An assault or an attack of a physical or mental nature can be classified either as a civil misdemeanour or a criminal charge, depending on the nature of the offense. Civil assaults are usually remedied by the payment of a compensation to the victim. On the other hand, criminal assaults lead to protracted litigation and prosecution of the offender.
Under Section 265 of the Canadian Criminal Code, a person commits an assault when he/she touches, threatens, applies force on another person without their consent with an intent to do harm. The two key terms that determine the occurrence and the nature of the assault are intent and consent. If there is a lack of either of these two conditions, criminal charges cannot be pressed.
Here’s a closer look at the process of pressing assault charges:
Consult a Lawyer
Being the target of an assault can be a highly traumatic experience for anyone. This may also affect the ability of the victim to file an inclusive action against the offender. Consulting a personal injury lawyer as soon as the incident occurs helps the victim gain perspective on the situation. An experienced lawyer ensures the charges are filed correctly and the tribunal is easier on the victim.
File a Complaint
The criminal justice system is enforced as soon as a complaint is filed with the authorities. It is advisable for victims to file a complaint about the assault as soon as the incident occurs to make the process of prosecution easier.
The complaint needs to be filed with the local police department of your area. The Police Officer in-charge will then organise your complaint, record your statement and start the investigation of the offence. They will also provide you with a copy of your statement which you can later share with your lawyer and provide amendments if any.
Understand the Nature of the Assault
To make sure the delinquent is indicted for their crime, the charges need to be filed appropriately. Understanding the nature of the charge makes the process of prosecution swifter. Your attorney can follow two courses of action based on the type of the assault – Summary or Indictment. The types of assault also determine the type of penalties under the Criminal Code:
- Assault Simpliciter
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault with a Weapon or Causing Bodily Harm
- Sexual Assault
Your personal injury lawyer can help you determine the nature of the assault and the penalties applicable to it evidently, making the trial easier.
Request Orders for Protection
After a criminal assault is committed, there are different legal options for the victim to consider to deal with the incident. At times, especially in the cases of domestic violence, victims are afraid of pressing charges due to the fear of retribution. Order of Protection provides mental and physical protection to the victims to help them recover from the event. Different options that victims can consider include:
- Negotiating a Peace Bond
- Instating a Restraining Order
Depending on the nature and circumstance of the assault, your personal injury lawyer can help you file for the necessary orders and make the prosecution faster.