Alleged Assault Caught on Film – Consequences and Criminal Records

Arrested for assault? It doesn’t take much.

In a recent article (and corresponding video) posted by CBC, a moment of road rage was captured in dash-cam footage by a fellow motorist.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/road-rage-suspect-arrested-after-punch-caught-on-video-1.2988080

The video depicts the accused getting out of his vehicle and engaging in what appears to be a heated discussion with the other driver, before punching the victim through his open car window. Not only was this incident caught on film, the individual being arrested by near-by officers was a well.

So what does this mean for the 26 year old now likely facing assault charges? Often with assaults it’s a matter of he-said/she-said, sometimes coupled with witness testimony. But more and more, videos of the event are available in court just like in this situation. And if the crown presents video evidence against you, it is pretty difficult to dispute. So it seems clear that this individual will end up convicted of assault and that it will result in a criminal record.

The outcome of the charge may depend on various factors like if the individual has a previous record, community reputation, drinking problems, etc. But whatever his personal circumstances are the most common results in court would be the following:

Common results from an assault charge

Assault Conviction – An incident like this could result in a conviction. This type of offence is usually a considered a summary (less serious) conviction, and carries a waiting period of 5 years from the completion of the sentence before a pardon / record suspension can be granted. A common sentence in this case might be a suspended sentence and probation.

If convicted this easily avoidable mistake will likely end up costing this him a minimum of 7 years of his life with a criminal record.

By the time he goes to court, is sentenced, completes his sentence, waits the 5 years to become eligible, then applies for and is finally granted a pardon, a lot of time will have gone by. As a result his education, employment, travel opportunities and more are likely to be negatively affected.

Conditional Discharge – A discharge is a guilty verdict, without a criminal conviction. There would still be a sentence imposed by the court (like probation) but the individual does not end up with a permanent record. His record would be automatically purged at the CPIC level after 3 years. Local Police and Court records would need to be dealt with through a purge and file destruction.

Absolute Discharge – This is also possible, where no sentence is imposed by the court. In this case the individual would need to wait 1 year before the automatic purge of the offence takes place.

Withdrawn – If the Crown/victim decides not to pursue charges, they will be withdrawn. This is a non-conviction, and the charge will appear in the “Restricted” section of the individual’s criminal record. To remove this offence one must apply for a file destruction which can be obtained 5 months after the court decision.

We have many clients who have been either charged or convicted of assault. One of the most common reasons we see for assault at the National Pardon Centre are “heat of the moment” situations like the above-mentioned individual was involved in. Being convicted of assault requires a Canadian pardon (record suspension) to seal this information from public record, while a non-conviction usually requires a file destruction application to remove the record of offence.

Do you have an assault charge you would like removed from your criminal record? If so, call and speak to one of our counsellor. We’re here to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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