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Different Types of Assault


Assault covers a wide range of criminal charges in Canada. There is no one ‘set’ charge of assault; it can vary from case to case, and situation to situation. Having an understanding of the different types of assault can provide you with a better scope in case you come across any of these situations.

What is Assault?

According to Canada’s Criminal Code Section 265 (1), assault is committed when a person acts “without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly,” while also mentioning that “he attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person.”

The biggest point to take away from the first statement is that the crime has to be committed “intentionally”, as there is no basis of assault if there is no intent behind it. As for the second statement, it refers to the “attempt” of assault, that there is an intent behind it.

Basically, assault can refer to both the intention of harming someone, and the attempt to do it.

Different Types of Assault

Common Assault - This form of assault is the most commonly charged offence. This usually refers to physical altercations such as fistfights and domestic disputes that turn physical. Attempted or threatened assaults also fall under this category. In most cases, prosecutors won’t seek jail time, particularly for those with first-time offences.

Domestic Assault - This takes place between two people who are currently or formerly in a domestic relationship, being same-sex or not. Assault in these situations usually leads to more serious penalties, which is why it's best to hire a domestic violence lawyer (

Aggravated Assault - This refers to assault that is deemed as “indictable”, and focuses on aggravating factors that impacted the victim, such as serious injuries or use of a weapon. Convictions can result in significant prison sentences.

Assault With a Weapon - The name says it all: it refers to the assault that involves a weapon or physical harm. It can result in severe penalties if convicted, including lengthy prison terms.Can also be added to other assaults, doubling your charges.

Sexual Assault - Perhaps one of the worse offences possible. This can include the likes of inappropriate touching to rape. In many situations, this results in severe penalties, such as jail time and mandatory inclusion on the sexual offender database. If extensive physical harm was also conducted, it can result in further punishments.

Assault Causing Bodily Harm - As implied by the name, it refers to assaults that resulted in physical harm. If guilty, the defendant can find themselves in prison for long periods of time.

Assault Against a Police Officer - The prosecution does not take too kindly to those that assault police officers in the line of duty. In many situations, the guilty faces more severe penalties than simple assault.

With this information above, you now know the difference between assaults and the likely outcomes of each. It’s best to speak to a lawyer about any prospective charges you might face or become a victim to.

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