Being charged with any form of assault in Canada can have serious repercussions on your future. While common assault can often be resolved through diversion programs, assault with a weapon is treated much more seriously with significantly higher punishments.

The Canadian justice system is continuously cracking down on weapons offences. The Criminal Code, therefore, addresses assault with a weapon separately from common assault and the punishments are more severe – though not as serious as for aggravated assault.

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If you or a loved one have been charged with assault with a weapon, Cory Wilson’s skills and experience in successfully defending such cases can help protect your rights and freedoms.

What is assault with a weapon?

According to Section 267 of the Criminal Code, a person commits the offence of assault with a weapon if in committing an assault, he or she “carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof”.

In the Criminal Code, the offence is listed as assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm. So, the simple use of a weapon in an assault (whether or not it inflicted injury) is treated similarly to if someone is physically injured in an assault where no weapon was used – for instance, an assault by choking, suffocating or strangulating the complainant.

With this offence, even if no physical force was used and the weapon was an imitation (like a fake gun), the presence of a weapon suggests the threat of force. This may be enough to secure a conviction unless you have prepared an adequate defence for your actions.

Examples of assault with a weapon include pointing a gun at somebody, brandishing a knife or hitting someone (or threatening to hit someone) with a baseball bat.

Almost anything that can be used to strike or injure someone can be construed as a weapon.

What are the penalties for assault with a weapon?

Assault with a weapon can be punished as an indictment or summary offence. This is known as a “hybrid” offence. In the worst cases, it can result in 10 years in prison. A summary offence can lead to prison time of up to two years less a day.

Whether you are prosecuted by indictment or summary conviction depends on the circumstances of your case. Legal representation from an experienced criminal defence lawyer like Cory Wilson can help ensure that your penalties if convicted are kept to a minimum.

Apart from jail time, they may include:

  • Fines
  • A ban on owning weapons
  • A court order to submit your DNA to the DNA databank

If there are no aggravating factors present and you have a clean criminal record, there is a reasonable chance we can avoid jail time by liaising reasonably with the prosecution.

If there are aggravating factors present, such as the following, it may be harder to avoid time behind bars:

  • The assault was of a domestic nature
  • It was committed while on bail
  • It was committed in connection with a criminal organization
  • It involved the use of a prohibited firearm

It may also be more difficult to keep you out of jail if you are not a resident of Canada.

A conviction for assault with a weapon will almost certainly impact your future. The lifelong criminal record could limit your employment and housing options, create child custody issues, and lead to problems for travelling to the U.S. Your immigration status may also be impacted if you are not a Canadian citizen.

Even if you think you are guilty of assault with a weapon, never plead guilty until you have discussed your legal options with Cory Wilson. He may be able to negotiate a solution that does not leave you with a criminal record and allows you to serve your penalty in the community.

Defences for assault with a weapon

Cory Wilson will examine the circumstances of your case in fine detail. One of several available defences may be used and, most commonly, we will consider the following:

  • No weapon: a conviction for this offence requires you to have carried, used or threatened to use a weapon. If this is brought into doubt, your charge may be downgraded to common assault.
  • No use or threat of force: if there was no application of force or threat of application of force, or if you had the consent to apply force, this could challenge the prosecution’s case against you.
  • Self-defence or defending someone else: if you committed the assault with a weapon to defend yourself against an attacker – or to defend another party from a serious attack – a conviction will be much harder to secure for the prosecution.
  • The credibility of the complainant: sometimes the credibility of the complainant (and the motives for bringing the complaint) can be called into question.
  • Violation of constitutional rights: if the police fail to follow your rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms before and after your arrest, this could be used in your defence.

Call Us To Arrange A Confidential Consultation

To speak with Cory Wilson or arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with Wilson Criminal Defence, call 403-978-6052 or email us here.

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