There are many different types of assault and each presents unique challenges. The simple definition of an assault is intentionally using force to hit or strike a person without their consent. In some instances, threats to harm another person can also be assaults as can stopping or begging from a person while openly carrying a weapon. This article is only a brief explanation of some of the requirements and distinctions regarding assault charges, speak with a lawyer for a more in depth analysis of the circumstances in your case.
The force applied in an assault can be from your body, such as punching or kicking, or from any object such as a stick or bullet. The force does not have to cause injury; a slight push can be considered assault. Mistakenly bumping into someone is not an assault because there is no intention to apply force to him or her. Of course, if there is an injury, a charge of ‘assault with bodily harm’ or ‘aggravated assault’ may apply and the punishment will likely be more severe.
In order to make a case that the threat of force constituted assault, the Crown must prove that the accuser had a reasonable belief that the accused had the ability to carry out the threat at that time. If the threat is of future harm, it is not assault, but can still be an offence such as ‘uttering threats.’
While disputes surrounding consent are more common in sexual assault than non-sexual assault, there is no assault if the application of force was consensual. Typical assault cases where consent may be an issue include instances where both the accuser and the accused engage in a fistfight. In this example, the court will look to the words and body language of both parties to determine whether there was consent.
Another scenario where the question of consent can arise is assaults that take place while playing sports. When you engage in sports activities, especially contact sports like hockey, you consent to a certain amount of pushing, shoving and hitting. In these cases, the courts will look to whether the assault goes beyond what is necessary and acceptable for the particular sport.
When assault is committed with something other than the body, it qualifies as the more serious offence, assault with a weapon. The object does not have to be a traditional weapon such as a gun or knife; it can be a bag, shoe or even a feather, although the punishment for assault with a feather would likely be minimal.
All joking aside, assault is a very serious offence and it is important to speak with a lawyer before making any statements or decisions regarding your case. A lawyer will listen to your side of the story and discuss your options for pleading guilty or going to trial.