Assault with a Weapon

Assault with a weapon is a more serious charge than “simple assault”, but is a very broadly defined type of offence. A person can be charged with assault with a weapon even if they did not actually strike the other person. Depending on the context in which it is used, any item can be considered a “weapon”.

Have you or a loved one recently been charged with Assault with a Weapon? If so, you may be confronting a life-changing situation. We are here to help.

What is Assault with a Weapon?

Assault with a Weapon

Assault is the application of force or the threat of force against another individual without their consent and without legal justification or excuse.

Assault with a Weapon is a very broad criminal category. "Begging" for money while carrying a weapon, for example, is considered an assault. The crime of Assault with a Weapon is the application or threatened application of force against another person where a weapon is used as a tool in respect of the force.

Waving a knife in the direction of a person, pointing a firearm, or striking another individual with an object can all constitute an Assault with a Weapon. Simply having a weapon openly on your person while taking part in an assault can result in more severe charges levied against you. Even the threat of using a weapon is an offence potentially punishable by imprisonment.

What is a "Weapon"?

Technically speaking, anything can be a weapon. Guns, knives, or clubs are the most obvious examples when talking about this type of charge, but there are precedents for persons being charged with this offence for threatening or striking other persons with things like snowballs, frozen turkeys, loaves of bread, or even water.  

What if someone Consents?

Public policy would mandate that, in the vast majority of circumstances, the use of weapons in a consensual situation could not be justified even where the allegedly assaulted party consented. "Consent," a possible defence to an Assault simpliciter charge, will therefore rarely, if ever, succeed in respect of an allegation of Assault with a Weapon. However, some activities, like certain sporting events, may be deemed an exception to this rule, as might very minor contact with less serious "weapons."  

What is the Penalty for Assault with a Weapon?

This offence is considered a very serious crime and therefore consequences are severe. Under section 267 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the maximum sentence for assault with a weapon is ten years in prison. Should the Crown proceed by way of summary conviction, the maximum sentence would be 18 months imprisonment.

If you are found guilty of Assault with a Weapon, the impact can seriously affect your employment prospects, travelling plans and future.

Caramanna, Friedberg LLP has years of experience successfully representing individuals accused of Assault with a Weapon. Our firm has a track record of helping hundreds of clients to dramatically reduce the penalties they face, or eliminate charges completely.  

If you or someone you care about has been charged with this offence, we are here to assist you 24/7. Call us today for help at (416) 924-5969.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can face serious penalties if convicted of assault with a weapon. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the maximum punishment you can receive is 10 years imprisonment. In sentencing an accused, the court will also look at the circumstances of the offence and the relationship between the accused and the complainant. If, for example, the assault occurred in the context of a domestic relationship, this will be viewed as an aggravating factor on sentencing.

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You can apply to vary any condition of your release order (bail) with the consent of the Crown Attorney. You will need approval of the variation to be signed off by a judge or Justice of the Peace, and your original bail conditions remain in effect until you receive the signed and approved form.  There must be a justified reason for wanting to change a condition of your release order. If the court feels as though they need more information, the court may decide to hold a hearing.

If the Crown refuses to agree to a bail variation request, you can apply for a bail review by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice.

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  • Factual Innocence:If the Crown is unable to prove the essential elements of the particular offence beyond a reasonable doubt, they will have failed to discharge their burden, and the accused will be acquitted.
  • Accused™s Belief in Consent: The Crown must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant did not consent to the assault. A defence to an assault charge may be that the assault was a consensual fight (i.e. a fight between players during a hockey game or a consensual bar fight). However, a person cannot consent to an assault where a party intended to cause bodily harm. It will be difficult to raise a consent defence where a weapon is alleged to have been used.
  • Self-Defence: Self-defence is commonly invoked in assault cases. One™s actions may be justified in certain circumstances, such as where one has to protect yourself or someone else. In order to successfully argue self-defence, one must be able to demonstrate that:
    • there were reasonable grounds believe that he or others were at risk of acts of force or the threat of force;
    • the accused™s actions were committed for the purpose of defending or protecting themselves or someone else; and
    • the act committed was reasonable in the circumstances.
  • Defence of Property: A person will not be guilty of an offence if they can demonstrate:
    • They have reasonable grounds to believe they are in peaceable possession of property or are acting under the authority of a person who has reasonable grounds to believe they have such possession;
    • They believe, on reasonable grounds, that someone has or is about to enter the property without authority to do so, is taking/about to take property, or has/is about to damage or destroy the property;
    • The accused™s actions were for the purpose of preventing that person from entering/taking/damaging/destroying the property; and
    • The act committed was reasonable in the circumstances.
  • Violation of Charter Rights: Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, individuals are afforded specific rights, including:
    • the right against unreasonable search and seizure;
    • the right to not be arbitrarily detained;
    • the right to be informed promptly of the reasons for arrest;
    • the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay; and
    • the right to be tried within a reasonable time.

A successful Charter challenge may also result in a stay of proceedings, or evidence from your case being excluded.

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If the Crown proceeds by summary conviction: the maximum punishment is a fine of not more than $5000 or a term of imprisonment of not more than two years less a day, or both.

If the Crown proceeds by indictment: the maximum punishment is ten years imprisonment.

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Consent is a potential defence in an assault case. There must be an absence of consent in order for the assault to be criminal. However, the ability to consent to an assault is lost once the accused intends to cause serious bodily harm.

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Assault with a weapon is a criminal offence, where a person carries, uses, or threatens to use either a weapon or an item which imitates a weapon. View More


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