Assault covers a wide range of conduct in this country. It is defined as any intentional act of violence towards another person that is done without their consent.
You do not need to actually engage in a prolonged physical altercation with another person in order to be charged with assault. You could be charged with this crime for simply touching another person, spitting at them or even gesturing in their direction. You could be charged even if the person is uninjured.
If a person is charged with assault, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They have to prove that the accused person applied force either directly or indirectly to someone without their consent, or attempted or threatened by act or gesture to apply force to another person causing that person to believe that they had the ability and intention to follow through, or while openly displaying a weapon either begged or impeded another person.
Due to the fact that many assault allegations involve a “he said, she said” scenario, the prosecution may have a difficult time proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It will often boil down to witness statements and court-room testimony. Sometimes, there are competing versions of events, and it will be up to a judge or jury to determine who is telling the truth.
Some of the most common allegations of assault involve a domestic relationship. The British Columbia provincial government has a policy to prosecute all domestic assault allegations if there is a reasonable likelihood of success in doing so.
This policy can be rigid, and can cause problems for family dynamics. Often times, the parties involved in this type of allegation simply want to see the situation resolve itself quickly and go back to their lives as normal. Inter-personal relationships are complex and dynamic. A one-size-fits-all approach does not always work. For that reason, it may not be in the public interest to prosecute this type of offence. Sometimes, a more flexible, holistic approach is necessary.
An experienced criminal defence lawyer will know how to identify whether or not this is the case and will be able to put a plan in place in order to help you get through this difficult time quickly, and without a stigmatizing criminal record.