Assault Lawyer Edmonton
Assault is one of the most common crimes in Edmonton. In 2015, the Edmonton Police Service reported 1,356 incidents of Assault in our city alone. In 2015 1,478 people were found guilty of common assault in Alberta, and hundreds of those cases ended with incarceration.
In order to be convicted of Assault, you do not have to physically injure another person. All that is needed for you to be found guilty of assault is proof that you intentionally applied some amount of unwanted force to another person, and that the other person did not consent to the application of force. As such, you can be convicted of Assault for even minor displays of violence like pushing or slapping. These fairly minor instances of violence are punishable under section 266 of the Criminal Code, and are referred to as common assault.
In addition to common assault, you can also be charged with a more serious form of assault like aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm. Regardless of the specific type of Assault, it is important to know that once a complainant makes an allegation of assault to the police, the decision to move forward with the prosecution is no longer in the complainant’s hands. Regardless of whether they wish to press charges after making the initial complaint, the Crown prosecutor will ultimately be the one to decide whether they will continue on with the charges. Further, even if the complainant no longer wishes to give testimony in court, they can be subpoenaed by the Crown and compelled by law to come and testify against you in trial.
The Investigation of Assault in Edmonton
An investigation of an allegation of Assault in Edmonton typically begins when the victim or another other witness contacts the Edmonton Police Service and reports the alleged incident. After obtaining a statement from the complainant and other witnesses, the police will typically track you down and place you under arrest. In minor instances of assault, you will likely be released shortly after your arrest with a recognizance or promise to appear before the court.
In more serious cases, you will likely be kept in custody and will require a formal bail hearing in order to secure your release. If you are not immediately released, you can expect that you will receive a bail hearing within the first 24 hours of being held in custody. While you are waiting, you will likely be held in the Arrest Processing Unit in the basement of the Police Headquarters at 962-103A Avenue, Edmonton AB, T5H 0H7. Typically, for your first bail hearing the police will bring you from the arrest processing unit at the police station to the Edmonton bail hearing office, which can be found on the Main Floor, SW Exterior entry of the Brownlee Building at 10365 97 St NW Here, you will appear over CCTV or telephone before a Justice of the Peace who will determine whether you will continue to be detained or released. Bail hearings at the Edmonton bail hearing office occur 24 hours a day, but if you are unsuccessful at securing your release, you will typically have to wait until normal business hours when you can make an appearance before a judge in court for another hearing. If you are able to successfully argue for your release either at the bail hearing office or in court, you or someone you know will have to attend the Edmonton Courthouse or the Edmonton Remand Centre to post your bail before you can be released.
If someone you care about is in custody for Assault, or if you think you might be brought into custody for this offence, contact one of our criminal defence lawyers immediately. Once you have retained us, we will immediately assist you with the bail process, and begin working to resolve your matter in the most efficient and favourable manner possible.
Bail Conditions for Assault in Edmonton
After you have been released from custody, you will be required to comply with a set of bail conditions up until your trial or until you plead guilty to the charges. Bail conditions for assault will place a number of restrictions on your liberty by precluding you from contacting or going near the complainant, by prohibiting you from possessing any weapons, and by requiring you to attend court as directed.
While these conditions can often be very onerous, you absolutely must comply with them. A failure to do so will result in a new criminal charge for failing to comply with an undertaking or recognizance. If the conditions adversely impact your life in a serious and impractical way, (say by precluding you from attending your place of work), contact us immediately so that we can try to vary the conditions of your bail. Until you have retained one of our criminal defence lawyers to act on your behalf, you absolutely must attend all court appearances as directed.
Shortly following your release you will typically be directed to attend a docket courtroom in the Edmonton Courthouse for the purpose of entering a plea to your charges. Assault charges in Edmonton are typically sent to courtroom 265 for all docket appearances like entering pleas, making adjournments, or setting dates for trials, dispositions, or other hearings. At your first appearance, your matter will be set for the plea, but you are not obliged to decide whether you will plead guilty or not guilty until you have had a chance to consult with legal counsel. As such, at your first appearance, you are well within your rights to request a two to three week adjournment from the judge so that you can have more time to hire a criminal defence lawyer. Once you have requested your adjournment, contact one of our criminal defence lawyers immediately so that we can begin acting on your behalf and can begin working to quickly resolve your case.
Defending Assault Charges in Edmonton
While there are a variety of ways to defend an assault charge at trial, at Oykhman Criminal Defence we make it a priority to resolve Assault charges quickly and outside of court. One of the most effective ways that we can ensure you are not convicted of Assault is to resolve your matter with a peace bond. A peace bond is essentially a promise to the court that you will comply with a specified set of conditions for a year. Usually, these conditions include things like not contacting or attending the complainant’s residence or place of work, attending court and probation as required, and not being in possession of weapons for the duration of the order.
It is important to know that a peace bond is not a finding or admission of guilt and that it will not result in a criminal record. To find out more about peace bonds, see our FAQ on peace bonds. In addition to peace bonds, there are a number of other out of court resolutions that may be available depending on your personal circumstances. These may include pre-trial diversion through Alternative Measures or Mental Health Diversion or making an application for a Conditional or Absolute Discharge.
Should we ultimately need to proceed to trial, the lawyers at Oykhman Criminal Defence have years of experience defending Assault charges at trial. We will be able to use our well-developed advocacy skills to effectively undermine the Crown’s evidence, and to seek the exclusion of incriminating evidence, and to advance exculpatory evidence at trial. To find out more about what defences or resolutions might be available to you, contact one of the criminal defence lawyers at our Edmonton office as soon as possible.