Assaulting a Peace Officer Offence in Calgary
To be guilty of this offence, it must be shown first that you committed an assault (which is made up of the following elements):
- An application of direct or indirect force on a person
- That is intentional
- Done without the consent of the victim
Then, the Crown must also prove that the victim was a “peace officer”, and that you knew the person was a peace officer.
Peace Officer Definition
The definition of “peace officer” is not limited to uniformed members of the CPS, RCMP, or EPS. Rather, the definition includes the following classes of people who are most commonly the subject of “assaulting a peace officer” charges:
- A police officer, police constable, bailiff or anyone else who is employed to preserve and maintain the public peace
- A traffic sheriff
- A guard in a jail, or any other permanent employee of a jail
- A member of the Canadian Forces
- The pilot of an aircraft
- A mayor, warden, reeve, or justice of the peace
Bail Conditions for Assaulting a Peace Officer Offence
These charges typically come with release conditions that can be burdensome. These offences often take place at night and involve people who are alleged to be drunk or on drugs, so the Crown often asks the judge to impose a curfew on those accused of the crime. For many people, any curfew, no matter how lenient, can have a significant hardship on their ability to work, travel, or live a generally normal life.
Defending Assaulting a Peace Officer Charge
This charge often arises in the context of a very tense and fast-paced situation, when an officer is struck or injured while making an arrest. They can also involve the arrested person’s rights being violated by the use of excessive police force in response.
All the evidence, including witness statements of the police and medical records documenting any injuries needs to be carefully assessed. In these cases, we focus our analysis on the following key questions:
- Was the use of force intentional?
- Was the use of force without the consent of the officer?
- Did the police use excessive force in response?
- Were there breaches of your constitutional rights in the time leading up to, during, or after your arrest for this offence?
Offences against police officers and other groups of people whose job is to maintain law and order, and whose jobs are dangerous, are taken very seriously by the courts.
The Criminal Code requires that when a judge is sentencing someone for assaulting a peace officer, the sentence must emphasize “denunciation” (society’s disapproval of this offence) and “deterrence” (discourage the offender, and other members of society from doing the same thing).
This often translates into the Crown asking for a jail sentence, even for someone who has never been in legal trouble before.
In all cases, we will ensure you are portrayed in the best possible light, ensuring that all your good qualities and future prospects are put before the sentencing judge in a clear, honest, and persuasive manner.
The consequences for assaulting a peace officer can involve a combination of the following: up to 5 years incarceration; up to 3 years of probation; a sample of your DNA deposited in the national DNA Databank; an order forbidding you from owning any weapons for up to ten years.
- What is assault?
- The victim of the assault changed their mind and does not want to press charges. Can they have the charges dropped?
- What are the best defences to an assault charge?
- How can I get my assault charges dropped?