The Charge

These offences require the Crown prosecutor to prove that in addition to committing an assault, you either used a “weapon” or caused someone “bodily harm”.

An assault has 3 components:

  1. There must be an application of force, whether direct or indirect;
  2. That application of force must have been intentional; and
  3. The victim did not consent to the application of force

You may be surprised that relatively minor injuries will make out “bodily harm” in Canadian law. For example, deep bruising that does not immediately fade, or even a minor cut may be enough to prove an assault causing bodily harm. On the other hand, in some cases even if you are charged with bodily harm, the Crown Prosecutor may have a difficult time proving the case. For example, even if a complainant may say that his nose is broken, it may be difficult to prove without medical evidence to establish that there is a fracture.

A “weapon” is not limited to items like guns or knives, but can also include more unusual items like cups, glasses, dishes, sticks, sports equipment, food, and even liquids. Anything that otherwise has an ordinary purpose, but is converted to be used to assault someone will be deemed a weapon. Our criminal defence lawyers even had one case where the alleged assault with a weapon involved a “plastic bag”.

It is very common for the police to lay charges of assault with a weapon even when the object never touched the complainant. That is, you can be charged with an assault with a weapon even if you never actually hit anyone with something. If you simply waved or carried an object/weapon in a threatening or intimidating matter, the offence may be made out. These situations are very nuanced, and Calgary Criminal Lawyers can help you determine whether your actions meet the definition of the offence.

It is very important to note that a person can NOT consent to an assault causing bodily harm. That is, you cannot say that you had a “consensual fight” where the complainant suffers bodily harm. However, sporting events are an exception to this general rule. If you are involved in this type of situation, it would be useful to contact one of our criminal defence lawyers to find out if this defence is available to you.

Unlike assault causing bodily harm cases, you CAN consent to an assault with a weapon. Otherwise, a snowball fight would be technically illegal.


An assault that causes bodily harm or is committed with a weapon is more serious than a simple assault. As such, depending on the seriousness of the allegation and your prior record, the police or prosecutors are more likely to request that you be kept in jail until your charges proceed to trial.

If you are released, you can expect the court to require you to deposit money to provide motivation for you to obey the terms of your release.

Those terms will likely require you to: not have any contact or communication with the alleged victim; not possess any weapons; report to a probation officer so they can keep tabs on your lifestyle; and not drink alcohol or use drugs, if those items are alleged to have led to the crime.

The Defence

Calgary Criminal Lawyers are experienced with these sets of charges, and will work with you to explore all possible defences and resolution options. We will determine: was there an application of force? Was it intentional? Was there bodily harm or a weapon? Were you defending yourself, another person, or your property when you committed the assault? These are just a few of the issues that need to be explored in these types of cases.

Mounting a successful defence involves challenging the Crown’s case and presenting your own evidence in a way that meets a complicated legal test. Don’t try to do it alone. Contact Calgary Criminal Lawyers so we can help you navigate the legal roadmap. Depending on our assessment of the case and your desired outcome, we will work with you to get the best possible result, whether that be an acquittal of all charges, a reduction of the charges, avoiding jail time, or any other possible result.

The Sentence

Although each case is unique, the penalties for assaults with a weapon or causing bodily harm are generally higher than those for basic assault. They include:

  • Jail (up to 10 years);
  • Probation (up to three years);
  • An order that you give a sample of your DNA to the national DNA Databank;
  • A lifetime ban on owning any weapons; and
  • A fine.

The typical starting point sentence, however, is jail.