What’s the difference between Assault, Domestic Assault, Aggravated Assault and Sexual Assault?

Domestic assault

Assault

Assault, often referred to as simple assault, is where one person does something which is forceful, or which threatens force to another person without their consent or permission. Contrary to what many people believe, to be charged and convicted of assault, there is no requirement of physical contact, or consequently, for the complainant to have sustained physical harm or injury.

Assault is a hybrid offence as the Crown prosecutor can choose, based on factors such as the seriousness of the actions and the harm caused, to treat the offence as a summary conviction or an indictable offence.

Domestic Assault

A person commits assault when they intentionally cause a physical injury to another person. Domestic violence is any event such as stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment that causes physical injury or the fear of physical injury between family members or household members.

You cannot get domestic assault charges dropped in Ontario if the complainant decides to withdraw the charges. Canadian law says that victims of an assault cannot simply drop criminal charges against the accused. Only the police and the Crown Attorney can decide whether the charges will go forward to trial.

In Canada, the penalties for domestic assault depend upon the circumstances of each case and can range from a peace bond to jail time. If the Crown is proceeding by summary conviction (less serious offences), the offender may be required to pay restitution to the wronged party or pay for property damage or medical bills. If the crime does not warrant a jail sentence, the offender may receive a suspended sentence (i.e. Remain under probation) or conditional sentence (i.e.: house arrest).

However, if the Crown is proceeding by indictment (most serious offences), it is likely that the assault was very serious in nature and the accused will face jail time if convicted. For charges such as sexual assault or assault causing bodily harm, the accused can face up to 10 years in prison. However, if the conviction is for aggravated assault, the accused can face up to 14 years in prison.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the most serious form of assault short of actually causing death. A person can be convicted of aggravated assault when their actions lead to another person being wounded, maimed, disfigured, or if they endanger someone’s life. For example, a lasting facial wound (permanent scar) caused by a broken beer bottle in a bar fight would be considered to be an aggravated assault.

  • Wound: breaking of the skin.
  • Disfigure: involves more than temporary impairment of a person’s figure or appearance.
  • Endangered life: real risk to a person. Actual bodily harm is not necessary.
  • Maim: to injure another person so much that they are less able or unable to fight back.

Factors that raise an assault to the aggravated level typically include the use of a weapon, the status of the victim, the intent of the perpetrator, and the degree of injury caused.

Aggravated assault is a very serious felony charge; a conviction for this crime can seriously impact your life. You could face a lengthy prison sentence and the stigma of being a convicted felon. Convicted felons cannot vote or possess firearms and often have difficulty finding employment.

Everyone who commits an aggravated assault is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. Since aggravated assault covers such a wide range of circumstances, a detailed examination of the facts of your case is critical to developing a successful defence. Brace Law can help explain the details of local assault statutes and examine the facts of your case for potential defences.

Sexual Assault

Sexual violence takes different forms and can include:

  • sexual abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • incest
  • childhood sexual abuse
  • rape during armed conflict
  • sexual harassment
  • stalking
  • indecent or sexualized exposure
  • degrading sexual imagery
  • voyeurism
  • cyber harassment
  • trafficking
  • sexual exploitation

Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

Dealing with a criminal charge is a serious matter that requires a trustworthy legal representation. Whether it is a first-time offence, or you have had previous encounters with the criminal justice system, you need to retain the right legal representation for you or your loved ones. At Brace Law, we accept private retainers and legal aid certificates.

We serve our clients in English, Spanish, Albanian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese. Call us at 905-815-6555 or email admin@bracelaw.ca. We can help! We Offer Consultations & Meetings by Phone & Virtually. Affordable Fees. Choose Brace Law and consider it handled.

Don’t stress

Let’s start a conversation

Don’t stress

Let’s start a conversation