An act of violence can be a simple incident but the consequences can last a lifetime. The Canadian Criminal Code does not tolerate violence but the degree to which it is punished depends entirely on the nature of the act committed.

If you are facing any sort of criminal charge or civil liability case due to a violent offence, it is imperative that you contact a lawyer.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of violent offences and how they are punished in Canada:

What Are the Different Types of Violent Offences?

An assault, or violent offence, is any act that inflicts physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person and, in some legal definitions, the threat or attempts to commit such an act.

In Canada, assault is considered a crime and can result in criminal prosecution, civil liability, or both. The potential punishment varies depending on the type of assault that is committed.


Robbery is an indictable offence and consists of theft or extortion of property with the use of a weapon, violence, or threats of violence. However, in order to constitute robbery, the assault and theft must be linked such as using violence for the purpose of taking property.

The perpetrator does not have to cause actual physical harm or use the weapon for it to be deemed a robbery but these factors may be considered during sentencing.

Robbery can be punishable by life imprisonment.


The term “kidnapping” applies to taking away a person against their will either by transporting them or confining them. Sometimes this includes holding that person in exchange for ransom or service.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, anyone who confines or imprisons another against their will is liable to life in prison.


Manslaughter is a type of murder in which the perpetrator kills another human being without malicious forethought or planned intent. A drunk driver who hits another vehicle and kills its passengers, for example, can be found guilty of manslaughter.

The maximum penalty in Canada for manslaughter is life in prison with a mandatory minimum penalty of 4-7 years. Sentencing is entirely dependent on the specifics of the situation – for instance, someone charged with manslaughter who is deemed a dangerous offender may see more jail time than someone who is not.

First- and Second-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is a murder that is planned and deliberate. The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder is life imprisonment with eligibility for parole after 25 years. For multiple murder offenses, offenders may receive consecutive sentences and no chance of parole.

Second-degree murder, on the other hand, is an intentional murder that does not meet the requirements of first-degree murder (i.e., planning and preparation) such as a murder that happens during a heated argument.

Second-degree murder also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison with parole possible after 10 years.

Bail Hearings and Violent Offences

When you are arrested and detained by the police, you will attend court and stand before the justice of the peace. They will decide whether you are to remain in jail until your trial or if you are released under specific and strict conditions.

Prior to appearing before the justice of the peace, it is imperative that you contact a lawyer to represent you and protect your rights during your bail hearing.