If you have been charged with assault or sexual assault the best way to protect your rights is to find an experienced criminal defence lawyer to work on your case.

The Criminal Code lists a few different types of assault charges. Some are relating to the assault of a specific type of person (i.e.: assaulting a peace officer), however there are 3 basic types of assault. Sexual assault is related to assault in that it is non-consensual contact, but it must be of a sexual nature. Sexual assault is a very different offence, so for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on ordinary assault.


Assault generally is an offence where someone applies force or threatens or attempts to apply force to another person without their consent. In other words, if someone allowed you to push them on the swing, this would not be an assault, but pushing someone without their consent would be an assault.

A simple assault can include contact with very little force, a single strike even if there is not significant pain or harm caused would still qualify as an assault. Simple assault is a hybrid offence meaning the crown can choose to proceed by indictment or by summary conviction. If the crown proceeds by indictment the maximum sentence is 5 years imprisonment and if the crown proceeds by summary conviction the maximum sentence is 6 months imprisonment.

Assault with a Weapon of Assault Causing Bodily Harm 

The next type of assault mentioned in the Criminal Code is Assault with a Weapon and/or Assault Causing Bodily Harm. The name of the offence is self explanatory. If an assault injures a victim or if the assault included the use of a weapon, it would qualify for this offence. A weapon can be any device or objectused or intended to be used to cause harm. The definition of a weapon is very expansive and can include almost anything such as an animal, a vehicle, a stick, etc. This offence is also a hybrid offence. If the crown proceeds by way of indictment the maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment and if the crown proceeds by way of summary conviction the maximum sentence is 18 months imprisonment.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the most serious type of assault charge. Aggravated assault is an assault where the victim is wounded, maimed, disfigured or their life is endangered. It expressly includes cases of female genital mutilation. Aggravated assault is an indictable offence punishable by a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

An assault conviction can impact your ability to find employment and travel. Having a violent crime on your criminal record may also impact you in family law proceedings or immigration applications. Ensure that you contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible if you are charged with assault. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal lawyers in Markham that can work with you to protect your rights.


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