Assault & Other Violent Crimes Charges

The Criminal Code defines Assault as a crime of violence involving the intentional application of force without consent to another person. The crime of assault can also include an attempt or threat to apply force to another person.

The offence of Assault Causing Bodily Harm is one where the victim of the assault has sustained an injury that is more than “mere trifling in nature”. If a weapon is used during an assault the charge of Assault with a Weapon could be laid by the police. The more serious charge of Aggravated Assault is usually laid if the victim is wounded, maimed, disfigured, or his life endangered in any way.

Most assault charges arise in the context of a dispute between people who know each other. In cases of domestic assault the parties are usually married, living common-law or otherwise involved in a relationship. In criminal assault charges where the parties do not know each other there are frequently issues with identification. A skilled defence lawyer knows how to exploit the weaknesses in police identification evidence to the advantage of his client.

If you have been charged with assault or are being investigated by the police in regard to a possible assault charge, you should contact Thomas J. Singleton immediately at (902) 492-7000 or (902) 483-3080 (after hours). Mr. Singleton is experienced in defending persons accused of assault crimes and understands how important it can be for his clients to get out of such situations without a criminal record.

The punishment for assault can range from a period of probation to time in prison. If a weapon was used during the assault or if the victim suffered bodily harm the court could sentence the accused to a term in prison. For simple assault, including many cases of domestic violence, a skilled defence lawyer can sometimes convince the prosecutor to resolve the matter by way of a Peace Bond which results in the charge being dismissed by the court. In other cases it is possible to apply for a discharge which would result in the accused not having a criminal record for the offence.

Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is one of the most troubling charges laid by the police in Canada because it often has the effect of tearing families apart. Once a charge is laid the accused will usually not be permitted to communicate directly or indirectly with the victim nor will he or she be allowed to return to the home if the victim is residing there. Domestic Assault charges can impose incredible difficulties for the family unit especially if children are involved.

Domestic violence goes by many names, including domestic abuse, spousal abuse, and family violence. The forms of domestic violence can include everything from physical aggression to threats and stalking. A domestic violence situation usually ends with the victim or a third party calling the police. The police show up and will usually interview the victim separately from the accused. Given that there is a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence in the Province of Nova Scotia, the police will almost invariably lay a criminal charge against one of the parties or sometimes against both of the parties.

If you are being investigated for a charge of domestic assault you should not give a statement to the police unless you have consulted with an experienced criminal defence lawyer beforehand. If you are arrested for a charge of domestic assault you will usually be released by the police on an undertaking to have no contact with the victim and not to return to the victim’s home which, in many cases, is your home also. While you will be under a lot of pressure to have such conditions changed by the court, you should only make such an application with the assistance of an experienced criminal defence lawyer. An application to vary a release condition will usually give the Crown Attorney an opportunity to place the victim on the witness stand and have her confirm under oath various details of the incident which led to the laying of charges. This may result in making the criminal charge against you more difficult to resolve because of her sworn testimony in court.

The punishment for a charge of domestic assault ranges from a period of probation which is usually accompanied by a condition to undergo counselling for anger management, to a period of time in jail. If the victim has sustained injuries as a result of the assault, or if a weapon was used during the assault, or if a weapon was used during the assault, the court will likely impose a term of imprisonment followed by a period of probation.

When it comes to sentencing in domestic assault cases, an experienced criminal defence lawyer will frequently argue for a conditional discharge for his client so that the client does not end up with a criminal record. A conditional discharge is usually accompanied by a period of probation with conditions such as participating in counselling for anger management or alcohol or drug abuse if that was a factor in the assault.

Experienced defence lawyers realize that a criminal record may be a serious problem for an accused in attempting to obtain or keep a job and support his family.