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Assault and Threat Offences
Defending Assault Charges

Assault and threat offences

Assault and threat offences are among the most serious charges that one can face in Canada. If convicted, these charges have significant consequences on the rest of your life, including your freedom and future employability.

CLE experienced Lawyers defends persons facing all types of assault charges and strives to get the charges withdrawn or significantly reduced.

Here’s more information about different types of assault and how our CLE lawyers can help you.

Defending Assault Charges

No matter how minor your Assault charge seems, do not deem it unnecessary to have expert legal representation. This is because assault offences have the potential to ruin the rest of your life.

As experienced criminal defence lawyers, we provide outstanding defence services to protect your rights and freedoms and help avoid damaging outcomes. Our proven track record of delivering the best possible results in every case has gained us an Ontario-wide reputation as specialists in assault charges.

Some of the defences that we utilize include, but are not limited to:

  • Consent, e.g., consensual fighting

  • Defence of property

  • Defence of someone else

  • Self-defence

  • Corrective force

Definition of Assault

According to section 256(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, a person commits an assault when,

  • Without the consent of another person, he/she intentionally applies force to that person, directly or indirectly;

  • threatens to apply force by acts, words, or gestures;

  • causes another person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has the ability to effect his purpose;

  • impedes another person or “begs” while openly carrying or wearing a weapon or an imitation of one.

Note that assault requires an absence of consent. However, a person cannot consent where the assailant has authority over them, uses force, threatens to use force, or uses fraud.

The above definition by the Criminal Code of Canada applies to all types of assaults discussed below. Although the assaults differ from each other, the definition forms the basic foundation for the charges.

Assault Types

Common Assault

This is the lowest form of assault, and it occurs when a person applies force on another person without their consent, causing minimal (scrape or small bruise) to no injury. As a minor assault, the penalties are lower than in other forms of assault cases. A criminal defence lawyer can help you avoid a criminal record by getting the charges withdrawn in favour of diversion programs, conditional discharge, fine, or community service.

Domestic Assaults

Domestic assault is any form of violence between two or more people in a domestic relationship, for example, a couple, common-law partners, or family members. This form of assault is taken seriously by the Crown, police, and courts. When arrested for domestic assault, the prosecution fights to have you remain in custody or be released under strict bail conditions. A conviction for domestic assault may cost you your family and freedom.

Sexual Assaults

This is an assault or act of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim, and that is committed without consent. A conviction for a sexual assault charge results in devastating consequences, including jail sentences, addition to the sexual offender registry, stigmatization, and more. If you are charged with sexual assault, you should retain an experienced criminal defence lawyer no matter how minor the incident.

Assault Causing Bodily Harm

This is an assault that causes a significant bodily injury, interfering with the victim’s comfort or health. It is a serious category of assault crimes that carry up to 10 years in prison for indictable offences and 18 months for summary conviction offences. To be convicted with assault causing bodily harm, the Crown must prove that the accused foresaw the bodily harm or other outcomes of the assault.

Assaulting a Police Officer

Intentionally assaulting a peace officer or public officer engaged in the execution of his/her duty or someone helping such as an officer is a serious offence with severe penalties, including incarceration. Depending on the case facts, one may face up to 5-years imprisonment for an indictable offence and 2 years for a summary offence.

Aggravated Assault

This is the most serious category of all assault charges. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, one commits aggravated assault if they maim, disfigure, wound, or endanger another person’s life. This is an indictable offence carrying a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.

Utter Threats

Section 264.1(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada states that anyone commits a crime when they intentionally utter, convey or cause anyone to receive threats. This offence carries severe repercussions, especially for individuals with a criminal past, including fines, probation, possible incarceration, job loss, and more. If you’re charged with uttering threats, consult an experienced CLE criminal defence lawyer for expert legal advice.

Utter Threats to Cause Death

Uttering threats to cause death is a serious criminal offence in Canada and can lead to unexpected drastic consequences. If you threaten to cause death, may it be to your partner, neighbour, or stranger, the Court and the Crown take it very seriously. This charge is sometimes coupled with other criminal allegations, such as extortion and domestic violence.

Utter Threats to Cause Bodily Harm

This is a serious form of assault that can lead to severe consequences upon the finding of guilt, including a criminal record, fine, firearm restrictions and incarceration. Therefore, threatening to cause bodily harm charges should not be taken lightly. Retain an experienced criminal

Domestic Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault, otherwise known as assault level III, is the most serious form of assault. It occurs when a person maims, wounds, disfigures or endangers the life of the victim. In domestic aggravated assault, the spouse or partner causes significant, life-threatening injuries, such as deep cuts, fractured bones, burns, and severe head injuries, to the complainant. This charge is only prosecuted through indictment and carries a jail sentence of up to 14 years.

If you’re facing a domestic aggravated assault charge, do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defence attorney to protect you.

Domestic Assault with A Weapon

This entails the use, attempt, or threats to use a weapon to injure, intimidate, or threaten the complainant. The Criminal Code of Canada leaves the matter of “what constitutes a weapon” open to discussion, which sometimes leads to absurd charges. This category of domestic assault cases can be prosecuted by indictment, which carries a maximum of 10 years in jail, or by summary conviction, which carries up to 18 months in prison.

Domestic Assault Causing Bodily Harm

This type of domestic assault, otherwise referred to as Assault Level II, results in more than trifling or minor injuries. A domestic assault causing bodily harm charge poses drastic penalties upon conviction, including incarceration, fines, and probation. It is prosecutable through indictment, which carries up to 10 years in jail, or by summary conviction, which carries up to 18 months in prison. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us.

Definition of Assault
Assault Types


CLE experienced lawyers is your premier criminal defence team dedicated to providing comprehensive, high-quality defence services to you. As an accused person facing assault or other related charges, remember that you have the right to legal representation, and you’re innocent until proven guilty.

The lawyers at CL, we are well- acquitted with assault cases. Our attorneys have years of experience successfully defending clients accused of various assault offences. The Crown Attorneys and Judges recognize us as aggressive and excellent lawyers, which helps us attain favourable results for you.

Our successful track record is evident in the reviews and testimonials by our clients. By retaining the lawyers at CLE, your case will be in committed and highly skilled defence and trial lawyers. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.


What is the definition of assault?

The Criminal Code of Canada section 265(1) defines assault as the intentional application of force on another person, either directly or indirectly, without their consent. An attempt or threats to apply force can also constitute an assault. One can also face assault charges if they impede another person or beg while openly carrying or wearing a weapon or an imitation of one.

In which situations can a person not give consent?

Consent is a major element in assault cases. When someone agrees to fight or have sex, you can be found not guilty of an assault charge. However, in some situations outlined by Sections 265(3) and 271.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, an individual cannot give consent. These include, but not limited to:

  • Where the accused uses force on the victim or another person to obtain consent

  • When the victim fears that there will be an application of force if consent is not given

  • If the individual asking for consent is abusing or exercising a position of power or authority over the other person

  • If a person gives consent under fraudulent information

  • A person cannot consent to another individual fighting

  • If an individual is incapable of giving consent, for example, a mentally ill or intoxicated person

  • If a person, through words or acts, expresses disinterest in an activity

Is harm an element of assault?

You can be charged with criminal assault without causing bodily harm to another person. A person commits an assault when they exert any amount of force on another person without consent. Therefore, even a touch, pinch, or push can constitute an assault.

What does the Crown have to prove in threat charges?

In utter threat charges, the prosecution must prove that you made the threat and intended the recipient to take it seriously. They must also prove that you intentionally sought to cause fear or alarm to the recipient.

What if I accidentally hit someone?

Accidentally hitting or touching someone does not constitute an assault. This is because, in an assault, the application of force must be intentional. Therefore, a reflex action, hitting someone when having a seizure, accidentally touching someone in a crowded space, and other unintentional applications of force do not constitute assaults.

What if the complainant wants to withdraw the charges?

In domestic assault cases, the complainant has no control over whether to press or withdraw charges. Once a domestic assault complaint is issued, the police will arrive at the scene and conduct thorough investigations by interviewing the victim, accused, and witnesses. If by the end of their investigations they believe beyond reasonable grounds that domestic assault has occurred, they’ll arrest and charge the accused. The Crown Attorneys will then prosecute the accused, even if the complainant wants to withdraw the charges. Only the Crown holds the power to drop the charges.

What makes domestic assault charges very serious?

Domestic violence has become very prevalent in our society, and if the justice system does not handle a complaint swiftly, it could escalate into a major offence. Domestic violence or abuse not only negatively impacts the victims but also the rest of the family, including children. These are some of the reasons why the police, Crown Attorneys, and Courts take domestic assault allegations very seriously and impose harsh penalties upon the finding of guilt.

What can be defined as a domestic relationship?

A relationship between two people can be regarded as a domestic relationship if they are or were intimately involved with each other. Examples of persons in domestic relationships include spouses, common-law partners, and boyfriend/girlfriend.

What should you do if you’re not allowed to return home or have contact with your children?

If you’re not allowed to return home or have any contact with your children, our lawyers can negotiate for a change in bail conditions, otherwise known as a bail variation. In most cases, for the Crown Attorney to consent to such a bail variation, you must join an Early Intervention Program. This is a series of counselling sessions on relationships, domestic violence, and anger management. Also, the complainant must provide written revocable consent to allow contact.

What is a peace bond, and why are they offered in domestic assault cases?

A peace bond is one of the ways of settling domestic assault charges. This ensures the withdrawal of allegations while protecting the complainant in a criminal case. Peace bonds are not an admission of guilt but rather a way to settle assault allegations in a manner that is beneficial to the justice system and the parties involved.

A peace bond has conditions that the accused has to uphold upon signing the agreement. These include not having any weapons during the peace bond duration and limiting contact with the complainant.



If you are charged with domestic assault, the lawyer you enlist plays a significant role in determining your case’s outcome. Choosing CLE Lawyers means working with a team of dedicated and skilled lawyers and other legal professionals who strive to deliver the most favourable results in your case.

As domestic assault lawyers, we have successfully handled hundreds of cases, gaining the necessary expertise and experience to navigate any type and level of domestic assault allegations. Therefore, if you’re charged with domestic assault or related charges, we can represent and guide you through the bail hearings, negotiations, and trials, fighting to get the best possible results.

At CLE, we are committed to protecting your rights, liberties, and character. Your needs and interests always come first. With us as your domestic assault lawyers, you’ll have a skilled CLE Lawyers capable of defending you through strong and effective strategies.

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