What are the 3 Levels of Assault in Canada?

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What if you are accused of assaulting anyone but have never committed that?

Sounds pathetic, right?

In Canada, assault is considered a serious crime that results in serious punishment. So you must know the level of assault you are charged with as it will help you know the punishment level and create necessary defenses. 

Wondering what are Canada’s levels of assault?

And how are they different from each other?

In the following discussion, you will learn about all three levels of assault and the penalties for each level of assault to create the strongest defense to protect yourself. 

But First, What is Assault?

In Canada, assault is defined as the deliberate use of force against another person without that other’s consent or the use of threats of physical force to create a sense of dread in the target. According to the Canadian Criminal Code, it qualifies as a crime and is sanctioned by the law.

It includes verbal and physical actions, from less severe violence that causes serious bodily harm to more serious violence like slapping. The level of the assault determines how serious the crime is, with the least serious to the most serious. You may have to go to an assault lawyer and then you need to know about the three levels of assault in Canada.

What are the 3 Levels of Assault in Canada?

Let’s learn about the three levels of assaults you may face in Canada.

Level 1 Assault

The least serious degree of assault in Canada is Level 1. It is also known as a “simple assault.” The deliberate use of force against another person without that person’s consent or the threat of using force against them that makes them worry for their safety are considered level 1 assaults.

Penalties for Level 1 Assault

According to the circumstances, Level 1 Assault in Canada can be considered either an indictable criminal or a summary charge. A summary conviction carries a possible sentence of $5,000 in fines and/or 6 months in prison. A conviction on an indictable offense carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

Examples of Level 1 Assault

Pushing, shoving, slapping, or punching without causing substantial harm are examples of Level 1 Assault. Another example is verbally threatening someone with violence while inflicting no actual harm, making them fear for their safety.

Level 2 Assault

Level 2 assault is known as “assault with a weapon” or “aggravated assault.” It is a more serious category of assault in Canada. It is described as using a weapon, threatening to use it, or purposefully causing physical damage to another person.

Penalties for Level 2 Assault

Level 2 assault is considered a serious and indictable criminal offense in Canada. If you are found guilty of Level 2 Assault, you may receive a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail. If there was any weapon use, you might get a minimum prison term of 4 years.

Examples of Level 2 Assault

Level 2 Assault includes striking with a weapon that can result in physical harm, such as a bottle or a baseball bat. Also, threatening or harming someone with a weapon, such as a knife or gun. Level 2 assaults basically include any assaults that cause major physical pain or injury, such as shattered bones or deep wounds.

Level 3 Assault

The most extreme level of assault, commonly referred to as “aggravated assault,” is Level 3 Assault in Canada. It is described as purposely inflicting severe physical harm on another person.

Penalties for Level 3 Assault

Level 3 Assault is considered a serious criminal violation and is an indictable act. Life in prison is the highest punishment for Level 3 assault convictions.

Examples of Level 3 Assault

Level 3 Assault includes forcing a person to lose a limb or suffer permanent disfigurement, severe internal injuries, or brain damage. A Level 3 attack puts someone’s life at risk as it causes significant physical harm or both.

What are the Defenses Against Assault?

Now it’s time to know what you can use as a defense if you are falsely accused as an assaulter. 


The defense of self-defense is the most commonly used in assault cases. The use of force to stop an assault is allowed under the law. You must prove that you felt an immediate danger of harm and that the force you used was appropriate for self-defense. But, you must flee within a specific time, and the force used must be equivalent to the threat you faced.


You can also use consent as a defense against assault allegations. You can claim that your conduct was justified as the victim agreed to the physical interaction or behavior that gave rise to the assault. However, the consent must be informed, freely given, and ongoing for a valid defense. You can’t claim it as a defense by creating stress or deception.

Accident or Mistake

You may cause assault by mistake or accident. You will be prosecuted for assault even though you did not intend to hurt the other person, but you have accidentally struck them with a bat while swinging it. In these cases, you can argue that your actions were unintentional and did not have the motive to harm that person. 

Mental Incapacity

If you are a patient with certain mental health conditions, you usually may not have the motive to commit an assault. In these cases, you can claim that you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the offense, which means you couldn’t understand the nature of your actions and the consequences of those actions.

Defense of Property

You can also use the defense of property against an assault charge in certain circumstances. You can use a reasonable amount of force to defend your property against intruders or thieves. However, the force used must be equivalent to the threat, and you must have no other way to avoid using force.

To Conclude

For both the victim and the offender, assault is a serious crime that can have terrible outcomes. The amount of damage to the victim decides the three types of assault in Canada, which are Level 1 or simple assault, Level 2 or assault with a weapon, and Level 3 or aggravated assault. 

Anyway, it is never a pleasant experience for anyone. So, it is important to stop assaults from happening. It can be done through spreading knowledge about consent, imparting practical conflict-resolution techniques, and helping assault victims.