Facing any type of criminal charge can be intimidating, which is why you should always seek out help from a criminal assault lawyer. No one wants a criminal record, and a simple assault with a weapon is all it takes to end up with mid-level charges that can change your life.
With that in mind, if you have been charged with assault charges that include assault with a weapon it is important to know what you’re facing and then find criminal defense lawyers that are capable of effectively defending you. Why?
If you are found guilty you could face the maximum sentence which can derail the rest of your life, affect your career, and potentially ruin your family. With that in mind, it is time to learn more about how an assault with a weapon charge is given and how a criminal defense lawyer can use reasonable doubt to help you evade it.
When Will You Be Charged with Assault with a Weapon?
Assault with a weapon is a serious charge that is much more than a simple assault. Unlike other assault charges, a person can be charged if they simply threaten another person with a weapon. They do not actually have to strike or shoot another person.
The onus is on the Crown prosecutor to prove that the accused used something as a weapon and intended to either assault or threaten the other person. Unfortunately, under the Criminal Code anything can be defined as a weapon and even holding an object can be enough to prove that it was intended to be used as a weapon.
This is why you need a very professional lawyer to help beat the charge. A defence law firm is usually your best option, in particular one that has a great deal of experience with assault charges and violent crimes.
What is an Assault with a Weapon Charge?
Assault with a weapon is a very broad category and is perhaps the only assault charge that is open to a great deal of interpretation since it is one of the few charges where the victim is potentially not harmed.
A person is generally charged with an assault with a weapon charge when they threaten or appear to threaten another person with a weapon.
For example, while someone begging for money with a gun in their possession could be interpreted as assault with a weapon, in most cases the presence of the gun is coincidental. However, if they brandished the gun while asking for money then they may face the maximum punishment for the charge.
More usual circumstances that result in assault with a weapon charges include waving a knife towards a person, striking an individual with an object (gun, knife, rock, phone), or pointing a firearm.
In addition, if you are openly carrying a gun while assaulting another person then you can receive an assault with a weapon charge along with many other serious assault charges.
Is Assault with a Weapon an Indictable Offence?
Assault with a weapon is considered a hybrid offence which means that it can be prosecuted as either an indictable offence or a summary offence based on the judgment of the Crown Prosecutor.
There are several factors that influence whether or not an offence is considered an indictable offence or a summary conviction such as whether or not the offence was directed by a criminal organization, if a firearm was used if the offence was committed while a person was out on bail or parole, or if it occurred in conjunction with other criminal offences.
A summary conviction has a maximum sentence of two years while an indictable offence is punishable up to ten years in jail time. Therefore, it is important when facing criminal charges to have an assault lawyer ready to help navigate the system.
Do I Need a Lawyer if Charged with Assault with a Weapon?
Yes, it is important to immediately hire a criminal defence lawyer so they can start to review your case and build a defence. You also need to establish an attorney-client relationship so that you can reveal sensitive or confidential information that can support your case.
Most criminal lawyers will start by looking at factual evidence to build a case. This is always the best scenario and can sometimes be obtained by looking for surveillance footage that may prove you were not involved in a physical attack or that your identity cannot be proven.
Other potential defences include acting in self defence or defending your property. These types of defences are complicated and neuaused, often involving an analysis of the proportionality of force used, so ensure you have a good criminal defence lawyer at your side.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Good Criminal Defence Lawyer?
If you don’t have a criminal lawyer it is possible that you could be found guilty of the charge. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, assault with a weapon carries a maximum sentence of up to ten years in jail if the prosecutor chooses to make it an indictable offense.
In addition to ten years of jail time, criminal charges can ruin your employment possibilities when you are released from jail. Most likely you will not be able to find a reputable job upon your release and in many cases you may be denied entry into other countries.
Many countries will not allow a person with an assault with a weapon charge to enter their country. While this may not be your immediate concern, it could become one later in your life.
All of this can be avoided by hiring a law firm that is experienced when it comes to assault with a weapon charge. Jaswal & Krueger is a Canadian law firm that represents clients from the BC region. Call us today if you are facing a new assault charge.