Firearm, Weapons, & Other Violent Offences

Violent offences are charges that arise as a result of claims or violence or a threat of violence.

Violent offences that we assist our clients in defending include:

  • Assault
  • Assault with a weapon
  • Assault causing bodily harm
  • Aggravated assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder

Simple Assault:

There are several defences available if you are charged with assault. The charges against you are based on allegations made by the complainant. The Complainant could be someone you know or someone you are unfamiliar with – it is the person who complained to the police.

If you are charged with assault, you should speak to a lawyer immediately. Roulston Urquhart will review your file and analyze what the complainant claims happened. We always negotiate options that will not result in a criminal record and ensure you have the opportunity to tell your side of the story. 

Outcomes include having the charges withdrawn, a peace bond, an absolute or conditional discharge, or preparing a vigorous defence at trial. You can view “Cases” on the Roulston Urquhart website to see how we have successfully resolved similar cases without a criminal record.

The complainant can contact the Crown’s office, Victim Services, or the police to tell them that they want the charges to be dropped. You cannot tell the complainant to do this. If you tell them to drop the charges, you can be charged with a separate criminal charge of obstructing justice. We strongly advise against you doing this.

If the complainant changes their mind and doesn’t want to continue with the charges, it could result in the Crown Prosecutor not being able to proceed with the charge. However, even if they decided that he/she no longer wants to press charges, the Crown can still prosecute the case depending on the circumstances. This is because even when a complainant changes their mind about pressing charges, the Crown can still subpoena the witness to come to the trial date. This means they may be required to testify at your trial, even if they don’t want to. The complainant will also be required by law to answer the Crown and the Court’s questions truthfully, or else they can be criminally charged with perjury.

Sometimes, the complainant is no longer available or refuses to show up for trial. In some cases, the Crown could pursue a conviction even without the complainant’s testimony in court by using the statement(s) that they previously gave to police. In other cases, if the complainant refuses to testify, the Crown may not be able to proceed with your case. This will depend on the circumstances of your case.

You should speak with your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart immediately so we can discuss all the options and available defences in your case.

In most cases, after you are released by police, you will be under conditions that ban you from contacting the complainant, even if you live in the same home (such as your roommate). It is important to remember that you are the one who is under conditions not to contact the complainant – the complainant is NOT under any conditions not to contact you. Even if they contact you, if you reply, you would be breaching your conditions of release and could get a criminal record. 

If the complainant is contacting you, you should do the following:

  • Do not respond to the complainant. They have been told by the police and/or Victim Services not to have contact with you. 
  • Save all communications sent by the complainant. In particular, you should save communications if they are making threats against you, trying to discuss the situation, or are advising they want to drop the charges.
  • Do not lose this communication. Send all proof of communications to your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart, and ensure you save these communications to your iCloud, Google Drive, or another device.

If the complainant is contacting you in any fashion, you should speak with your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart immediately. We deal with these situations all the time and can help you use these communications to the best of your advantage and in defending your case. 

The general rule is that when the parties all consent to the use of force, there is no assault. For example, if you and your friend agreed to meet at the park to fight and begin fighting once you were at the park, this would not be an assault because you both intended to use force against each other. 

Agreeing to fight does not mean that you agree to everything that can happen during the fight. In law, you cannot consent to “non-trivial bodily harm”. In other words, if the fight results in serious injuries, you may still be charged with assault.

Often, the person who calls the police first is the person that the police side with. If the complainant told the police that the fight was NOT consensual, and that it was you who were assaulting them, the police may charge you with assault. 

If you were in a consensual fight, here are some steps you can take:

  • Take photos of your injuries and of the scene where the fight happened.
  • Save any communications, videos, or any statements made by the complainant 
  • Write down everything that happened and any past incidents of violence between you and the complainant.

It is crucial that you consult one of the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart before speaking with the police if you have been charged. We will discuss how to use this information to assist you in your defence.

Self-defence is one of the most common legal defences to assault. However, self-defence can only be argued in particular circumstances, which are provided under the Criminal Code. These include:

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

The Judge will also consider the factual circumstances of your case, including the nature of the force or threat, whether there were other means to respond to the use of force, any relationship or history between yourself and the complainant, whether a weapon was used, the relative size, age, gender and physical capabilities between you and the complainant, and whether the response was proportionate. 

You should speak to one of the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart immediately if you have acted in self-defence. We know that assaults occur in many different scenarios and we will analyze your case thoroughly to ensure your side of the story is heard.

The short answer is yes – spitting in a person’s face can be an assault. 

Assault is defined as the intentional application of force to another person without their consent and can include any attempt to apply force without consent through actions or gestures or threats to apply force. You can be accused of assault even if you did not hurt or even touch the other person. Although spitting on another person may not generally hurt that person, it is a use of force and it may be considered serious due to Hepatitis, Covid or any other transmittable diseases – therefore, if the spitting was intentional and without the other person’s consent, it is considered to be an assault.

The legal consequences depend on a number of factors, including your criminal history, the nature and extent of the charges and your personal circumstances.

The potential outcomes / consequences of an assault charge are:

  • Charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  • A peace bond, where charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  • An absolute/conditional discharge, after a period of probation which results in no criminal record,
  • Probation with a criminal record,
  • Conditional sentence order (also known as house arrest), or
  • A jail sentence for very serious matters.

It is critical to the outcome of your case to hire a criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Crown negotiation and Trial and advocacy. Roulston Urquhart makes it a priority to canvass resolutions that will leave you without a criminal record and allow you to move on with your life.

Assault with a Weapon:

Assault with a weapon is similar to common assault – the crucial difference is the assault happened while you were allegedly carrying, using or threatening to use either a weapon or imitation of a weapon.

A weapon can be anything – it can be a knife, a knife, or even a pencil. It is anything that is used, designed to be used, or intended for use in causing death or injury to any person. 

You can still be charged with assault with a weapon even if the weapon was not the cause of any of the victim’s injuries – simply threatening someone with a weapon can also be considered assault with a weapon. 

Assault with a weapon is a more serious offence than simple assault. You should discuss your options with one of the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart. We do whatever we can to ensure our clients do not get a criminal record as a result of this offence. 

The potential outcomes of an assault with a weapon charge are:

  • Charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  • A peace bond, where charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  • An absolute/conditional discharge, after a period of probation which results in no criminal record,
  • Probation with a criminal record,
  • Conditional sentence order (also known as house arrest), or
  • A jail sentence for very serious matters.

If you already have a criminal record and are charged with assault with a weapon, there may also be other criminal consequences. You need a criminal defence lawyer who is familiar with your case and experienced in trial and sentencing litigation. Roulston Urquhart will answer any questions you have and rigorously advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

Assault Causing Bodily Harm:

Assault causing bodily harm is a more serious offence than common assault. It means that the complainant suffered injuries of a non-trivial nature. The Courts have considered cuts, lacerations, and facial bruising as injuries that qualify as an assault causing bodily harm. 

There are many defences available for someone charged with assault causing bodily harm. It is important to remember that these are only allegations – that doesn’t mean they are true. Often, complainants have hidden motives, such as anger, jealousy, or civil lawsuits.

There are several approaches to defending assault causing bodily harm charges. The main defence is self-defence, meaning that in defending yourself you caused bodily harm to the complainant.  You need knowledgeable legal representation with extensive courtroom experience. Facing these charges may be difficult, but rest assured, you do not have to through this alone.

The potential outcomes of a charge of assault causing bodily harm are:

  • Charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  • A peace bond, where charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  • An absolute/conditional discharge, after a period of probation which results in no criminal record,
  • Probation with a criminal record,
  • Conditional sentence order (also known as house arrest), or
  • A jail sentence for very serious matters.

As assault causing bodily harm is a more serious charge, you will need expert negotiation with the Crown to negotiate a result or strategically conduct a trial that does not result in a criminal record. Your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart will strategize with you to ensure you receive the best outcome possible in your circumstances.

Aggravated 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, and/or his/her 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 to or did cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon. 

If you are found guilty of aggravated assault, there are harsher penalties than with a lesser assault. A conviction will usually result in jail time. This is why you need a criminal defence lawyer who is well-versed in the law of assault to analyze and defend your case. Roulston Urquhart will do whatever we can to minimize the damage and strategize with you to ensure the best outcome.