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What is ‘Simple Assault?

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Also known as ‘assault simpliciter’ or ‘common assault,’ simple assault is the most basic form of criminal assault charge in Canada. In fact, simple assault does not even need to cause injury or require excessive use of force. All that one needs to do to perform a simple assault is intentionally threatening or applying force, directly or indirectly, against another person without their express consent.

Defined under section 266 of the Criminal Code, simple assault can result from as small of an instance as an unwanted shove at a bar or other venue. Despite being a relatively minor charge compared to other assault charges, someone guilty of simple assault still might face time in prison.

What Are Examples of the Different Types of Simple Assault in Canada?

The most common type of assault, simple assault, may come in many forms.

  • Examples of simple assault include the following:
  •  Drunken arguments which result in pushes, shoves, or attempts to punch another person.
  •  Jealousy leading to arguments that result in pushing and shoving.
  •  Lunging at someone or throwing a punch that doesn’t connect.
  •  Matrimonial disputes that become threatening or somewhat violent.
  •  Punching or kicking another person.
  •  Scratching or cutting someone with your fingernails.
  •  Sexual touching without consent.
  •  Slapping someone, even playfully, and causing minor harm.
  •  Threatening to cause harm, either bodily harm or otherwise, and making the other person believe that you intend to follow through on your threats.
  •  Tightly grabbing another person’s arm without their consent, potentially leaving a bruise behind.

The person who accuses someone of assault doesn’t need to press charges. If they call law enforcement to report a simple assault, the police will likely press charges themselves. The likelihood of the police pressing charges is increased in cases of domestic assault.

All it takes is an unwanted applied force or the threat of force and a phone call to the authorities for a case to be considered a potential assault. If violence results in serious bodily harm or a dangerous weapon is utilized, it will be upgraded from common or simple assault to the next level of assault, like aggravated assault.

What Are the Penalties for Simple Assault in Toronto?

The minimum sentencing for a defendant found guilty of simple assault is an absolute or conditional discharge. An absolute discharge means that, though found guilty, you will serve no time and will not have a criminal record as a result of the case. Conditional discharges could grant you the same, provided that you complete probationary periods or other court-ordered training classes.

The maximum penalty for simple assault in Canada is five years of imprisonment. Usually, a first-time offender will not receive the maximum five-year prison sentence. However, they do risk the chance of receiving jail time, house arrest, or an extended period of probation.

Compared to other, more extreme charges of assault, the penalties for simple assault can appear minor. And some people may believe that they genuinely did nothing wrong, allowing themselves to feel confident that nothing bad can happen in criminal court. But do not be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Though more relaxed than penalties for other, worse assault charges, simple assault charges can still result in extended prison time and a damning criminal record.

Schedule a Case Evaluation with an Experienced Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one have been charged with assault, you must take the criminal charges seriously, even if you believe you’ve done nothing wrong. Simple assault criminal offences can still result in prison time and criminal records that will forever limit an individual’s ability to secure future employment. You mustn’t take these charges lightly. Instead, you must challenge the criminal charges being made against you. The only rational choice for how to do so is by hiring professional legal counsel to defend your rights in criminal court proceedings.

The law firm of William Jaksa Criminal Litigation has years of service in Toronto, Ontario. The lawyer William Jaksa has extensive experience in assault cases and would be proud to represent you during this challenging time.

To schedule a consultation, please get in touch with our law office. 647-951-8078.

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