In Calgary, Assault May Be in the Eye of the Beholder

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The law defining simple assault in Calgary—and throughout Canada—includes making verbal threats of violence or physical gestures meant to intimidate through the suggestion of violence as actions that can warrant a criminal charge. In other words, you can be charged with assault without actually making physical contact with someone.

This can make it more difficult to tell when an "assault" (according to the letter of the law) has occurred—while some verbal statements and physical gestures might obviously threaten violence, others can be more nebulous.

For instance, most people reading this have probably said "I'm going to kill him!" At one point or another, but you almost certainly didn't mean it and didn't say it in a circumstance in which it presented a true threat of violence.

But what if you said "I could kill you!" During an angry altercation? What if you stood up and knocked a chair over when you said it? At what point does your simple and relatively common statement become a true threat of violence and a cause for law enforcement intervention?

When could you find yourself charged with assault in Calgary?

The truth is, there's no hard and fast rule. The Calgary Police, Crown prosecutors, judges, and juries can consider the full circumstances surrounding your actions to make their determination, making assault often a question of what they believe your intentions to be. Your best bet is to avoid any threat or appearance of potential violence—and of course, to contact a Calgary defence lawyer immediately if you find yourself charged with assault.

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