When you are charged with a crime, no matter the severity or complexity, it is bound to be a scary and stressful time in your life. There is the charge itself, and whether or not it is warranted then there are all the important legal steps that you will need to take. One bad decision or failure to perform a step in order can have you paying the price. So what are the key steps you need to take here in Ontario if you have been charged with assault? Keep in mind the very outcome of your charge will largely depend on what your next steps are.
Let’s take a closer look.
Hire a Lawyer Immediately
The very first step you want to take is to hire a lawyer immediately. You want to be sure that you choose one that has plenty of experience with assault charges here in Ontario, and therefore knows the law well. Because the charge can vary so greatly and conviction requires the Crown Prosecutor to convince the court beyond a reasonable doubt, an experienced assault lawyer can completely alter the outcome had you gone about things on your own.
Once you do hire your lawyer, they will be able to advise you on your next steps and take control of the case from there. In other words, it takes a lot of responsibility and stress off your own plate.
Understand the Different Types of Assault Charges
It’s also wise to educate yourself more on your particular charge, as here in Canada there are different types of assault charges. Each one results in a different outcome, so there differences really matter.
Typically the most common type of assault charge in Canada is simple assault. This can be explained as a simple and basic physical altercation. An excellent example is a bar fight which has arisen from a misunderstanding of sorts. Domestic disputes also tend to fall into this category.
The next type of charge is assault causing bodily harm, which is a big step up from simple assault. In this type of charge physical harm has been done to someone else. The odds of you doing jail time if found guilty of this charge are much higher.
Next it moves into assault with a weapon, which again is another step up. This one can also be combined with other types of assault. A weapon can mean a gun, baseball bat, a knife, or any other object that is meant to do bodily harm.
Aggravated assault is the next in the line-up when it comes to severity. This refers to an assault which results in very serious injuries to the person. This could mean endangerment of life, disfigurement, maiming, and wounding. If found guilty of this charge, you can face up to 14 years in prison.
Finally there is sexual assault. This comprises of all kinds of different offences, and basically comes down to sexual activity without that has occurred without consent.
Follow Your Lawyer’s Advice
The final tip is to make sure you are following your lawyer’s advice throughout your process and prepare for your day in court – if it goes to trial. You need to stay level-headed, positive, calm, and cool in order to handle what you will be facing.
Having an assault charge filed against you is bound to be taxing not just on you but your family and friends, so making sure you have an experienced lawyer to guide you through, and educating yourself on what your charge means can make a massive difference.