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Assault - Cugelman & Eisen

Assault is one of the most common criminal charges filed in Ontario, and it affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Any intentional, unwanted touching may be classified as assault. It does not have to involve violent force, and the victim need not have sustained actual harm; in some cases, even the threat to apply force may be enough to charge someone with assault. Where there is actual harm inflicted, depending on the injuries, the charge may be upgraded to assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, or even attempted murder.

Legal Considerations in Assault Cases

As with all crimes, in assault cases the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the assault. When a complainant does not know who assaulted them, it can be challenging for the prosecution to prove its case. Eyewitness and photo lineup identification procedures can often be effectively challenged by a skilled defence lawyer.

There are a number of valid defences to assault and other violent offences in Ontario. For example, if the person allegedly assaulted consented to the application of force, or if the defendant was acting in self-defence, the defendant may be able to obtain an acquittal. For a successful self-defence argument, a defendant would need to show that he used reasonable force to defend himself against an assault. Every case is different and will depend on the specific details and circumstances of the alleged assault, but relevant evidence in assault cases may include the degree of force used, how much harm was caused, who provoked the assault, and whether the defendant intended to cause serious bodily harm or death.

Penalties for Assault

The Crown takes assault cases very seriously, particularly if it is domestic in nature. Assault is what is known as a hybrid offence, meaning that the Crown Prosecutor may elect to proceed summarily or by indictment. If they proceed summarily, then the maximum sentence is usually six months in jail. If the crime is treated as an indictable offence, then the penalties may be more severe, on the order of up to five years in jail. The Crown's decision is based on the seriousness of the crime and the accused person's criminal history (if any).

More serious offences, such as assault with a weapon or assault with bodily harm, may involve a prison sentence of anywhere from 18 months to 10 years. Aggravated assault is an indictable offence that is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

In addition to prison time, a conviction on any assault charge may have far-reaching implications for a defendant. It can result in an Order requiring the convicted person to provide a sample of his or her D.N.A. to the databank kept by the R.C.M.P. It can lead to a Court ordered Firearms Prohibition. It can curtail a person's ability to travel and to obtain future employment or education; it can also negatively impact family law rights, immigration status, reputation, and many other important facets of a defendant's life.

If you or someone you love is facing assault charges, there is a great deal at stake. The legal considerations and court procedures involved in assault cases can be complex. You need to be sure that your case is in the hands of an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for you.

Cugelman & Eisen: Barrie Criminal Lawyers Who Will Fight For You

The legal team at Cugelman & Eisen has more than 60 years of combined experience in criminal defence, having prepared and argued cases successfully at all levels of the Ontario court system. They have built their practice on hard work, clear, continuous communication with clients, and an unwavering dedication to excellence in the field of criminal defence; today, Cugelman & Eisen is one of the most highly regarded law firms in the Barrie area. They work in all areas of criminal defence and handle all types of cases, including impaired driving, domestic and sexual assault, property offences, drug cases and more. Bernard Cugelman and Mitchell Eisen stay abreast of the latest developments in Canadian criminal law, which allows them to provide the most effective defence for every client. They can assist you through every phase of your criminal case, from police investigations, bail, and pre-trial hearings to trials, plea negotiations, and appeals. The law offices of Cugelman & Eisen are located at 89 Collier St. Suite 100, Barrie, Ontario L4M 1H2, or they can be reached by calling (866) 715-9413.