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Assault & Uttering Threats

Criminal Assault Lawyers

Our lawyers will defend your rights against any allegation of assault or uttering threats.

An assault is any unwanted physical contact against another person. This may also include threats or attempted contact. There are 3 forms of assault that may result in a criminal charge:

  1. Simple Assault
  2. Assault with a Weapon/Assault causing Bodily Harm,
  3. Aggravated Assault

The type of the assault characterized by the charge is determined by the circumstances of the event and seriousness of the injuries.

If you are convicted of assault, you may be at a significant risk of a jail sentence. At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence, we will build a strong defence on your behalf and vigorously represent your interests to achieve the best possible outcome. In previous negotiations we have received excellent outcomes such as withdrawal of charges or the client being acquitted at trial.

If your assault charge has been labelled sexual in nature, see our Sexual Offences page for more information.


Is the act of spitting on someone considered assault?

Yes, spitting on another person can result in an assault charge. Assault is the intentional application of force to another person without their consent. This may include an attempt to apply force through action or gesture. An accusation of assault can be made even if the other person is not seriously hurt. Therefore, even though the act of spitting may not injure the other party, it is a use of force that carries other risks such as transmittable diseases.

What are my options if I am charged with assault?

If you have been charged with any type of assault, you should speak with a lawyer immediately. At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence, your lawyer will review your file and the claims against you. The allegation will be based on statements provided by the complainant. We will determine the strengths of the case and negotiate resolution options in efforts to avoid a trial. If a resolution is not agreed upon, we will take the matter to trial and continue to act in your best interest. Your lawyer will ensure that you feel prepared and have the opportunity to share with the court your side of the story.

Previous outcomes that our lawyers have achieved for assault offences include the withdrawal of charges, a peace bond with specific conditions, as well as absolute and conditional discharges. The “Cases” portion of our website highlight how our lawyers have successfully resolved similar cases and prevented previous clients from receiving a criminal record.

How can I be charged with assault if I was defending myself?

Self defence is a common legal defence to assault charges. However, self-defence can only be argued in specific circumstances listed within the Canadian Criminal Code:

  1. Force was being used against you, or you had reasonable, grounds to believe that force would be used against you,
  2. You were defending or protecting yourself from the use or threat of force, and
  3. Your response was reasonable in the circumstances.

The Justice will analyze various considerations in your case such as:

  • Nature of the force or threat
  • If there was an alternative response available
  • Relationship or history with the complainant
  • Potential use of a weapon
  • Comparison of your age and physical capabilities to the complainant
  • Proportionality of the response
  • If your action was in response to a threat or force, your behaviour after the risk was eliminated

If you believe that you were acting in self-defence and have been charged with assault, speak with Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence as soon as possible. We know that assaults result from many different scenarios and will evaluate all factors to ensure your side of the story is heard.

Why am I the only one charged with assault if we were both fighting each other?

According to Canadian law, a person cannot consent to “non-trivial bodily harm.” This means that even if both parties agreed to a physical fight, if the other party receives serious injuries you may be charged with assault.

Often, the person who phones the police first will be the victim identified by the police. If the complainant tells the police officer that the fight was not consensual and shows serious injury as a result of your actions, you may be charged with assault.

If you have been involved in a physical fight, these are general guidelines that you may follow:

  1. Take photos of your injuries and the scene of the fight.
  2. Save any communications, videos, or statements made by the complainant.
  3. Write down everything that has occurred and any past incidents of violence between you and the complainant.

It is critical that you consult an experienced lawyer at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence before providing any information to the police. We will discuss your options for moving forward.

I have been charged with assault with a weapon – what does that mean?

Assault with a weapon is similar to common assault . The crucial difference is the assault allegedly happened while you were carrying, using, threatening or imitating the use of a weapon. You may find more information on our Firearms & Weapons page.

I have been charged with assault causing bodily harm – what does that mean?

The criminal court considers assault causing bodily harm as a more serious offence than common assault. Injuries that may be considered bodily harm include cuts, lacerations, and facial bruising.

What is the penalty for assault causing bodily harm?

The potential outcomes resulting from an assault causing bodily harm include:

  1. Charges withdrawn with no criminal record
  2. A peace bond, where charges are withdrawn with no criminal record if the assigned conditions are followed for a specific period of time
  3. An absolute or conditional discharge, after a period of probation which results in no criminal record
  4. Probation with a criminal record
  5. Conditional sentence order (also known as house arrest)
  6. A jail sentence

Assault causing bodily harm is a serious charge. To secure a favourable outcome, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence to negotiate with the Crown Prosecutor and represent your interests in court. Your lawyer will strategize your best defence to avoid a criminal record at all possible.

How is aggravated assault different from simple assault?

Aggravated assault is the most serious type of assault that does not result in death. Simple assault does not require any injury to have occurred. To prove aggravated assault, the complainant must have either been wounded, maimed, disfigured, or their life was endangered as a result of the assault. For example, if the complainant was stabbed or suffered a broken limb, you may be charged with aggravated assault. You could also be charged with aggravated assault if you attempted or did cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon.

What are the potential outcomes for aggravated assault?

If you are convicted of aggravated assault, you will receive a more severe sentence than simple assault. A conviction of this type of offence will often result in jail time. Due to the seriousness of the potential sentence, it is critical to receive legal advice from lawyers with a thorough understanding of the Canadian Criminal Code to analyze your case and develop a defence. At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence, your lawyer will be dedicated to providing you with the best strategy to minimize the damaging consequences.

The complainant is contacting me. What should I do?

Often when you are released from police custody, you will have a strict set of conditions to follow while your matter is before the court. This usually includes a ban on communication with the complainant. Even if you receive a message or call from the complainant, you must not respond if a no contact condition has been put in place. It is important to remember that if you reply, you would breach your release conditions and receive a further charge and possible criminal record.

Included below are general guidelines to follow if a complainant contacts you:

  • Do not respond to the complainant. Police and/or Victim Services would have already informed the complainant to not have contact with you.
  • Save all communications sent by the complainant. This is especially important if these messages include threats against you, attempts to discuss the charges or statements wishing the charges could be dropped.
  • Do not lose this communication. Send all proof of communication to your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence and ensure that you have saved these messages to your iCloud, Google Drive or other device.

Your lawyer will be experienced in navigating these situations and advise how these unprompted messages can be used to your advantage in cross examination and defence of your case. If you have any questions about your assault case, call Roulston Urquhart today for a free consultation to review your options.

Relevant Cases

Our past cases prove the practical and effective results in successfully defending and negotiating criminal charges. We will provide you with a step-by-step plan to defend your charges and ideally resolve before trial. Our criminal defence lawyer’s goal is to protect your criminal record and your freedom.


R v J.Y. [Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench]

Offence: Two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Result: Not Criminally Responsible

The Accused was charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. The Defence argued that the Court should find the Accused not criminally responsible as a result of a mental disorder. Specifically it was argued that he was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the attack that made it impossible to form the requisite intent. In July 2021 Justice Hall found the Accused not criminally responsible and directed that he appear before the Alberta Review Board for further assessment.

R v W.L. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Assault with a Weapon

Result: Mental Health Diversion

Our client was charged with assault by way of intimidating another with a weapon and was potentially up against years of incarceration. Tonii Roulston identified numerous factors that illustrated the vulnerability of our client at the time of the reported incident. Tonii Roulston was successful in negotiating a diversion of counselling as opposed to our client’s case being prosecuted and prevented our client from establishing a criminal record.

R v C.C. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Assault

Charge Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

Our client was charged with committing assault and was potentially up against a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment. Relevant occurrences prior to the offence in question were considered, along with information pertaining to our client’s circumstances at the time of the incident. Tonii Roulston was successful in convincing the Crown to consider all relevant factors in this case. The charge was withdrawn.

R v E.T. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Domestic Assault

Result: Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

The client was charged with assault against his former domestic partner. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered into negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii Roulston successfully advocated for the client’s charges to be withdrawn upon completion of counselling. The client avoided a jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v G.P. [Pincher Creek Provincial Court]

Offence: Careless use of a Firearm, Domestic Assault, Possession of a Weapon for Dangerous Purpose and Multiple Breach Charges of Failing to Appear.

Result: Conditional Discharge

Our client was charged with numerous offences that could have resulted in an extensive serving sentence. In an effort to mitigate the seriousness of the charges, Tonii Roulston evaluated the personal challenges that our client was experiencing and took a firm position that there was an additional and more effective sentencing option that would better suit the interests of our client. Tonii Roulston was successful in negotiating a conditional sentence that prevented our client from being convicted of these charges.

R v D.P. [Airdrie Provincial Court]

Offence: Uttering threats

Result: Charge Withdrawn

Our client was charged with assault by uttering death threats and faced a maximum sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment if the Crown prosecutor pursued the matter by indictment. Tonii Roulston considered all of the relevant factors and assessed the circumstances experienced by our client at the time of the reported incident. By advocating for our client in a manner that illustrated his personal afflictions related to the incident in question, Tonii Roulston successfully convinced the Crown to withdraw the charge.