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FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND ASSAULT CHARGES IN LONDON.  1-866-DEFENCE.

If you live in London and someone you know is facing an assault charge, you likely have some idea of what this involves. However, you may want to find out more information before you decide on what to do, which is why we have tried our best to lay out the basics here for you.

Clients seeking criminal law representation have brought us to courthouses throughout the province, including in London. If you reach out to us via phone or email, we would be happy to arrange an initial consultation, and if we can meet your needs, to act on your behalf in London.

The London courthouse that hears criminal matters is located at 80 Dundas St., London ON, N6A 6A3. The Criminal Superior Court of Justice can be reached at 519-66-3000. The Criminal Ontario Court of Justice can be reached at 519-660-3013. The London court’s office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Other courthouses nearby include St. Thomas, Exeter, Stratford and Woodstock.

To locate information regarding an upcoming court appearance, click here. From 2010 to 2015, the number of assaults recorded by the London Police decreased from 2010 to 2014. From 2014 to 2016, the London Police recorded a slight increase. In 2016, there were 1,552 actual incidents of assault in London, Ontario.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Assault?
How does the Crown Prove and Assault Charge in London?
What are the Penalties for Assault in London?
What is Assault with a Weapon?
What are the Penalties for Assault with a Weapon in London?
What is Assault Causing Bodily Harm?
What are the Penalties for Assault Causing Bodily Harm in London?
What is Sexual Assault?
What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in London?
What is Domestic Assault?
What are the Penalties for Domestic Assault in London?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening

What is Assault?

The offence of assault is outlined in section 265(1) of the Criminal Code and includes a wide variety of physical interactions. As outlined in the Code, an individual is guilty of assault when;

  • he, without the consent of another person, applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
  • he, attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, the present ability to effect his purpose; or
  • while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

Due to the broad definition of assault provided in the Code, many different interactions could be considered assault. On one end of the spectrum of assaults are scenarios where an individual impedes the path of another individual while openly carrying a weapon. In this scenario, no physical interaction needs to occur for this to be considered an assault. On the other end of the spectrum would be an individual violently attacking another individual.

Assault is a specific intent offence. This means that to be guilty of the offence of assault, the accused must have intended to assault the complainant.

How does the Crown Prove an Assault Charge in London?

In the Canadian justice system, the burden of proof always lies with the Crown to prove to the Court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused committed the crime as charged. For an accused to be convicted of assault, the Crown must prove all elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. The Crown must demonstrate to the Court that the accused applied force to the complainant, either directly or indirectly, without the complainant’s consent. Alternatively, where the accused did not make physical contact with the complainant, the Crown may prove that the accused threatened or attempted, either by an act or gesture, to apply force to the complainant. The Crown must also prove that the complainant genuinely believed that the accused had the present ability to carry out the assault. In a final alternative, the Crown may prove that while carrying a weapon, the accused accosted, impeded or begged another individual. To secure an assault conviction the Crown is only required to prove one of these alternatives.

What are the Penalties for Assault in London?

Assault is considered a serious offence in London and can result in serious criminal sanctions to those who are convicted. The offence of assault encompasses a wide array of physical interactions. As a result, the range of penalties available to the Court may vary significantly.

Assault is a hybrid offence. This means the Crown has discretion regarding the maximum penalty available to the Court if the accused is convicted. In cases involving minor assaults, the Crown will proceed summarily and the maximum penalty the accused will face is two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. In more serious cases, the Crown will proceed by indictment and the maximum penalty the accused will face is two years’ imprisonment. The Court will weigh all aggravating and mitigating factors in the case to determine the proper sentence for the accused.

What is Assault with a Weapon?

The offence of assault with a weapon is outlined in section 267 of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual is guilty of assault with a weapon where they use a weapon while committing an assault. An individual may be guilty of assault with a weapon even in situations where they do not physically strike the complainant with the weapon. An individual who assaults another person while holding a weapon will often be charged with assault with a weapon. Similarly, an individual who threatens another individual with a weapon will be guilty of assault with a weapon.

What are the Penalties for Assault with a Weapon in London?

The offence of assault with a weapon is considered a serious violent crime in London. It is a hybrid offence, which gives the Crown considerable discretion regarding the maximum penalty that may be imposed on the accused upon conviction. In more minor cases, the Crown will proceed summarily and the maximum penalty the accused will face if they are convicted is two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. In more serious cases, the Crown will proceed by indictment and the accused will face a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment if they are convicted. The Court will weigh all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors in the case to determine the best sentence for the accused.

What is Assault Causing Bodily Harm?

The offence of assault causing bodily harm is outlined in section 267 of the Criminal Code. As outlined in the Code, a person is guilty of assault causing bodily harm where they apply force to another person and cause bodily injury to that person, or where they choke, suffocate or strangle another person.

What are the Penalties for Assault Causing Bodily Harm in London?

Assault causing bodily harm is considered a serious violent offence in London. Assault causing bodily harm is a hybrid offence which means the Crown has considerable discretion regarding the maximum penalty that may be imposed on the accused if they are convicted. In more serious cases, the Crown will proceed by indictment and the maximum penalty will be ten years’ imprisonment. In less serious cases, the Crown will proceed summarily, and the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. In determining the proper sentence, the Court will weigh all aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the case.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is considered one of the most serious offences in the Criminal Code. An individual is guilty of the offence of sexual assault when they make physical contact, either directly or indirectly with another individual, and that contact violates the individual’s sexual integrity.

What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in London?

The offence of sexual assault encompasses a wide range of behaviours. On one end of the spectrum, an individual may be charged with sexual assault for inappropriately touching a stranger in public. On the other end of the spectrum are cases when one individual forces intercourse on another individual. Sexual assault is a hybrid offence, giving the Crown considerable discretion regarding the maximum penalty that may be imposed on the accused.

In more minor cases, the Crown will proceed summarily, and the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine where the complainant is over the age of eighteen. Where the complainant is under the age of sixteen the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment and a mandatory minimum of six months’ imprisonment.

In more serious cases, the Crown will proceed by indictment. In these cases, the accused will face a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment where the complainant was over the age of eighteen. If the complainant was under the age of sixteen at the time of the assault, the accused will face a maximum of fourteen years’ imprisonment and a mandatory minimum of one-year imprisonment. 

What is Domestic Assault?

In Canada there is no separate criminal offence for domestic assault. Rather, those who assault their intimate partner will be charged with assault, and the Court will hold the fact that the assault occurred in a domestic relationship as an aggravating factor in the case. Crown attorneys in London and across Ontario have a specialized policy in place regarding the prosecution of domestic assault cases. As a result, these cases a prosecuted more harshly than comparable assaults not occurring in an intimate relationship. Crowns often advocate for more serious penalties and Courts are more inclined to impose custodial sentences on those convicted of an assault occurring in an intimate relationship.

What are the Penalties for Domestic Assault in London?

Since there is no separate offence in the Criminal Code for domestic assault, those charged with domestic assault will face the same penalties as an individual charged with an assault occurring outside of an intimate relationship. The offence of assault, as outlined in section 266 of the Criminal Code is a hybrid offence. In more serious domestic assault cases, the Crown will proceed by indictment and the maximum penalty that the accused will face is five years’ imprisonment. In less serious cases, the Crown will proceed summarily and the maximum penalty the accused will face is two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.

If you have been charged with an assault related offence our Firm can assist you in navigating the criminal justice system and obtaining a favourable outcome in your case. We have experience defending individuals charged with assault, domestic assault, and sexual assault and regularly obtain favourable results for our clients.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623