Assault & Threats Lawyers in Calgary

A person is said to have committed the offence of assault when he, without the consent of another person, applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, accosts or impedes another person or begs.

The offence is created under section 265 (1) of the Criminal Code. It is a hybrid offence. Therefore the prosecution could proceed under indictable offence or summary conviction offence. As an indictable offence, assault is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of five years.

Key Takeaways

  • A charge of assault may be very severe, depending on the circumstances of the case, such as the nature of the assault, the degree of force used, the degree injury caused, age of the victim, use of a weapon etc.
  • Upon conviction, the charge of assault attracts jail sentence up of to five years. These may however be lesser, depending on the factors listed above, including the conduct of the accused, and especially if the Crown elects to proceed under summary conviction.
  • An accused person has the right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. Some bail conditions which the court may impose include directing the accused to –
    • Attend court as directed
    • Remain within a particular territorial jurisdiction
    • Notify any change of address and employment
    • Deposit a passport/travel document
    • Have a surety
    • Not possess or use a device capable of accessing the internet
    • Be under house arrest and/or keep a curfew
    • Wear electronic monitoring equipment, such as an ankle bracelet
  • Depending on the peculiar circumstance of the case and with the legal assistance, an accused may beat a charge of assault. Also given that assault is a hybrid offence, an accused may, depending on the circumstance of each case and with the legal assistance obtain a mitigated sentence.

How can an assault lawyer in Calgary help?

A criminal defence lawyer will be of assistance to a person accused of assault by offering pre-charge legal advice. A pre-charge legal advice provides the accused with guidance prior to the formal filing of the charge. It extends to advice on the accused’s rights, potential legal consequences, and the best course of action to mitigate risks.

An assault lawyer will also assist in interactions with law enforcements, especially where the accused is unfamiliar with legal proceedings. The lawyer will help navigate interactions with law enforcement to avoid unintentional self-incrimination and safeguard the accused’s legal rights.

The lawyer will also interview witnesses to unveil important information, evaluate credibility, and identify inconsistencies. This will prepare witnesses for trial, ensuring that their testimony aligns with the ultimate defence strategy.

In some cases, expert testimony can be needed. The lawyer can assist in engaging expert witnesses that can provide specialized analysis and report to support the defence’s arguments.

Furthermore, the lawyer is an expert in navigating the criminal justice system and the court procedures, having good knowledge of the legal system, court rules, and precedents. The lawyer will guide the accused through every process, from arraignment to trial, ensuring that his rights are protected.

Assault Charge in the Criminal Code of Canada

265 (1) A person commits an assault when

(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;

(b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or

(c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

Examples of Assault Charges

Section 265(2) of the Criminal Code provides for different forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault. The following are some examples of an assault charge:

  • Physical assault: This occurs when a person hit or smacks another with that other person’s consent or attempts to hit or smacks another with that other person’s consent. Cases of domestic violence will also come under assault.
  • Sexual assault: This charge has been provided for under section 271 of the Criminal Code. It refers to the sexual contact or act done without the freely-given consent of the victim.
  • Sexual assault with weapon or threats: This charge is provided for under section 272 of the Criminal Code. This occurs when a person uses a weapon, causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm while committing the offence of sexual assault.

Consequences of an Assault Charge

Assault is a hybrid offence. As an indictable offence, it punishable under section 266 of the Criminal Code by jail term not more than five years. It is may also be punishable as a summary conviction offence. The punishment section does not provide for an option of fine for this charge. In minor cases of assault, a peace bond may be ordered directing the accused to keep the peace and certain conditions such as no contact with the complainant, counseling, restrictions on use of weapons, reporting to probation, etc.


Assault Charge Defences

Depending on the circumstances of the case, certain defence exists which can either totally exculpate the accused or reduce the criminal liability of the accused. Possible defences include:

  • Mistake of fact: The accused can rely on the defence of mistake of fact, and argue that he had the honest but mistaken belief that consent was given, or mistook the complainant to be another person, who had already given consent.
  • Consent: Assault is not committed where the complainant freely consented to the act. Thus, the accused can establish that consent was actually given, and this will become a defence to the charge.
  • Intoxication: If at the time of the assault, the accused was intoxicated, he lacked the capacity to form the requisite intent to commit the offence. Therefore, intoxication is another defence that may avail the accused. However, this defence is more potent where the intoxication is not self-induced.

Assault Charge Investigation

When an assault is alleged to have been committed, investigation is commenced after report is lodged. The police upon receipt of the report would commence the collection and gathering of evidence. This may involve physical and medical examination of the victim, and collection of forensic evidence, such as DNA. The investigation may extend to interviewing and recording the statements of the victim, witnesses and the suspects. Legal proceeding may thereafter be commenced against an identified suspect to whom the evidences ties.

Bail Conditions for Assault Charges

Generally, an accused person has the charter right to liberty and is presumed innocent until proven guilty. An accused person also has the charter right to be released on bail on reasonable terms. The purpose of imposing bail conditions is to address risks posed by the accused and ensure they do not commit new criminal offences while awaiting trial or interfere with the administration of justice, and are available for their trial. Some bail conditions include:

  • an indication that the release order does not include any financial obligations;
  • the accused’s promise to pay a specified amount if they fail to comply with a condition of the order;
  • the obligation to have one or more sureties, with or without the accused’s promise to pay a specified amount if they fail to comply with a condition of the order;
  • the obligation to deposit money or other valuable security in a specified amount or value, with or without the accused’s promise to pay a specified amount if they fail to comply with a condition of the order; etc.

Frequently Asked Questions on Assault  

Will an assault charge show on my criminal record while the case is ongoing?

Yes, an assault charge may show on your criminal record. For example, in a serious case of assault where the accused is standing trial is not permitted to travel out of jurisdiction.

Will an assault charge show on my criminal record after the case is done?

Yes, especially upon conviction. However, in minor cases of assault where a peace bond is ordered, the charge may not appear on your criminal record.

How long does an assault case take?

It is the right of every Canadian charged with an offence to be tried within a reasonable time.

Can I travel while an assault case is ongoing?

If the bail condition does not prevent you from travelling, you may travel, especially in minor cases of assault. But certain countries may not admit a person who has pending criminal charges in Canada.

Can I go to jail for assault charges?

Yes, especially where the Crown proceeds under the indictable offence. Assault as an indictable offence carries a jail term of up to five years.

Related Offences

  • Assault: This offence is committed when a person, directly or indirectly, applies force to another person, or threatens to apply force to a person without that person’s consent.
  • Assault with a Weapon: This offence when a person assaults another person with a weapon, or with the threat of a weapon or causes bodily harm to another person by assaulting them.
  • Aggravated Assault: This is the most serious of all assault charges. It occurs when a person wounds, maims disfigures or endangers the life of another. 
  • Attempted Murder: This is an offence involving an intention to kill even though the actual killing was not followed through or was unsuccessful. 
  • Choking Charge: This charge involves choking, strangling, suffocating, or otherwise incapacitating another person in order to commit another offence. The charge may be brought alongside an assault charge.
  • Criminal Confinement: This involves depriving a person’s liberty such that they cannot move from one point to another.
  • Criminal Harassment: In simple terms, this involves stalking another person. It involves a repeated but unwanted attempts to talk to a person or engage his or her attention.
  • Domestic Violence: This is a kind of assault that occurs between persons who have some close relationship, eg: between boyfriends and girlfriends, spouses, common-law partners, and other family members. It is a form of assault.
  • Kidnapping: This offence involves taking away the liberty of a person to move. It usually entails carrying the victim away from one point to another without his consent.
  • Manslaughter: This offence is committed where a person causes the death of another even though he did not intend to cause the victim’s death. Manslaughter will usually be the charge where unintended death is caused by (a) means of an unlawful act; (b) criminal negligence; (c) causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or (d) willfully frightening another.

Client Reviews

Michael Oykhman is a very professional lawyer and the first time I spoke to him he asked about my situation and he gave me some very helpful advice and assistance and also told me his odds of winning this case. During the days I was in contact with micheal I could feel the level of professionalism of him and his team, he is able to respond back to you with any questions you have within 24 hours. In the end he was as successful in helping me win my case as he had initially promised me.If you are still struggling to find a lawyer, I highly recommend Michael Oykhman.


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I had the pleasure of working and trusting my case with Joseph Beller. I had 2 counts against me, and in the end, Joseph was able to present and use his “fighter skills” in court to have my charges lowered to a conditional discharge. On top of this, this firm follows its mission values statement by being ethical, transparent, available, and very friendly. Joseph and his team treated me with the utmost respect from start to finish. Thank you again, Joseph! I hope to never call you again 😊


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