Understanding Calgary Law: Aggravated v. Simple Assault (Part 2)

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In Part 1 of this article, you learned about simple or common assault—one of the leading causes for arrests by the Calgary Police and charges brought before the Calgary courts. As you saw in the law itself and a brief analysis, simple assault charges can arise out of any intentional force against another person without their consent, or by making any threats or gestures of violence that look like that they might actually be carried out. Even impeding someone while wearing or carrying a weapon can qualify as simple assault!

You also learned that simple assault charges can be dealt with as summary offences or as indictable offences, the latter of which carries the potential for much more substantial penalties. Either type of charge can put you at serious legal risk, however, and you could even spend six months in a Calgary-area jail just for a summary conviction, so don't treat it lightly!

The law doesn't stop with simple assault, though. While the law takes a dim view of the crimes covered under the definition of common assault, it deals more harshly with the crime of aggravated assault.

Aggravated Assault Charges in Calgary: A VERY Serious Indictable Offence

Aggravated assault is defined by Section 268 of Canada's Criminal Code:

(1) Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.

(2) Every one who commits an aggravated assault is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

(There are two additional paragraphs that deal specifically with "female circumcision," which is also considered an aggravated assault unless performed by a medical doctor for valid health reasons or is an elective procedure performed on an adult with full consent and without causing any other bodily harm.)

Like the law defining simple assault, the law defining aggravated assault is, well, simple. Even simpler, in fact, though far more serious in terms of the injuries caused and the penalties a conviction might carry. Any assault that results in a wound, maiming, disfiguring, or that puts someone's life in danger is an aggravated assault, and an aggravated assault is ALWAYS charged as an indictable offence.

That means the possibility of years—up to fourteen of them, in this case—in jail.

It is even still possible to be charged with aggravated assault without actually touching someone. Recall how simple assault includes making threats or gestures of intimidation; imagining a scenario where these threats put someone's life in danger—at the edge of a roof, on a street with busy oncoming traffic, in an emergency medical situation—isn't too difficult. While it would be up to the discretion of law enforcement officers like the Calgary Police and, ultimately, the Crown prosecutor to determine whether or not to bring an aggravated assault charge, it is a distinct possibility. And if they chose to lay such a charge, you would be facing a very serious legal battle.

Take Your Calgary Assault Charge Seriously: Contact a Defence Lawyer Today!

Any criminal charge should be taken seriously, whether it's for simple assault, aggravated assault, or another crime entirely. If you've been charged with a crime in the Greater Calgary Area and would like a free initial consultation with a leading Calgary defence lawyer, please contact my office today.

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