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How to beat an assault charge in Canada?

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COMMON TYPES OF CHARGES

Criminal Matters

Assault

Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code for assault

Assault is the intentional application of force, no matter how slight, on an individual without his or her consent. An assault can also include words, acts or deeds that are not an application of force but might reasonably lead someone to fear that a use of force is coming.

Victims of Assault

Assault can range from mere touching to violent punching. Assault may consist of punching, kicking, pushing someone out of your way, spitting at someone and many other examples. Assault can be committed by an indirect force, threatening or attempting to use force. It is important to identify available defenses to assault charges and protect your rights and freedom.

Many assault charges result from the bar fights and acting while under influence of alcohol and/or drugs. If an assault does not involve serious injuries or use of a weapon, the crown will usually treat it as a summary offence. Otherwise, it may be treated as a more serious crime that normally involves a stricter sentence. Do not wait. Let professionals defend your assault charges, protect your freedom, and your record.

If you have been charged with assault it is important to know how to deal with it. Assault charges are exceptionally serious; therefore, it is important to understand your options.

Retaining our firm of lawyers and paralegals to assist with your assault charges can save unnecessary court appearances and expedite resolution of the allegation. Contact our experienced defense team for a free assault consultation today.

Summary offence of assault can carry devastating consequences including:

  • Up to two-year imprisonment
  • Criminal Record
  • Probation Orders
  • Substantial fines

The possibility of a successful resolution of assault crimes is often closely affected by the severity of injuries sustained by the victim. Our firm will approach assault charges seriously and can help you protect your record, minimizing the impact of criminal prosecution.

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THEFT UNDER $5000

Section 334(b) of the Criminal Code (CC)

Fighting a Theft Charge

If you are charged with theft under $5,000 or fraud under $5,000, you should retain the services of a legal professional to assist you.

Theft under $5000 means:

Theft under 5000 means that the property involved in the charge had a value under five thousand ($5000.00) dollars, and the accused took the property without consent.

Although “Theft Under” is considered a minor charge, Theft Under 5000 dollars is still a criminal offence that upon conviction will result in a criminal record.

Criminal records affect you when applying for jobs, traveling or performing criminal record check. If you have an existing criminal lawyer, then the penalty for any subsequent offence is increased due to your record.

Often, theft charges are laid by police and store security as a result of a minor theft or “Shoplifting”. Many times, the theft or shoplifting charge will be the result of an accident, where the accused mistakenly left the business without paying for the item. If it is a case where you inadvertently left the store without paying, a court will likely still consider this action a theft – unless you seek appropriate legal representation to prove otherwise.

Penalties for a conviction of theft under 5000:

  • Up to two years imprisonment.

Additional penalties may include:

  • A possible criminal record
  • An absolute or conditional discharge
  • A peace bond (a court order to stay away from the alleged victim)
  • A possible fine

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SIMPLE POSESSION

Section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)

Possession of drugs is a considered a criminal offence in Canada contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Although many people are under the impression that marijuana possession has been decriminalized in Canada, it is not and any possession is considered a criminal offence if you have more than 28 grams, which is considered an ounce.

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty of this charge you are considered a criminal and will receive a criminal record for life.

Many times, if this is a first offence the Crown Attorney will consider dropping or withdrawing the charge, or giving the accused “Diversion”.

Diversion is where the charges are dropped in exchange for some course of action by the accused. For Diversion, the Crown Attorney may require the accused to pay a fine, make a charitable donation or perform some sort of community service.

It is very important that individuals charged with such offences seek legal representation and guidance so that the best possible resolution to the charge be obtained.

Absolute discharges or conditional discharges may leave a record that can create issues for you in the future.

Penalties upon conviction:

  • Up to 7 years under an indictable charge.
  • Up to 6 months under a summary charge.
  • A monetary fine of up to $1,000 and up to $2000.00 for each subsequent offence.
  • A peace bond
  • A criminal record for life.

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DANGEROUS DRIVING

Section 249 of the Criminal Code (CC)

The Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence to drive or operate a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public. To determine if the driving is dangerous, the section states that the court must consider all of the circumstances of the actions of the accused, such as:

the nature, conditions and the use of the place the amount of traffic that is or might be expected to be present was there a danger to the public, who either were present or, who might have been present, including for example a passenger in the car. the court also has to consider the mental element of the charge, did the driver plan on doing the act. There must be some proof of an intention to operate a motor vehicle in a way which would be a departure from the standard care that a normal driver would be expected to act.

The offence of Dangerous Driving has to be committed involving a motor vehicle as described in the Criminal Code, which is any vehicle that is pushed, pulled or driven by an engine of any sort.

Penalties for Dangerous Driving

  • A criminal record for life
  • An automatic one-year driver’s licence suspension
  • The possibility of jail
  • Fine
  • Probation
  • At least a 100% jump in your insurance rates for at least five (5) years

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FRAUD

Section 380(1) of the Criminal Code (CC)

Pursuant to this section, everyone who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence, defrauds the public or any person, of any property, money or valuable security or any service will be found guilty of fraud.

Penalties for conviction of fraud:

  • If the value of the subject-matter (amount defrauded) does not exceed $5000.00 then the maximum prison sentence is (2) two years.
  • If the value exceeds $5000.00, the maximum prison sentence is fourteen (14) years.
  • Restitution
  • Probation
  • A criminal record for life
  • Depending on the circumstances and the victims that have been defrauded, aggressive and excessive penalties may apply.

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Uttering Threats

Section 264.1(1) of the Criminal Code (CC)

  • Pursuant to this section, everyone commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat to cause death or bodily harm to any person; to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of that person.

Penalties upon conviction:

  • Up to 5 years for threatening cause harm or death to another person.
  • Up to 2 years for threatening to cause harm to property, animals or birds.
  • A monetary fine of up to $1,000
  • A peace bond
  • An absolute or conditional discharge
  • Mandatory enrollment in government-assisted treatment programs
  • A mental health diversion program
  • A criminal record for life.

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MISCHIEF

Section 430(4) of the Criminal Code (CC)

In Canada, Mischief under $5000 can be classified as either a summary or indictable offence. Summary offences are less serious than indictable offences. Indictable offences carry the potential of longer prison sentences and are more likely to effect the immigration process (or travel to the US).

Penalties for Mischief Charges:

Mischief by Indictable

If the Crown proceeds to elect by way of indictment, the maximum potential prison sentence is two years unless the property damaged or destroyed is deemed to be of a cultural/religious nature or computer data. In this case, the offender could also be sentenced to period of probation for a maximum of three years upon conviction.

In mischief cases relating to the destruction of property that is deemed to be cultural, religious, or data (computer), the Crown may seek a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison upon conviction. This longer sentence is to deter crimes of hate and computer data destruction mischief cases where the value of damage lost can be tremendous or irreplaceable.

Mischief by Summary Conviction

If the Crown elects to proceed summarily, the accused faces a maximum possible jail term of six months. The Crown also has six months to charge the accused after the offence is alleged to have occurred. In most cases of mischief under $5000, the Crown will elect to proceed summarily. It is important to note that jail terms are rare for first time offenders in mischief under $5000 cases. The more realistic risk for an accused is receiving a criminal record and probationary sentence.

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REFUSING A BREATH SAMPLE

Section 254(5) of the Criminal Code (CC) – “Failure or Refusal to Comply with Demand”

  • In Canada, any person who refuses to comply with a drunk driving investigation by refusing lawful demands, such as completing a breath sample or performing field sobriety test, can be found guilty of this charge.

Immediate penalties for refusing a breath sample include:

  • 90-day immediate roadside licence suspension
  • a $275 licence reinstatement fee
  • An immediate vehicle impoundment for 7 days
  • Depending on the circumstances, an ignition interlock condition will be placed on your licence for a minimum 6 months

Additional penalties if convicted:

  • A criminal record
  • Possible prison sentence
  • Minimum 1-year licence suspension for a first offence
  • Minimum three-year licence suspension for a second offence within 10 years
  • Possible lifetime licence suspension for a third or subsequent offence in 10 years (which may be reduced if certain criteria are met)
  • Mandatory enrolment in educational program (usually Back on Track) http://www.remedial.net/
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (for one, three or six years)

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IMPAIRED DRIVING

Operation while impaired

Section 320.14(1) of the Criminal Code (CC)

  • Pursuant to this section, everyone commits a criminal offence who operates a conveyance while that person’s ability to operate is impaired to any degree by an alcohol or drug or by a combination of an alcohol and a drug; or who exceeds the prescribed blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

A conviction for impaired driving:

In Canada, if your BAC level is over 0.08, or you appear to be impaired, you will face a criminal charge for impaired driving. Your license will be suspended automatically for 90 days and your vehicle will be impounded for a period 7 days.

Drug impaired driving:

Drugs can also impair your ability to drive. This is true for both illegal drugs and prescription or over-the-counter medication.

Immediate Penalties for Impaired driving include:

  • 90-day immediate roadside licence suspension
  • a $275 licence reinstatement fee
  • An immediate vehicle impoundment for 7 days
  • Depending on the circumstances, an ignition interlock condition will be placed on your licence for a minimum 6 months

IF YOU ARE CONVICTED, you will also face :

Penalties for impaired driving are quite severe and range depending on the circumstances. Under the Criminal Code, a person convicted of impaired driving may face the:

  • For indictable charges, up to ten (10) years in prison and a minimum punishment of a $1000.00 fine for the first offence, 30-days in prison for a second offence, and 120-days in prison for each subsequent offence.
  • For summary charges, up to two (2) years in prison and a minimum punishment of a $1000.00 fine for the first offence, 30-days in prison for a second offence, and 120-days in prison for each subsequent offence

Additional penalties if convicted:

  • A criminal record
  • Minimum 1-year licence suspension for a first offence
  • Minimum three-year licence suspension for a second offence within 10 years
  • Possible lifetime licence suspension for a third or subsequent offence in 10 years (which may be reduced if certain criteria are met)
  • Mandatory enrollment in educational program (usually Back on Track) http://www.remedial.net/
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (for one, three or six years)

Tips to avoid impaired driving:

There are simple steps you can take to avoid driving while you are impaired by drugs or alcohol:

  • Make sure you have a plan to get home safely
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any side effects related to driving when using prescription medication
  • Read the information on the package of any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, including allergy and cold remedies
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how a prescription drug could affect you- drugs and alcohol together can affect your driving even more than either one alone
  • Remember, fatigue and stress will also affect your ability to drive safely

Recently, the Ontario government has increased the penalties for the following offences:

  • impaired driving
  • violating the alcohol and drug zero tolerance requirement for young (21 and under), novice and commercial drivers

It is important to note that if you are charged for the second time for an impaired driving offence, the consequences will be more severe. All penalties will be multiplied, and you will be required to attend a mandatory education or treatment program.

If you need more information, please book your consultation.

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CRIMINAL HARASSMENT

Section 264(1) of the Criminal Code (CC)

  • Pursuant to this section, no person shall, without lawful authority, shall recklessly harass another person. This includes repeatedly following, communicating, watching, or engaging in threatening conduct with any person or their family.

Criminal harassment, which includes “stalking,” is a crime:

While many crimes are defined by conduct that results in a noticeably clear physical outcome (for example, murder), the offence of criminal harassment prohibits deliberate conduct that is psychologically harmful to others. Criminal harassment often consists of repeated conduct that is carried out over a period of time, and that causes its targets to reasonably fear for their safety but does not necessarily result in physical injury. It may be a precursor to subsequent violent and/or lethal acts.

Penalties for Criminal Harassment

If found convicted of Criminal Harassment, you could face:

  • An indictable sentence of up to ten (10) years
  • A summary sentence of up to two (2) years.

Additional penalties may include:

  • A possible criminal record
  • An absolute or conditional discharge
  • A peace bond (a court order to stay away from the alleged victim)
  • A possible fine

Many times, criminal harassment charges are accompanied by “failure to comply” charges which are usually a breach of a court order or a breach of probation. If you have been charged with “a breach” or “failure to comply”, contact us immediately. These types of charges are usually more serious in nature and often require sound legal advice.

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