I’ve been charged with Assault. What do I need to know?
There are different types of assault, including:
- Simple Assault
- Assault with a Weapon
- Assault Causing Bodily Harm
- Aggravated Assault
You commit the crime of Simple Assault if you:
- touch someone on purpose without their permission, or
- physically threaten to touch someone without their permission
Examples of Simple Assault include:
It's still an if you don't injure the person.
These situations are not assault:
- Touching someone by accident. For example, if you accidentally bump into someone on a crowded bus.
- Using only words to threaten someone. It's only an assault if you use your body while you make the threat, such as raising a fist or lunging at someone.
Assault with a Weapon is when you commit a Simple Assault while you carry a weapon that the other person can see, or if you threaten to use a weapon.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm is when you commit a Simple Assault and the person you assault is injured. The injury can be physical or mental, but it must be more than just a small scratch or bruise. Examples of Assault Causing Bodily Harm include:
- breaking a bone
- an injury that requires stitches
- psychological trauma that lasts a long time
Aggravated Assault is when you commit a Simple Assault and the person is either seriously injured or their life is put in danger. Examples of Aggravated Assault include when the person's injury:
- is life threatening
- significantly affects their life, such as crippling them or causing brain damage
- changes their appearance, such as a big scar on their face
- permanently damages their body, such as causing them to lose an eye
Sentences for Assault
For Aggravated Assault, the maximum is:
- 14 years in prison, or
- life in prison if this is your second or more time committing Aggravated Assault against a romantic partner
For the other types of assault named above, the maximum sentences are:
- If the Crown proceeds :
- 2 years in jail
- If the Crown proceeds by :
- Simple Assault: 5 years in prison
- Assault with a Weapon: 10 years in prison
- Assault Causing Bodily Harm: 10 years in prison