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What is the Minimum Sentence for Assault with a Weapon in Canada?

sentence for Assault with a weapon in canada

Charged with an assault with a weapon in Canada? And, the Canadian law is extremely strict and thus handles this kind of case very seriously.

So, what is the minimum sentence for assault with a weapon in Canada?

There is no mandatory minimum sentence for assault with a weapon in Canada. It totally depends on the facts and the severity of the case. The court can go for a lesser sentence, like probation or peace bond, as a minimum punishment.

Or, you can go for several years of imprisonment along with a hefty fine as maximum punishment. In other words, the greater the harm, the more severe the sentence gets.

In the following article, we will discuss about all the important facts you require to know about the assault with a weapon in Canada.

So, take your time and keep reading with patience.

What is Assault with a Weapon in Canada?

Assault with a weapon in Canada is considered a more severe form of assault, along with coming to a higher penalty and punishment in comparison to the common assault. Such as waving a knife, placing a firearm, or even using a sharp object to hit someone–all fall under assault with a weapon.

In fact, to your surprise, if a weapon is not used in the offence commission, just by having it in your hand towards a person is enough to charge one with assault with a weapon.

Under the section 267 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the assault with a weapon is defined as follows:

If someone carries, uses, threatens, or even just imitates to use a weapon against another person, it falls under assault with a weapon.

Causing bodily harm to the claimant due to which it disrupts with the normal activities or comfort zone, such as fractures, broken limbs, serious bruises, cuts, etc.

Choking, suffocating, or trying to strangle the person to the death.

What is Considered a Weapon?

Any kind of object that can cause injury to another person, especially if it is particularly used to threaten, cause harm, or death, is known as a weapon. It can be anything ranging from a simple coffee mug, or a flower vase to your cell phone, any firearm, knife, rock, hammer, etc.

In other words, any kind of object intended to cause harm to the other person is considered as a weapon in the eyes of the court.

However, if you are still in doubt regarding the weapon, make sure to have a talk with an experienced criminal lawyer in Saskatchewan about it. Plus, to represent this kind of case, it is strictly advised that you hire a lawyer to represent the case instead of trying all by yourself. These cases are extremely sensitive and need an expert’s help to solve them case.

What is The Minimum Sentence for Assault with a Weapon in Canada?

Assault with a weapon in Canada is classified as a hybrid offense, which means that it can be prosecuted either by way of indictment or summary conviction, depending on the Crown’s decision.

There is no fixed minimum sentence for assault with a weapon in Canada. The actual sentence imposed can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred. The Crown will consider factors such as the type of weapon used, the method of intimidation, the degree of injury inflicted on the victim, and other aggravating or mitigating circumstances to determine whether to proceed by indictment or summary conviction.

If the Crown chooses to proceed by way of indictment, the maximum prison sentence for assault with a weapon in Canada is up to 10 years. If the Crown proceeds by way of summary conviction, the maximum imprisonment period is up to 18 months.

Possible Defences to Assault with a Weapon in Canada

Being convicted of assault with a weapon does not mean you will be considered guilty automatically. Here is a list of the possible defences against assault with a weapon: 

Self Defence

If the offender is claiming that all the actions they have taken were only for self-defence, then they have to prove to the court that it was them who needed help and the claimant is indeed the assaulted person. 

Under the section 34 of the criminal code of Canada, an individual is not considered guilty of the offence under the following condition: 

The crown believes the accused have resorted to force or threat of force only to protect themselves, not with the intention to hurt the other person. 

The act committed is deemed as reasonable, considering the situation under which it occurred.

Defence of Consent

If there is consent from the other party, then the assault committed is not regarded as a criminal offence. For instance, a consensual fist fight is not considered an assault as both of them have willingly got into the act, knowing about the danger ahead. 

According to the section 265 (3) of the criminal code of Canada, it is stated that no consent is established where the claimed victim gives in or doesn’t resist owing to the following facts:

  • Use of the force on the victim 
  • Threats of fear of force application to the claimant 
  • Fraudulent 
  • Misuse of power and authority 

Hence, if you can prove to the court that the other person consented to the application of force, then you will automatically have a strong, reasonable defence against the charge.

Lack of Intent 

Lack of intent is when you require to prove that the application of force against another individual was totally an accident. There were no intentions behind this. Instead, the action taken in that state was reflexive. 

Be it harming or getting in physical contact with the other person, a lack of intent will help you to represent that the force applied against the other individual was unintentional. 

Rasing of Reasonable Doubt

Like all the other kinds of criminal charges, if a lawyer raises a reasonable doubt against the assault charges, you can either be released or have all the charges dropped. 

That is, criminal charges require to be “beyond a reasonable doubt.” And if your lawyer can come up with a reasonable doubt to the judges or jury against the charges brought up against you, it can ultimately lead to your acquittal.

Can I Drop the Assault with a Weapon Charges in Canada?

Yes, you can definitely beat the assault charges in Canada with the help of your lawyer. They can either be lessened to a common assault or completely get it dropped in some cases. 

Such as, if this is your first-time offence or second charge, then the lawyer can go for a negotiation with the crown regarding your case and have you enter into a program to withdraw the charges totally.

Besides, there is another option where the court may call for a peace bond. And with the help of this bond, the judge can set some forth conditions, which you are required to follow all of them strictly. Failure to meet these conditions can ultimately result in your imprisonment.  

Closing Notes

That’s all from the detailed discussion regarding an assault with a weapon first offence. 

Although you may get a lesser sentence for your first offence, the chances are still high; you can get stricter punishments depending on the case. 

Hence, for any kind of similar situation, the best is to proceed with the help of an experienced lawyer, as the Canadian law is strict with these charges. 

Plus, from paperwork to representing you in the court and doing the essential work, they will deal with everything to solve the case.

FAQs

Do the First time Assault Offenders Go to Jail in Canada?

According to the section CC 266 of the criminal code, a first offender doesn’t get a jail sentence. However, one is still liable to receive up to 5 years of prison term, based on the severity of the case. 

What is the Punishment for Assault with a Weapon in Canada?

This charge is considered a serious allegation, coming with severe consequences. And according to the section 267 of the Canadian criminal code, the maximum sentence for assault with a weapon is 10 years of imprisonment in case of indictment offence. While, for the summary conviction offence, the maximum sentence is a prison serving period of up to 18 months. 

What are Level 1 and Level 2 Assaults in Canada?

Level 1 assaults are the most common form of assault, referring to the assault that involves little or no physical injury to the victims. On the other hand, Level 2 assault is considered the assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm. That is, the assault that involves carrying or using a weapon to hurt or threaten someone is treated as a Level 2 assault.

Can Police Drop Assault Charges?

The police will require some form of proof to charge with the offence. And if, during the investigation, there is no strong proof against you that shows you are guilty, chances are high the police will drop the charges before going ahead any further. 

How do You Beat an Assault Charge in Canada?

There are two methods to beat an assault charge in Canada. One is to get it dropped before the trial, and another is to not be found guilty of the charge (released) during the trial.