Can a Youth Be Charged with Assault?

Assault is legally defined as the application of force or the threat of using force against someone, without their consent. Assault includes strikes, pushes, punches and kicks. It can also include grabbing, holding, spitting and minor contact that might appear minimal. The Criminal Code of Canada has expanded the scope of liability for assault to include threatening acts and gestures.

Young people can be accused of nearly any crime an adult can be charged with, but the procedure for youth matters is different, as are the consequences for a conviction. These are setout in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

The usual punishment for young persons is something called Extra-Judicial Sanctions (EJS); which is a form of early diversion. This diversion helps the young person rehabilitate and become contributing members of society. However, there are situations where extrajudicial measures cannot be used. In those cases, the matter is handled in youth court. A young offenders lawyer can guide you through this process. Rarely, and with serious crimes, a young person can even be sentenced as an adult. 

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the basic charge for assault cases that don’t involve a weapon or bodily harm. Even threatening to harm someone is sufficient to be charged as a simple assault. Typically a young person will not go to jail for a regular assault charge, however this depends on the circumstances of the offending behaviour. Assault is considered a violent crime, and the consequences can be severe.

If you are accused of a crime, it’s a good idea to find an experienced young offenders lawyer. They can guide you through the legal process and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

More Serious Types of Assault

In this section, we will explore the types of more serious assault offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. Understanding these different categories is crucial to understanding the severity and legal implications of these charges.

Assault with a Weapon 

If someone uses a weapon during an assault, they can be charged with the crime of assault with a weapon under s. 267(a) of the Criminal Code. A weapon can be anything that can cause harm, like a baseball bat, golf club or a gun. Even items that are not traditionally considered a weapon can cause someone to be charged with this offence; we’ve seen situations in which snowballs, erasers and even a bag of chips have been considered a weapon and led to charges under this offence.

Assault Causing Bodily Harm 

Bodily harm refers to any type of injury that affects a person’s health or comfort, even if it seems relatively minor or insignificant. If a young person causes injuries to someone, they can be taken to court and charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Aggravated Assault 

In Canada, the most severe type of assault (which does not cause death) is called aggravated assault. It is defined in section 268 of the Criminal Code. If a youth is responsible for hurting someone, causing disfigurement, wounding, maiming or putting their life in danger, they can be charged with aggravated assault. What sets this offence apart from other types of assault is the seriousness of the injuries inflicted.


Are You Looking for a Young Offenders Lawyer?

If a child is accused of assault, they need guidance from a young offenders lawyer. These lawyers have expertise in youth criminal law and are familiar with the youth criminal justice system. They can provide valuable advice on how the case will likely be handled and the range of possible outcomes. 

If your child has been charged with an assault or criminal offence, the Edmonton-based criminal lawyers at RG Defence will protect their rights and work in their best interests to secure a favourable outcome.

Contact RG Defence Law Firm and see how we can help you!