Utter Threats To Cause A Bodily Harm

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People make threats during heated arguments, such as heated domestic situations, without realizing that by doing so, they could end up facing criminal charges. It only dawns on them that it’s a crime to threaten someone when charges are levied against them. Although this law was originally designed to deal with criminal organizations’ threatening tactics, it has evolved to cover other cases involving threats.

Threatening to cause harm to another person is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. It’s also against the law to threaten to cause damage to a person’s property or injure their animals. This part of the law is wide and, in some cases, vague as it can be interpreted to mean anything.

This article provides information on one of the severe categories of utter threats charges, uttering threats to cause bodily harm. We’ll look at the Criminal Code’s provisions, potential penalties upon conviction, and more.

Before you start confessing to the police, “yes, I threatened him, but it was just anger talking. I can never hurt anyone,” exercise your rights to silence and legal representation. This will protect your rights and prevent you from making a grave mistake.

Contact Zamani Law attorneys for experienced representation in Toronto.

What is Uttering Threats to Cause Bodily Harm?

Uttering threats to cause bodily harm can be broadly defined as knowingly threatening to cause physical damage to another person. This threat can be delivered directly by you or indirectly via texts or someone else.

Utter threats to cause harm is only a small part of section 264.1 of the Criminal Code, which provides that:

264.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys, or causes any person to receive a threat

  • to cause death or bodily harm to any person;
  • to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or
  • to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.

The legislation on uttering threats is open to various interpretations, and it requires minimal evidence to file charges against someone. This exposes people to unexpected criminal charges, which, if not properly addressed, can easily ruin the rest of their lives.

Given that most threats to cause bodily harm stem from heated arguments, such as between friends, spouses or other parties, it’s very common for the charges to be filed in conjunction with other allegations, including domestic violence and mischief.

Zamani Law has years of experience defending individuals accused of threatening to cause injury through well-crafted defence strategies. If you or your loved one is facing uttering threats charges or other related allegations, it’s requisite to retain legal counsel. Call us at (647) 955-7085 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Things That May Not Be Threats

It’s not uncommon to face criminal charges for words spoken in a context that does not constitute a threat. For example, if you were joking about how you could hurt your friend and they reported you, it’s possible to find yourself facing criminal charges for the joke.

Under Canadian Law, words spoken in jest are not threats. However, if you’re charged for such, you’ll need to defend yourself in court.

When you’re faced with uttering threats charges for actions that do not constitute threats, it’s advisable to enlist the services of skilled criminal defence attorneys. This will ensure that you’re protected and do not face the consequences for something you did not do.

What Are the Penalties for Making Threats to Cause Bodily Harm?

Like any other offence under Canadian law, uttering threats to cause bodily harm poses several penalties upon conviction. First, there’s a possibility of facing imprisonment, and the jail term depends on the nature and totality of your case, prior convictions, and more.

  • Summary offence: up to 2 years in jail
  • Indictable offence: up to 5 years in jail

Apart from incarceration, other possible consequences include fines and probation.

When convicted of threatening to cause harm, especially for an individual without a criminal past, a criminal record can cause tremendous damage to your life, including limiting your employment prospects and travel capabilities. To ensure that you attain the most favourable outcome in your case, consult a lawyer. They’ll review your case and devise potential defences to the allegations against you.

Through experienced legal representation, it’s possible to get the charges dropped or discharged, avoiding a conviction and criminal record.

Have A Skilled Criminal Lawyer in Your Corner

If you are charged with uttering threats to cause bodily harm, do not plead guilty even if the evidence against you looks overwhelming. There are possible defence strategies for every case. A knowledgeable attorney can assess your case and tailor a strong defence to ensure that you obtain the best possible results per your case. This can include a withdrawal of the charges, an acquittal, or a reduction of the charges.

Contact Zamani Law Criminal Defence Lawyers for a free evaluation of your case.


What if the recipient did not take the threat seriously?

It doesn’t matter if the intended recipient of the threat took it seriously, was intimidated by it, or even knew about the threat. The prosecution only needs to prove that you intentionally made the threat to be taken seriously and elucidate a reaction of fear from the recipient’s mind.

What if the threat was impossible to carry out?

When it comes to utter threats to cause bodily harm charges, the present ability to carry out the said threat does not matter. During litigation, the main focus will be on the accused’s intentions of the threat made, i.e., did they mean to scare the recipient?

What are the consequences of utter threats to cause bodily harm conviction?

There are many short-term and long-term consequences of uttering threats to cause harm convictions. Some of them include:

  • Fines
  • Possible imprisonment
  • Job loss
  • Problems travelling to the US because of a criminal record
  • Probation
  • Ineligibility to certain employment opportunities

What if the threat is not said directly to the intended recipient?

To face criminal charges, the accused person does not have to utter the threat directly to the intended recipient. If the accused used a third party to deliver the threat, they could still be found guilty of threatening to cause bodily harm. Also, if the intended victim does not receive or is not aware of the threat, you can still be convicted.

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