Calgary's Top Assault Defence Lawyers
Peter Hoare and Ryan Claxton are Calgary-based lawyers who have successfully defended thousands of Assault cases across Western Canada. Whether you are charged involving a fight that happened spontaneously or a domestic assault, we listen to our clients and strive to protect them from a criminal conviction. Call us, we have the legal experience you can trust for thorough protection.
Have you been charged with assault, harassment or threatening in a family (wife, child, parent, girlfriend or common-law spouse) context? If so, please see how our experience in defending charges against domestic assault can help you.
In Canadian law assault includes any intentional act of violence towards another person without their consent. Simple assault is any unwanted physical contact of another person that does not cause bodily harm. Common or simple assault and uttering threats are the least serious violent criminal charges. More serious violent charges include:
Assault of Police Officer, Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Choking, Sexual Assault, Robbery, Break and Enter to Commit Assault, Unlawful/Forcible Confinement, Kidnapping & Obstruction
In law even a threatening movement may be considered a simple assault. Most assault, however, involve actual non-consensual physical contact between the complainant and the accused. To be convicted of simple or common assault, the Court must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- That the accused applied force directly or indirectly to the complainant AND
- That the accused intended to apply force AND
- That the complainant did not consent to the application of force by the accused
Assault includes attempts to threaten by act or gesture to apply force. Words without an accompanying gesture do not constitute an assault. However, if the Court is convinced the accused was able to follow through on a gesture, an assault charge may be valid. If you raise your fist at someone and say “I’m going to break your nose”, you will have committed assault if the complainant believed you had the capacity to follow through.
Peter Hoare and Ryan Claxton can help you understand if the particulars of your case amount to an assault or threatening.
Will the case be dismissed if the complainant drops the charges?
Not necessarily. The decision to drop the charges can only be made by the Crown prosecutor. Should the alleged victim decide to not proceed, he or she can still be compelled to testify as a Crown witness.
What legal defences are available to me?
Firstly, you can assist in your defence by:
- Exercise your Charter right to remain silent and call a lawyer for advice when you are arrested. Call Calgary Criminal Lawyers.
- Write down the events and circumstances that led to your charges;
- If alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident, enroll in addiction counselling;
- Follow all Court issued directions- especially if you are on bail.
- Contact Ryan or Peter immediately, so that they may address your charges as soon as possible.
One of the most important issues in assault cases is credibility of the witness. As soon after the incident as possible, record your version of events and communication with the complainant. Be sure to record any injuries that you may have sustained as well as any supporting communications (text, e-mail, etc.). If you are charged do not post comments about the incident or the other party on social media.
Alternative Measures Program
If you are charged with a simple assault, and there are no injuries to the alleged victim, it may be possible to have your matter referred to the Alternative Measures Program (AMP). This is a program that allows you to complete community service in exchange for the charges being dropped. In order to take advantage of the Alternative Measures Program you must be referred to it by a Crown Prosecutor. Peter and Ryan can help negotiate this option for you and help you complete the AMP if the Crown deems you an eligible candidate.
Will I able to secure bail Conditions for Assault?
If you are able to secure bail while awaiting a trial date for assault, you will likely be subject to conditions: weapons ban (firearms), no contact order with the alleged victim (this would extend to electronic communication), geographical travel restrictions, and- if intoxication was a factor in your offence- possibly an order to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
What will Happen to me if I am convicted?
Common assault is the least serious Criminal Code charge involving violence However, despite being the simplest of legal charges, assault charges can carry grave consequences including probation, orders to submit DNA and even incarceration.
Possible penalties for an assault charge include:
- A maximum of five years in jail
- A maximum of three years of probation
- Substantial fines
- A ten year weapons ban
- An requirement to submit a sample of your DNA to the Canada-wide DNA Data Bank
- If you are convicted you will have a criminal record; the record will be discoverable by criminal record search.
Will an Assault Charge impact Child Custody?
A simple assault charge may impact child custody rights. Domestic violence is not a separate offence. When a spouse or partner is charged with assault and it has alleged to have occurred in a domestic situation this is an aggravating factor. The case is heard in a specialized domestic violence Court. For more information on how we can help with this serious category of charges, please see our domestic violence section. If a person is charged with an assault and it is alleged to have occurred in a domestic violence context, the bail conditions for the accused party may include no unsupervised visits with his or her children or restricted access to the family home.
If you have been charged under the Criminal Code, the first step is to retain a lawyer. Peter and Ryan may be able to obtain to vary your initial bail conditions to include that access be determined in accordance with a family Court Orders.