Legal Services | Physical Assault Defence
Physical Assault Charge Lawyers
Edmonton Physical Assault Defence Lawyers
Physical assault is considered a serious offence with heavy penalties, including a criminal record, or occasionally, a jail sentence. An assault case may be more serious if the offence involves assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, or aggravated assault. This can affect you, your family, and your financial future.
If you or someone you love has been charged with physical assault, it’s important to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer right away. We defend all cases of assault and protect our clients from a criminal conviction.
Different Types of Physical Assault in Alberta
The three most common types of assault charges are: “simple assault”, “assault causing bodily harm” and “aggravated assault.”
Simple Assault is the application of force from a person’s extremities such as hands, legs or feet. Such charges include fights or conflicts that do not result in serious or permanent injury, such as slapping, pushing, shoving, punching, or threatening behavior.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm
Assault causing bodily harm is a more serious charge that result in serious injury. Bodily harm includes:
- Cuts requiring stitches;
- Broken nose or other bones;
- Permanent damage or injury; or
- Semi-permanent injury requiring significant time to heal.
Aggravated assault is stronger form of assault resulting in substantial injury, such as one that is permanent or endangers the life of another. Aggravated assault may include assault with a deadly weapon. For example, if a person stabs another individual and the person suffers from serious injuries, the accused is often charged with aggravated assault.
Assault with a Weapon
“Assault with a weapon” refers to an instrument which can inflict bodily harm. Examples of such weapons include a stick, bat, switchblade, knife, gun, a dog ordered to attack a person, or a motor vehicle.
In situations where an accused is found guilty of assault, the type of sentence imposed depends on the degree of harm caused. A “simple assault” charge may not result in jail time, and in exceptional cases, no criminal record.
Frequently Asked Questions about Physical Assault Cases
The Criminal Code establishes three instances in which a person commits assault:
- When without the consent of another, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
- By an act or gesture, he attempts or threatens, to apply force to another person, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has the capability to effect his purpose; or
- While openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation weapon, he accosts or impedes another person.
Important to note is that assault may be found even when there is no physical harm or strength exerted on to the victim.
A number of defences to an assault charge may be accepted by the Court as the absence of criminal intention. These can include:
- Mistaken belief in consent;
- Self-defence or the protection of others;
- Reflex action, such as in response to a perceived and immediate threat;
- Defence of property (e.g., where one believes another is taking or damaging property or trespassing);
- Prevention of a crime (e.g., when police use force to prevent an armed and dangerous person from firing); or
- Corporal punishment (spanking) of a child, though several exceptions exist. Corporal punishment is permitted only in the course of discipline and not in anger or frustration, not of a child under age two or a mentally challenged child, not of a teenager, not using an object or a slap or blow to the head, and not causing injury.