You meet charges of assault? The lawyers of Riendeau Attorneys are there to help you and find the best defense for your case.

Assault - Criminal Code Offense

I am accused of assault, what does it mean?

The offense of assault is one of the most common offenses in criminal law and it contains more than one might think. It is often thought that only people’s with fiery temper can find themselves in situation where charges of assault are made against them, but our experience as a criminal lawyer has shown us that anyone can be in the wrong place, wrong time and to be subject to such accusations

In order to understand what constitutes a charge for assault, it is important to define that offense and to reduce it’s consequences Also, being aware that there are different types of assault is necessary in order to determine the penalties incurred for an offense. The answer to his questions is found in sections 265 to 270 of the Criminal Code.

Section 265 (1) of the Criminal Code defines the offense of assault as the act of engaging in an attack or assault in the following situations:

  1. intentionally, uses force, directly or indirectly, against another person without his consent;
  2. attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to use force against another person, if he is in a position to do so, or if he causes that person to believe, on reasonable grounds, that he is also present measure of accomplishing his purpose;
  3. ostensibly wearing a weapon or imitation, approaching or importing another person or begging.

There are different types of assault. In order to qualify the offense, it is necessary to look at the consequences of the act on the complainant, to ask whether there was use of a weapon during the attack or aggression, or if the actions were against a person or a police officer.

Simple Assault

The type of assault with the lowest objective seriousness and the least severe sentence is that of common assault (section 265 of the Criminal Code). It applies when a person uses force against another individual without his consent. It can range from pushing someone, restricting them, to punching or kicking. In addition, simple assault does not necessarily involve physical contact – a threatening act or an attempt to use force can result in a conviction of assault.

Assaulted Weapon

The second type of assault in terms of the seriousness of the offense is the assault with a weapon provided for in Article 267 of the Criminal Code. The concept of “weapons” includes not only weapons in the traditional sense of the term, but also any object that is used for the purpose of threatening or injuring anyone, whether an animal, a knife or a glass of wine.


The offense of assault causing bodily harm is also provided for in section 267 of the Criminal Code. “Bodily injury” means an injury that affects the health or well-being of a person and is not of a transient or unimportant nature. This includes psychological injuries.

Major Assault

Section 268 (1) of the Criminal Code provides that a person will commit aggravated assault if it injures, mutilates, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant. There is a thin line between assault causing injury and aggravated assault, with the difference being in the extent of the injury sustained by the complainant. The Crown Attorney will not have to demonstrate the intent to commit a serious assault, but rather the objective foreseeability that the actions could lead to such consequences.

Assault on a peace officer

Section 270 (1) of the Criminal Code provides for a separate offense in the following cases:

  1. against a public officer or peace officer acting in the performance of their duties, or a person who assists them;
  2. against a person with the intention of resisting arrest or legal detention, his own or that of another, or preventing them;
  3. against a person depending on the case :
  4. acting in the legal execution of a legal act against lands or effects, or seizure,
  5. with intent to take back a thing seized or taken by virtue of a judicial act.

Can I consent to assault?

The Crown must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt, not only the assault, but also that the victim does not consent to the assault. Indeed, it is possible to consent to a fight. However, the courts, in particular in Jobidon, have held that a person can not consent to be subjected to bodily harm or serious injury in a fight, unless it is done in a sporting environment. .

The sentences incurred for each type of assault

The penalties depend on the type of assault, with the Criminal Code determining the consequences applicable to each. The sentence may also vary according to the circumstances of the event, depending on the extent of the injuries inflicted, the history of the accused, etc.

Simple Assault (Clause 265 (1)

Section 266 of the Criminal Code specifies the sentence for this type of offense. The law provides that the prosecution may decide to proceed by way of indictment or summary conviction for this type of offense, but that the maximum penalty for a common assault is 5 years imprisonment.

Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm (article 267 of the Criminal Code):

Section 267 of the Criminal Code provides that a person prosecuted by indictable offense for that offense is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years. In the case of summary prosecution, the accused will be liable to imprisonment for up to eighteen months.

Serious Fact (Article 268

This crime is one of the most important in the criminal code and generally involves a term of imprisonment, even for an accused without a criminal record. For this type of assault, the accused is liable to imprisonment for up to fourteen years.

Assault on a peace officer (s. 270 Cr. C.)

For this type of offence, a person prosecuted by indictment will be liable to a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and may be prosecuted by summary conviction in the least serious cases. 


It is important to know that a person accused of assault has several defences that may lead to an acquittal, including self-defence (section 34 of the Criminal Code). To invoke self-defence, the accused must credibly establish three elements.

1) believes, on reasonable grounds, that force is being used against him or her or another person or that it is being threatened against him or her or another person;

2) commits the act constituting the offence for the purpose of self-defence or protection

3) acts reasonably in the circumstances.

Once established, the onus is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this defence does not apply.

Riendeau Lawyers

In summary, there are several types of assaults that can have serious consequences for a convicted individual. Are you charged with assault?

We recommend that you contact one of the lawyers at Riendeau Lawyers as soon as possible in order to benefit from our experience in offences against persons and to obtain the best possible settlement, or even an acquittal.