Aggravated Assault: When Does an Assault Become "Aggravated"?
A person can be charged with aggravated assault if their actions cause another person to be injured, disfigured, or maimed, or if they place someone's life in danger.
- A wound occurs when the skin is broken.
- Maiming refers to injuring someone to such an extent that they become unable or less able to defend themselves.
- Disfigurement involves causing harm that goes beyond temporary physical impairment, affecting a person's appearance or body structure.
- Endangering someone's life involves posing a real threat to their safety, even if no physical harm is inflicted yet.
What Prosecutors Must Demonstrate in an Aggravated Assault Case
The Crown prosecutor must first establish the time and location of the offence and the identity of the perpetrator. Then, the prosecutor must prove that:
- The accused intentionally applied force to the victim and foresaw that bodily harm could result;
- The victim suffered injuries that were more than trivial or temporary; and
- The injuries caused the victim to be wounded, maimed, disfigured, or placed their life in danger.
Unlike other criminal offences, the Crown prosecutor does not need to prove that the accused intended to maim, wound, or disfigure the victim. The required intent is simply the objective foresight of bodily harm.
Defending Against an Aggravated Assault Charge
The most common defence against a charge of aggravated assault is self-defence. To establish self-defence, the accused must demonstrate that they believed they were being assaulted and that their actions were reasonable given the circumstances.
Possible Penalties of an Aggravated Assault Conviction
A conviction for aggravated assault is an indictable offence that carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years' imprisonment. If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to seek the guidance of a criminal defence lawyer who can assist you with the legal process and help you mount an effective defence.