Assault with a weapon is a very serious crime in Canada. This charge can lead to ten years of jail time for those who are found guilty. There are other penalties for this charge as well, and the circumstances of each case can impact the sentencing. Probation and fines can also accompany jail time for this kind of criminal activity.
For those who have been charged with assault with a weapon, the first step that must be taken is securing a skilled criminal lawyer. It is also wise not to speak to the police or anyone else until you have secured a lawyer. The more that you say about the situation that led to the assault, the more likely you will be to incriminate yourself.
What is Considered a Weapon?
Section 2 of the criminal code defines a weapon as anything that is used to cause death or injury to a person, or that is used for the purpose of threatening or intimidating a person. This can be a firearm, a knife, a pipe, or any other item that was used with the intention to harm or intimidate and threaten.
There is no limitation on what is considered a weapon under this part of the law – what matters is the intention with which it was used. The item does not have to be designed to be used as a weapon either. Firearms are federally regulated in Canada, so assault with a firearm can bring additional charges to the original assault charge.
What Are the Stages of a Criminal Case?
In Canada, there are some standard steps that are followed for each criminal case. You will want to consult a criminal lawyer as soon as possible if you have been accused of a crime or criminal charges have been levelled against you. Before charges are formally laid, you can still get a lawyer to work on your behalf in case they are actually brought against you
This is the first step that happens after the crime, and it might involve interrogation or questioning, as well as time spent in jail or custody prior to being released on bail.
After your bail hearing, you might be allowed to be released with specific guidelines. These guidelines will include staying in the country and might also direct you against taking other actions related to the crimes that you have been accused o
The first appearance is intended to be the time when you can tell the court how you will proceed with the case. You might plead guilty or not guilty, or you can also choose to have the first appearance adjourn your case for a new date. This last process will allow for your first appearance to be rescheduled
This stage is handled largely by your lawyer as they make the preparations for your case. You will meet with your lawyer and go over the disclosure and other details of your case, and will also be prepared to take the stand. There might also be a preliminary inquiry done to sort out if there is enough evidence to justify a trial
The trial will happen on a set date. The length of the trial can depend on many factors, and the complexity of your case will impact the length of your trial. Low-complexity cases might only take a few days to try, but complex cases that are open to the public can take a month or more. The more witnesses and evidence that must be presented, the longer your trial will take
Verdict and Sentencing
Once the case has been completely presented by both sides of the trial, the crown or jury will determine the outcome of the case. At this stage, you will also be given your sentencing, which could include fines, probation, or jail time. There are some instances where you can appeal the decision that was made in your case.
What Has to Be Proven for a Conviction?
In Canadian criminal cases, the Crown prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of both the actus reus and the mens rea of the offence they have been accused of. The actus reus is the intention to commit the criminal act, while the mens rea is only involved if there is premeditation. This is common in murder cases to try and prove that the crime was planned in advance.
Many people do not realize that circumstantial evidence can be enough to convict you – there are even instances where the case evidence is not well prepared, but the incomplete evidence of the case can still be enough to convict. This is why working with a skilled lawyer is so important. You will want to be sure that your case is presented and that all the facts are made clear.
Securing a Skilled Criminal Lawyer is Important
Due to the complexity of presenting evidence and details in criminal cases, you will want to work with a skilled lawyer, as assault with a weapon is one of the more serious criminal offences that you can be charged with in Canada, and you do not want to leave any of the details of your case up to chance. Having a skilled lawyer working hard by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
If you’re searching for representation in your assault with a weapon case, reach out to our team at Vilkhov Law today. We will schedule you for a consultation and get working on your case to help you to have the best chance at a positive outcome. Criminal cases in Canada are complicated to present, and you will want to work with the very best if you have been accused of a serious crime.