Top-Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer Representing Clients Facing Assault Charges in Vancouver and Throughout British Columbia
At N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation, our Vancouver assault lawyer is an exceptional and experienced advocate for defendants. If you or your loved one is arrested and charged with assault, you need reliable legal representation. We are here to protect your reputation, your rights, and your freedom. To set up a free, completely confidential initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us at our New Westminster law office today.
What is Assault? Understanding the Definition
The offense of assault is committed any time one person intentionally applies force to another person without consent. It covers everything from a shove to a vicious stabbing. An assault can occur between friends, family members, spouses, and strangers, and is one of the most frequently laid charges under the Criminal Code. Under Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, a person commits assault when he or she:
- applies force intentionally to another person, directly or indirectly, without the consent of the other person;
- attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, and either has the ability to carry out the attempted or threatened act or causes the other person to believe that he or she has the ability; or
- accosts or impedes another person or begs while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or imitation thereof.
To be clear, a defendant does not have to cause serious or devastating physical injuries to another person to be charged with or convicted of assault. A minor assault that does not cause lasting damage can still result in significant criminal penalties—potentially including prison time.
Assault Charges We Handle in British Columbia
Assaults are generally prosecuted under Section 266 of the Criminal Code if they do not cause serious injury and do not involve the use of a weapon. Sometimes an assault under Section 266 of the Criminal Code is referred to as a “simple assault” or “assault simpliciter”.
Do not take a simple assault charge lightly. The maximum sentence for this type of assault is 6 months if the offense is prosecuted summarily and 5 years if prosecuted by indictment. If you or your loved one are arrested for simple assault, contact our Vancouver criminal defense lawyer for immediate assistance.
Assault with a Weapon
An assault is prosecuted as “assault with a weapon” contrary to Section 267 of the Criminal Code if an object is used as a weapon in the commission of the assault. A “weapon” is defined in the Criminal Code as anything used, designed to be used, or intended for use in causing death or injury to any person.” By that definition, practically anything can qualify as a weapon if it is used with the intention of hurting someone. A weapon can, therefore, include the obvious (guns and knives) and the less obvious (hockey sticks and baseball bats).
The maximum sentence for assault with a weapon is 18 months if the offense is prosecuted summarily and 10 years if prosecuted by indictment. Assault with a weapon is a very serious criminal offense. If you or your family member are charged with this crime, our Vancouver criminal defense lawyer is standing by, ready to protect your rights.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm
If an assault causes “bodily harm”, it is prosecuted as “assault causing bodily harm” contrary to Section 267 of the Criminal Code. The term “bodily harm” is defined broadly as “any hurt or injury to a person that interferes with the health or comfort of the person and that is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.”
A victim does not need to suffer serious injuries to warrant this type of charge. In fact, courts have consistently held that injuries as minor as heavy bruising can qualify as bodily harm for the purposes of this statute. If you or your loved one are charged with assault causing bodily harm, you need an experienced defense lawyer on your side. The maximum sentence for assault causing bodily harm is 18 months if the offense is prosecuted summarily and 10 years if prosecuted by indictment.
If an assault wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the victim, it is prosecuted as an aggravated assault under Section 268 of the Criminal Code. Typically an aggravated assault occurs where someone is shot, stabbed or severely beaten.
Aggravated assault is a serious offense. Prosecutors tend to be especially vigilant when bringing and pursuing aggravated assault charges. If convicted, a defendant can face the maximum sentence—which is 14 years in jail. Do not go it alone. If you or someone you know is arrested for aggravated assault in British Columbia, contact a lawyer right away.
What are the Defenses Against Assault Charges
Similar to other offenses, assault charges must always be defended on a case-by-case basis. Only after an in-depth assessment of the precise allegations and the specific evidence collected by the police will a lawyer be able to craft a proper defense strategy. Three of the most common defenses to assault charges are as follows:
- Actual Innocence: Innocence is always a defense to any criminal charge. Whether there was a mistake in identity or the alleged victim made false statements to law enforcement, a lawyer can help you raise a defense of innocence.
- Consent: To obtain a conviction for assault, prosecutors must prove that the defendant acted without the consent of the victim. If the alleged victim gave their consent, such as in the case of mutual combat or a consensual fight, assault charges may be dismissed on those grounds as long as bodily harm has not occurred.
- Self Defense: Finally, people have the right to self defense. If an alleged assault was actually a lawful act of self defense, then a person is not guilty of assault.
Of course, the burden of proof always rests on the prosecution. If prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to sustain charges, then charges should be dismissed.
How Vancouver Defense Lawyer Nicholas J. Preovolos Can Help
Our legal team is committed to providing open, honest, client-focused legal representation to defendants. Nicholas J. Preovolos has the skills and training needed to handle the full range of assault charges. We will protect your rights. When you call our law office, you will get access to a lawyer who is prepared to:
- Conduct a free, preliminary review of the assault charges;
- Listen to your side of the story and explain your options;
- Investigate the charges—securing any relevant evidence; and
- Take aggressive legal action to protect your rights and secure your freedom.
With criminal defense, a one-size-fits-all solution is simply not the best approach. You need a lawyer who will put in the time and resources to understand your case and fight to get you the best possible results—whether that means working towards a plea agreement or fighting to get false assault charges dismissed.
Get Help From Our Vancouver Assault Defense Lawyer Today
At N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation, our Vancouver criminal defense lawyer has deep experience handling assault cases. Being charged with assault is not something to be dismissed or treated lightly. If you have been charged with assault or a related offense such as assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon or aggravated assault, we can help.
To request a free, completely confidential initial consultation, please contact our legal team right away. With a law office in New Westminster, we defend assault charges throughout British Columbia, including in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Port Moody.