everything to beat it. In the following discussion, you will learn about it in detail.
But First, What Falls Under Assault?
You may know what an assault is, but the legal definition may not match your idea of what an assault is.
The Criminal Code of Canada states that when one engages in an assault:
- He purposefully uses force on someone else without that person’s agreement, either directly or indirectly.
- If he has the power to carry out his objective at the moment or makes the other person believe that he has reasonable grounds, he attempts or threatens to use force against them;
- He confronts, hinders, or begs someone while openly wearing or carrying a weapon.
In other words, many different things constitute an assault in Canada, including:
- Threatening others using words
- Threatening gestures using or without weapons
- Touching anyone without their consent
- Hurt others
What are the Types of Assault Charges?
It’s important to understand the type of assault you are accused of and the potential penalties for being found guilty. Depending on whether you used a weapon if the assault was sexual, or how severe the injuries were, there are multiple assault-related criminal charges.
However, depending on the injuries and other circumstances surrounding the case, each accusation can be divided into a summary offence and an indictable offence.
Let’s know about these a little more.
A simple assault charge indicates no weapons were used, and there were no or just minor injuries to the victim. If you are accused of a summary offence like assault, only a judge can hear your case in provincial court.
Here, the longest period of imprisonment is six months. However, if you are charged with an assault offence that is an indictable crime, you will need to face a jury trial in Supreme Court and up to a five-year punishment.
Assault Causing Physical Injury
Depending on how badly a victim was hurt, you will be executed for causing physical injury to the victim. You can also be sentenced to 18 months in prison if the charge is considered a summary offence. But when it is an indictable offence, it can result in a maximum 10-year sentence for imprisonment.
When someone is injured, handicapped, scared, or in danger, it is considered an aggravated assault. This kind of assault is only considered an indictable offence as it is very serious. The accused may receive a 14-year sentence in these cases.
Assault with a Weapon
The use or presence of a weapon and other attack methods is an assault with a weapon. The charges in these types of cases depend on several factors. For example, a plate aggressively thrown at someone can be a weapon, like a gun pointing at someone.
The offender will face a maximum 18-month sentence for assault with a weapon in Canada if this is considered a simple conviction. But if it is considered an indictable offence, they might spend up to 10 years behind bars.
A sexual assault case will be brought against someone who engages in non-consensual sexual contact or acts violently while engaged in sexual activity. There can be many unusually wide claims in a sexual assault charge – from forcible sexual activities to touching someone inappropriately over their outfit.
A summary conviction carries a maximum sentence of up to 18 months in jail. But if the defendant is younger than 16, their sentence might be up to two years. The maximum sentence for an indictable offence is 10 years in jail. But if the defendant is under 16, the sentence may be extended to 14 years.
Although domestic violence is not a secret crime, an assault on a close friend or relative is considered an aggravating factor when the judge takes care of it. In this, the offender uses force against members of the same home, such as partners and family members.
Threatening words, coercion, criminal harassment, and physical and sexual assault can be used as a charge against you. If you are accused of domestic assault, your lawyer will need to get a statutory peace bond so that the accusations get dropped easily, and you won’t need to admit guilt.
How to Beat an Assault Charge in Canada?
There are a few ways that you can follow to beat the charges of assault. You will find the best one for your case with the help of an expert lawyer.
Self-Defence or Defence of Others
A strong defence to beat an assault charge is self-defence or the defence of another person. It all comes down to who started the verbal or physical contact first, as you have the right to protect yourself and others from danger.
The illegal application of force without another person’s agreement is considered assault. You can have a defence against this accusation if you can prove that the opposite person is allowed to use such force.
Lack of Intent
If you can prove that you didn’t intend it and that it was completely accidental, you can beat the assault charge. The lack of purpose shows that the force used against the other person was a reflex. It can be because you moved without any aim of hurting or contacting the other person or your actions were just reflexive.
In Canada, if there is not enough evidence to support the prosecution’s claims that the accused intended to harm or injure the alleged victim or that the accused really did harm or injury, the assault charge may be dropped. Furthermore, the prosecution may find it challenging to establish their case if the evidence is flimsy or circumstantial. The accused is presumed innocent until and unless the case is proven guilty, which is a crucial point to remember.
Raising of Reasonable Doubt
You have the right to seek acquittal – a resolution of some or all of the factual elements of the offence – or the dismissal of the accusations when your lawyer can develop a reasonable debate. In this case, the criminal charges need to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” so if your lawyer can raise a valid defence, it will result in acquittal.
You should also know: How to Get Off the Sex Offender Registry in Canada?
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You Beat An Assault Charge in Canada?
A criminal defense lawyer can help you beat an assault charge in Canada by taking several steps, including:
- Reviewing the evidence against you: Your lawyer will examine the evidence gathered by the prosecution and identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies that can be used to build a strong defense.
- Challenging the evidence: If necessary, your lawyer can challenge the evidence against you by filing motions to suppress or exclude evidence that was obtained illegally or through improper means.
- Presenting a strong defense: Your lawyer will use their knowledge of criminal law and procedure to present a strong defense on your behalf in court. This may include challenging the prosecution’s case, presenting witnesses or other evidence, and making legal arguments.
- Negotiating a plea bargain or alternative sentence: If the evidence against you is strong, your lawyer may negotiate a plea bargain or alternative sentence with the Crown Prosecutor. This can help to reduce the charges against you or minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.
- Providing guidance and support: Your lawyer will provide guidance and support throughout the legal process, helping you understand your rights and obligations, and keeping you informed of any developments in your case.
To Wrap Up
So, you know what you must do to defend your assault case. Gather all the necessary evidence to create the strongest defence against the claim. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can greatly increase your chances of beating an assault charge in Canada. They can provide you with the legal knowledge and representation you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
FAQs: How to beat an assault charge in Canada?
What do you do when someone accuses you of something you didn’t do?
You must do the followings when anyone accuses you of something you didn’t do
- Keep your mind calm.
- Consult an expert lawyer to handle it better.
- Collect all the proofs
- Challenge the claim.
- Develop a proper strategy to fight the case
How to prove innocence when falsely accused?
You will need to gather all the evidence for fighting the cases.
- Witness testimony
- Phone records.
- Employment and bank account details
- Surveillance camera footage.
- Phone photos or videos.
- DNA proof
Can you be charged without any evidence?
No, it is not possible. If there is no proof against you, you cannot be accused or found guilty. It’s highly possible that you can never be arrested, held, or accused when there is no probable reason or tangible evidence.
Can you be imprisoned in Canada if you slap someone?
The answer is no, as it falls under simple offence. You will get a warning as a first-time offender. It is possible to prosecute as a summary charge. But in more difficult situations, it will fall under an indictable offence, which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence.
What kind of self-defence doesn’t fall under a criminal offence in Canada?
As long as your self-defence measures are appropriate, you have the right to defend yourself. It means you would have to prove that you had no other reasonable option other than hurting the burglar who broke into your house or property.
What are the potential consequences of a conviction for assault in Canada?
The consequences of a conviction for assault in Canada can be severe, including imprisonment, fines, and a criminal record that can impact your ability to find employment or travel internationally.
What are some common defenses to an assault charge in Canada?
Some common defenses to an assault charge in Canada include self-defense, defense of others, consent, and mistaken identity.
How can I prepare for an assault trial in Canada?
To prepare for an assault trial in Canada, it is important to retain a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer, gather and preserve any evidence that may support your defense, and be prepared to provide testimony and answer questions in court.
What is the statute of limitations for an assault charge in Canada?
he statute of limitations for an assault charge in Canada depends on the specific circumstances of the case, but in general, a charge must be laid within six months of the alleged offense.
Can an assault charge be dropped or dismissed in Canada?
An assault charge can be dropped or dismissed in Canada if the prosecution determines that there is insufficient evidence to proceed or if a plea bargain or alternative sentence is reached.
What factors does the court consider when determining guilt for assault in Canada?
The court considers several factors when determining guilt for assault in Canada, including the circumstances of the offense, the use of force, and the presence of any injuries. The court may also consider the intent and motivations of the accused.
How can I prove my innocence if I have been falsely accused of assault in Canada?
To prove your innocence if you have been falsely accused of assault in Canada, you may need to provide evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, alibis, or physical evidence, to demonstrate that you did not commit the offense.
What is the role of the Crown Prosecutor in an assault case in Canada?
The Crown Prosecutor is responsible for presenting the case against the accused in an assault case in Canada. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offense.
What should I do if I am arrested for assault in Canada?
If you are arrested for assault in Canada, you should remain calm and comply with the instructions of the police. It is also important to seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and build a strong defense.
Can an assault charge be settled outside of court in Canada?
Yes, an assault charge can be settled outside of court in Canada through a plea bargain or alternative sentencing arrangement with the Crown Prosecutor. This can help to avoid a trial and reduce the risk of a harsher sentence.