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Differences Between Assault and Aggravated Assault

This blog will provide an overview of the most common questions surrounding assault and aggravated assault in the form of questions and answers. For more information on this topic, you can contact our office for a free 30-minute consultation to learn more.

What qualifies as assault?

An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability.

Simple assault is the least serious form of assault. It involves minor injury or a limited threat of violence. Where assault is a physical attack, pushing someone or slapping someone in an argument are instances of simple assault.

What are the elements of assault?

The elements of battery are: an act by the accused, an intent to cause harmful or offensive contact on the part of the accused and (harmful or offensive contact to the victim occurs

What are the two types of assault?

Simple assault occurs when a weapon is not used and the resulting injuries that are caused to the victim are minor in nature. Physical assault causes grievous bodily harm, such as prior to the commission of a murder or aggravated assault.

What is the punishment for assault?

Every one who commits an assault is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or an offence punishable on summary conviction. When notable injuries occur, a charge can be stepped up to causing bodily harm.

What qualifies as aggravated assault?

Aggravated assault is a stronger form of assault, usually using a deadly weapon. A person commits an aggravated assault when that person attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon or endangers the life of the complainant or for instance, have sexual relations with a person who is under the age of consent.

What is an assault causing bodily harm?

An assault causing bodily harm is one that is dependant on the outcome of the assault. In Canadian law, an assault is “aggravated” if it “wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant”.

What is the punishment for assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm?

Every one who, in committing an assault carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, or causes bodily harm to the complainant, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

Can you be charged with assault if you were hit first?

It is possible to be charged just with assault, meaning that you were about to hit someone and maybe even took a swing at them. The biggest issue is intent. You must intend to cause someone harm to be guilty of assault.

Can pushing someone be considered assault?

Usually, a person cannot be convicted of a crime based on an act that is accidental. For example, let’s assume that the crime of assault is committed by intentionally making offensive physical contact with the victim. If you intentionally shoved the victim, then you are guilty of assault.

What is the minimum sentence for aggravated assault in Canada?

While there is no minimum penalty for aggravated assault, every one who commits an aggravated assault is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Do you go to jail for aggravated assault?


Can you go to jail for simple assault?


Can assault charges be dropped by the victim in Canada?

In Canada, police lay criminal charges. With most cases, they have some discretion as to whether or not they will lay the charges. However, in cases of domestic violence, charges generally must be laid.

Not only is there a good chance of being found guilty at trial, but in many instances criminal charges are dropped or dismissed long before a case gets to that point. Criminal charges are filed by a prosecutor because they believe that they can prove their case, but the judge or jury may not agree with them leading to a finding of not guilty or acquittal. Further, a criminal defence lawyer can negotiate the charges and either have them dropped or reduce them in such a way that does not leave the accused with a criminal record.

What happens if someone presses charges against you for assault?

Talk to a criminal defence lawyer immediately if you or someone you know have been arrested or charged with the criminal offence of assault or aggravated assault.

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