The Charge

This is the most serious type of assault one can be charged with under Canadian law. An aggravated assault is defined by the type and degree of harm that is inflicted on the alleged victim:

  • “Wounding”: any injury in which the victim’s skin is punctured may be considered a wounding. These can range from small cuts to deep gashes or bullet wounds that require significant medical attention. The more serious the wound inflicted on the victim, the higher the potential penalty. The Crown is often required to put forward medical evidence to establish the extent of the wounds.
  • “Maiming”: any injury that would hypothetically render the victim less able to fight. In other words, a maiming is any injury that impairs the victim’s physical functions. Common maimings include: cuts or stabs that damage muscle or tendon; strikes that break or fracture bones; hits that cause damage to the nervous system, including brain damage; loss of toes, fingers, or other limbs. Medical evidence is often necessary in these cases.
  • “Disfiguring”: any injury that makes a person appear different. The injury does not need to be permanent before an accused can be found guilty of disfiguring someone, although permanent disfigurement can be a major factor in increasing the sentence handed down. Scars or marks caused by cuts, bullet wounds, or damage or loss of any body parts almost always qualify as “disfiguring”.
  • “Endangering of Life”: any assault that compromises the life of the victim. The types of assaults that endanger life include serious stabbings and gunshot wounds. Medical evidence, including the opinion of an experienced medical expert, is usually put forth by the Crown in order to prove that the assault endangered the victim’s life. However, pushing someone toward the edge of a cliff, for example, can also constitute an assault endangering life, even if no serious harm actually occurred.


It is vital to have Calgary Criminal Lawyers on your side at the bail stage. Unless you have a very limited criminal record, the Crown will almost certainly ask a Judge to hold you in jail until your charges are completed in the court system; we can help by persuading the judge that your detention is not necessary and that you should be released. You can expect to be placed under tight conditions if you are charged with this crime. In addition to conditions barring you from having any interaction with the alleged victim, you will probably be placed under a curfew. We can ensure the conditions are no more than what is necessary to satisfy the judge you are a not a danger to reoffend, and that any amount of cash you are required to deposit with the court is as low as necessary.

The Defence

Aggravated assaults commonly involve complicated medical evidence to prove the type and extent of the victim’s alleged injuries. In addition, there are complicated legal rules surrounding whether evidence of the victim’s injuries is admissible in court. Calgary Criminal Lawyers are skilled at interpreting and challenging this type of evidence when the circumstances call for it.

In addition, these assaults will often involve thorough police investigations, which may in turn generate a large amount of evidence. Let our criminal defence lawyers carefully comb through every document, photograph, video statement, and other pieces of evidence to craft the best possible defence.

Due to the complexity of these types of charges the Crown Prosecutor’s Office typically assigns some of their most skilled and experienced lawyers handle them. This means you need a skilled and experienced lawyer in your corner to level the field. Calgary Criminal Lawyers will carefully review all the evidence in the possession of the police, thoroughly explore any potential defences you may have, and ensure your interests are put front and center at every stage of the proceeding.

The Sentence

Not surprisingly, aggravated assaults typically carry penalties substantially higher than those imposed for basic assaults, assaults with a weapon, and assaults causing bodily harm.

The potential consequences for a conviction for aggravated assault are extremely serious. Someone found guilty of aggravated assault may receive:

  • Up to 14 years in jail;
  • Up to 3 years of probation;
  • A lifetime ban from owing or possessing any weapons; and
  • An order that they give a DNA sample to the national DNA databank

This type of charge is so serious that a conviction for aggravated assault is not eligible for a discharge, a conditional sentence order (house arrest). The Crown will typically seek a lengthy term of incarceration for such convictions, so it is very important to have a criminal defence lawyer on your side.