Ask Us

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What qualifies as a weapon in an assault case?

In the eyes of Canadian courts, many objects can be viewed as a weapon. These include guns, knives, baseball bats, sticks, hammers, rocks, brass knuckles, and tools.

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What is the punishment in Canada for assault with a weapon?

Whether you are carrying it or using it to threaten someone, you can be sentenced to a term up to 10 years. First-time offenders may get some leeway when being sentenced while repeat offenders may get a harsher punishment.

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What is assault?

Assault is the forcible touching or threat to touch someone without their consent and can include a broad range of varying situations. Charges for assault can be laid after disputes with a neighbour, bar fights, domestic situations, and practically any instance where force is used against someone. Charges for assault in Canada can encompass simple assault, aggravated assault and assault that causes bodily harm.

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What is the best defence against a domestic assault charge in Canada?

The best defence is to hire a domestic assault lawyer and to maintain clear records of the facts surrounding the alleged assault. Witnesses typically have a major impact on the outcome of the charge, especially when trying to prove a detail that may be relevant to the case.

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Can domestic assault charges be dropped if the other party doesn’t show up in court?

No. The Crown Attorney will subpoena the other party and may issue an arrest warrant if they refuse to come to court. Also, any previous statements made on record will be used during the trial too.

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What constitutes criminal harassment?

For an individual to be arrested and convicted of criminal harassment, the Crown prosecutor needs to prove certain factors beyond a reasonable doubt. These are:

  • That the victim felt harassed.
  • That the victim’s fear was reasonable within the circumstance or situation.
  • That the defendant was fully aware that their behaviour or conduct would make the victim feel harassed. Alternatively, they were willfully blind and/or reckless as to whether their conduct would make the complainant feel harassed.
  • That they took part in prohibited conduct outlined in the Criminal Code. This includes following the victim and trying to or actually communicating with them or someone that knows them directly or indirectly.
  • That they engaged in behaviour that made the complainant or their family members feel threatened.
  • That their behaviour made the complainant fear for their safety and well-being along with the safety of those they know and/or are related to.
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How are individuals penalized for criminal harassment in Canada?

If you are found guilty of criminal harassment, you may be sentenced up to 10 years. However, if your case proceeds by way of summary conviction, you may face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Along with time in jail, the defendant may have to follow restrictive ancillary orders. For instance, if you are given a weapons and firearms prohibition, you won’t be able to own or possess firearms or weapons for as long as the order is valid. You will also have to forfeit any weapons or firearms you own or have in your possession.

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What behaviours comprise stalking?

Stalking typically includes behaviours used to frighten and control the individual being stalked. It may involve:

  • Stealing mail or frequently sending letters.
  • Repeatedly calling the victim’s home, workplace, or cell phone and remaining silent or hanging up.
  • Sending unwanted presents such as chocolates or flowers.
  • Repeatedly sending threatening or obscene text messages or e-mails.
  • Live chat harassment, sending electronic viruses, leaving improper messages on guest books or message boards, electronic identity theft and sending unsolicited e-mails.
  • Tracking or following the victim.
  • Showing up uninvited to the victim’s home or workplace.
  • Assault (emotional, physical, sexual).
  • Holding the person hostage or kidnapping them.
  • Threatening to harm the victim or their pets, family, friends, et cetera.
  • Harming the victim’s pets.
  • Harassing the victim’s family, friends, colleagues or employer.
  • Vandalizing the victim’s home and/or car.
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What is the definition of a threat?

Under section 264.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, an individual can be charged with uttering a threat if they convey, utter or cause the victim to receive a threat:

  • To poison, injure or kill an animal that belongs to the accuser.
  • To destroy, damage or burn personal or real property. (Real property includes land and any buildings on that land.)
  • To cause bodily harm or death to someone.


What are the consequences of a conviction for uttering a threat?

In Canada, the consequence of being convicted for uttering a threat include:

  • Probation, fines and possible imprisonment.
  • Loss of a job.
  • Being deemed ineligible for various jobs, opportunities, and
  • Issues with citizenship applications, permanent residence or immigration.
  • Having to live with a permanent criminal record and social stigma.
  • Facing the risk of the conviction being reported to the public through the media.
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What are the penalties for uttering threats?

If proceeding by indictment, the penalty for uttering threats could be imprisonment for up to five years. If the threat is to an individual’s animal or personal property, the penalty can be imprisonment for up to two years.

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How can I defend myself when facing a charge of uttering threats?

When facing charges for uttering threats, don’t enter a guilty plea or give up. There are various valid defences you can use, depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Most of these focus on the person who has allegedly made the threats, their seriousness, and the context of the threats. Your best bet is to obtain legal counsel.

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What is considered possession in terms of illegal drugs?

Under Canadian law, the Crown prosecutor needs to prove certain factors before the accused can be found guilty of drug possession. First, they need to prove you were in physical possession of the drug, meaning it was on your body or somewhere you can control or access, such as your car or home. Then, the prosecutor must also prove that you were fully aware that the drug was illegal.

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What are the penalties for drug possession?

The Crown prosecutor can choose to proceed either by indictment or summary conviction. This will affect the penalties imposed on the accused if found guilty.

For summary convictions in drug possession cases, the maximum penalty is 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offence. For subsequent offences, the maximum penalty is one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

However, if the accused is found in possession of a small amount of soft drugs such as hashish, ‘magic’ mushrooms or ecstasy (MDMA), they will most likely face penalties ranging between $250 and $500, plus probation. When carrying large amounts, they may face a maximum of 5 years in prison.

When found in possession of more serious drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, opium, and morphine, the Crown will likely ask for a jail sentence, even for a first offence. If convicted by indictment, the individual may face up to 7 years in prison.

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What are the current rules for marijuana in Canada?

Marijuana was decriminalized for possession on October 17, 2018. The rules related to the drug are now set out in the Cannabis Act, under which it is legal for those 19 and older to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public.

The Act forbids distribution of marijuana on a “large scale,” and Section 9(1) of the Act makes it an offence for someone to distribute more than 30 grams of cannabis to another individual. Under the act, individuals can cultivate up to four marijuana plants in their homes. However, it’s still illegal to export and import cannabis.

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What should I do if I’m being arrested?

According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, every Canadian has certain rights. They include the right to consult with a lawyer or obtain legal advice from a duty counsel. You also have the right to remain silent, although you must provide your full name, date of birth and residential address.

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Is it necessary to hire a lawyer if I have been charged with possession of a small amount of drugs?

If you are being charged with a drug offence, you will be prosecuted by the Crown. If you are found guilty, it will most likely result in you getting a permanent criminal record. However, by hiring a criminal defence lawyer, you have a much better chance of avoiding a permanent criminal record and getting a minimal sentence.

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What is the difference between over 80 and impaired driving?

A person can be charged with ‘over 80’ if the results of a blood test or breathalyzer indicate that they consumed more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood and got behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter if the person appears impaired or not.
Impaired driving doesn’t require the driver to take a breath or blood test. The evidence of impairment is based on other factors. These include whether alcohol or drugs are found in the car and the driver’s inability to successfully pass the sobriety test.

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When can someone be charged with driving ‘over 80’?

When the driver of a motor vehicle is found to be driving with more than 80 mg of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood, they can be charged with driving ‘over 80’. This charge is typically laid when the driver provides two breath samples (taken 15 minutes apart) and the lower exceeds the legal limit of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

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What are the consequences of an Over 80 charge?

If an individual is found guilty of driving over 80, the severity of their punishment will depend on whether they are a first-time offender.

While a first-time offence doesn’t come with jail time, your punishment will comprise one or all of the following:

  • Attending a mandatory alcohol education and treatment program.
  • A $1,000 fine, not including towing charges or other traffic-related fines.
  • Having an ignition interlock device placed in your car for at least a year.
  • A suspended driver’s license for at least a year.

For a second offence, these are the additional punishments you should be prepared to face:

  • Attending a mandatory alcohol treatment and education program again.
  • A fine determined by the judge.
  • Having an ignition interlock device in your car for a minimum of three years.
  • Having your driver’s license suspended for at least three years.
  • Serving time in prison for a minimum of 30 days.

If there are additional offences, the offender may face more severe penalties, including:

  • Enrolment in mandatory alcohol treatment and education programs.
  • A lifelong requirement to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicles.
  • Additional fines determined by the judge.
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license anywhere between 10 years to life.
  • Serving a minimum of 120 days in prison.