Assault is a criminal offence in Canada and a very common offence in Toronto. Assault charges can arise from a number of different circumstances, including domestic disputes, but all assault charges rely on the same basic element of intentional contact with another person without that person’s consent. Assault is often charged alongside other offences such as uttering threats, mischief, or others. More serious allegations may be prosecuted as aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and assault causing bodily harm.

Misha has extensive experience defending people charged with assault, including domestic assault and its more serious variants. Misha has assisted hundreds of individuals navigate the system and has achieved acquittals after trial, or significantly reduced sentences both after a trial or after a guilty plea. Contact Misha for a free consultation.

What is Assault?

Assault is the non-consensual touching of another person.  Codified in section 265 of the Criminal Code, it is a hybrid offence. When prosecuted by indictment, the maximum sentence is 5 years.  Assault can take many forms and can arise in many different circumstances.  Related offences include assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, and sexual assault.  The law office of Misha Feldmann has extensive experience defending all forms of assault.

What if I was also hurt? Is the other person charged?

There are many defences to a charge of assault. These range from ‘it wasn’t me’ to self-defence or other justifications. Consent can be a defence to assault in some circumstances, for example in a consensual fight. If the Crown cannot prove that essential element of the charge of assault, then the accused is entitled to an acquittal. If you were injured and later charged with assault, that could be good evidence that you were acting in self-defence, or possibly that it was a consensual fight.  Contact Misha today to discuss your case if you have been charged with assault.

What is the Penalty for Assault? Is there Jail Time?

The maximum penalty for assault is 5 years of jail time according to the Criminal Code of Canada.  There are a several other possible outcomes for criminal charge of assault, including probation, fines, and even the possibility of having your charges withdrawn before trial. Misha has extensive experience in pretrial negotiations in assault cases and has achieved many excellent results for clients.

What happens if you're charged with Assault?

Anyone charged with assault, has a right to counsel. The police must inform you of the reason for your arrest and must make reasonable efforts to assist you to speak with your counsel of choice. Typically, if you are brought to a police station, they will give you an opportunity to speak with your lawyer of choice in a private room.

Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the case, the police may release you from the station or may hold you for a bail hearing. If you are held for bail, they will advise you so that you may make arrangements to contact a lawyer and assist you in contacting your friends or family to act as sureties for your bail. You have a right to be brought before a Justice or Judge within a reasonable time but in any event within 24 hours of your arrest.

At your bail hearing, your lawyer and the Crown will argue about whether you should be released from custody and, if so, what reasonable terms of bail should be imposed. Any person charged with a crime has a right to a reasonable bail.

Why shouldn't I just plead guilty to Assault?

A criminal conviction for assault can have consequences far greater than the sentence imposed by the judge. A criminal conviction can have consequences for employment, immigration status in Canada, for access to children as part of any family law proceedings, crossing the border to the United States and elsewhere, and any number of other consequences. While many people may be tempted to plead guilty ‘to get it over with’ a criminal conviction with all its consequences can last for a long time, perhaps forever. A snap decision may be the wrong decision. As experienced trial counsel, Misha can advise you of the strong or weak parts of the Crown’s case. While some cases are strong – and pleading guilty may be a reasonable option – many others are not. Some people are not guilty and guilty pleas are only for guilty people. Experienced trial counsel can negotiate a better deal or successfully represent you at trial.

Only a careful review of your matter can give you the advice you need to make crucial decisions on your case and your life. A careful review may reveal gaps or problems with the Crown’s case. Contact experienced trial counsel before deciding to plead guilty.

First Time Assault Charges

The criminal justice system often recognizes that people make mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. People charged with offences, including assault, for the first time are treated somewhat differently from people with long criminal records. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining great results for first time assault charges. This may include diversion before trial or favourable plea agreements. Contact our office to discuss your case and what to expect.

Assault Legislation

Section 265 of the Criminal Code Covers this Charge


  • 265 (1) A person commits an assault when
    • (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
    • (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
    • (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
  • Marginal note:
     This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.
  • Marginal note:
     For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of

    • (a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
    • (b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
    • (c) fraud; or
    • (d) the exercise of authority.
  • Marginal note:
    Accused’s belief as to consent
     Where an accused alleges that he believed that the complainant consented to the conduct that is the subject-matter of the charge, a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defence, shall instruct the jury, when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accused’s belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief.

Source: Criminal Code of Canada, section 265