Home » Can I Carry a Taser in Alberta?

When facing a threat against ourselves or our loved ones, it seems only natural to exercise self-defence to stop that threat. A reasonable and effective means of neutralizing a threat may seem to be an item that can stun an attacker without permanent or lethal damage. Still, tasers, stun guns, and any other conducted energy weapons (CEWs) are all illegal under section 84 of the Canada Criminal Code. Using or even possessing a Taser can yield an arrest in Alberta.

A single act of using a Taser can garner several criminal charges, so it is extremely important to contact experienced weapons offence lawyers to represent you. Edmonton-based Chadi & Company defends clients from around Alberta and Western Canada in various criminal matters, particularly prohibited weapons charges. Book a free consultation with Chadi & Company by calling (780) 429-2300 or contact us online today.

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Understanding Tasers and Their Use

Tasers are devices that can project tiny darts into an attacker from about 4.5 metres away. The darts remain connected to the taser by thin wires, which can pierce up to 5 centimetres of clothing to conduct an electric shock, causing full neuromuscular incapacitation. In other words, tasers can be fired from a distance to stop an attacker by temporarily paralyzing them with 50,000 volts of electricity.

Stun guns are devices that also carry electrical current to stop a physical attack, but a stun gun must make direct physical contact with the target. The electric shock is temporary, but a stun gun can deliver multiple shocks on a single charge.

Canadian law divides weapons into restricted and prohibited categories. Both tasers and stun guns are considered prohibited weapons, and possession and use of these items are fully banned under the Canada Criminal Code on Prohibited Weapons. Similarly, any item carried for the express purpose of self-defence is considered illegal in Canada.

Legal Status of Tasers in Canada

Tasers are the brand name of a particular conducted energy device. Tasers are made in the United States, and only one company can import them into Canada. From there, the sale of every taser is tracked and registered. Still, taser issues have hit the headlines since 2005, and debate about their use continues:

Presently, tasers and stun guns fall under the prohibited weapons umbrella of the Canada Criminal Code, and there is a complete ban on owning these items.

Consequences of Illegal Taser Possession

In Canada, all taser possession is considered illegal. There is a categorical ban on all conducted energy weapons such as stun guns or tasers, according to section 84 of the Canada Criminal Code. There are few exceptions – law enforcement officials with proper training and certification are permitted to carry tasers. Still, even then, the legal use of a Taser only applies to very specific circumstances. For example, Military Police are permitted to carry energy devices under Canadian taser laws, but they must be trained and qualified, and they must recertify every year.

If you are caught carrying a Taser or stun gun, you can be arrested without a warrant and charged with an indictable offence or a summary offence. The severity of the charge is up to the discretion of the Crown Prosecutor. It takes an experienced legal professional who understands Canada’s taser laws to represent you in this prohibited weapons case. An effective Edmonton criminal lawyer is the difference between an indictable offence and up to five years in jail or a much less serious charge of a summary offence. Book a free consultation with Chadi & Company by calling (780) 429-2300 or contact us online today.

Using a Taser in Self-Defence

Since Canada’s taser laws forbid the use of a taser or stun gun, using one of these conducted energy devices in self-defence is not legal. Ownership or possession of a Taser may yield multiple criminal charges. Canadian law allows its citizens to defend themselves and their property using reasonable force. In other words, use only as much force as necessary to remove the threat to yourself, your property, or another person, usually with the least violence possible. If too much force is used, the attacked person could be charged with a crime.

For instance, if a burglar enters a home and the homeowner knocks the burglar down and calls the police, that is considered a reasonable response of force. If the homeowner uses a Taser or firearm against the burglar or applies lethal force, Canadian law would likely deem that unreasonable or excessive force and the homeowner may be charged with assault or other violent charges.

Only certain members of law enforcement are permitted to carry a Taser, and those officers must be trained and qualified to carry it. Even then, tasers are only permitted to be used in instances of self-defence of the officer or crowd control measures. They are only to be used when an attacker is causing harm or about to cause harm to themselves or someone else.

Understanding Your Rights to Defend Yourself and Your Property

Canada’s taser laws are clear in that tasers are prohibited weapons, and that use and ownership of a taser could garner criminal charges. In fact, any weapon owned for the sole purpose of self-defence is illegal in Canada, including pepper spray and stun guns. Carrying a pocketknife is legal in Canada, provided you intend to use the knife for practical purposes other than defence. One could also carry a hard case flashlight, tactical pen, air horn, whistle, or other noise-emitting device to prevent harm against oneself. Items like hair spray, body spray or hand sanitizer may also be effective when warding off physical threats.

An object with practical uses may be used to aid a person’s safety in the face of a threat, but keep in mind that the concept of reasonable force still applies. The response to the threat cannot be greater than the threat perceived.

Common Weapons Offences in Canada

Firearms and weapons charges are seen as some of the most serious criminal offences in Alberta. Because conducted energy devices are banned, Canada’s taser laws permit law enforcement to file charges on possession of a taser, and the circumstances of the case may yield additional charges that include assault, carrying a concealed weapon, and weapons trafficking. These additional charges can easily make a dangerous situation appear far worse than it is, so hiring experienced criminal defence lawyers is vital to your freedom. Book a free consultation with Chadi & Company by calling (780) 429-2300 or contact us online today.

Canada’s taser laws and prohibited weapons charges can result in a range of punishments. Some weapons charges may be less serious summary offences, and conviction of a summary offence may include fines and imprisonment of fewer than two years. Still, even less serious charges can lead to significant time spent behind bars.

Some charges may fall under the category of indictable offences or more serious charges, which are punishable by longer imprisonment terms. These cases can also heard before a judge and jury in the Superior Court.

Some common weapons offences in Alberta include:

  • Possession of firearms or imitation firearms – imprisonment up to ten years for the first offence;
  • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited, restricted, unregistered or stolen firearm – imprisonment up to ten years;
  • Any use of a firearm or imitation firearm – imprisonment up to 14 years; and
  • Carrying a concealed weapon – imprisonment up to five years.

Regardless of the type of charge levied against you, having experienced legal representation makes the difference between a minimal prosecution with a clean record and a significant jail term and serious limits on your personal freedoms in the future to work, travel, or get a loan. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can be the difference between dismissing charges and spending years in jail.

Seeking Legal Advice for Canadian Taser Laws and Defence

Alberta law takes all weapons offences very seriously. It is extremely important to consult with an Edmonton criminal defence lawyer for charges related to Taser possession or other self-defence law inquiries.

The Crown Prosecutor tends to build criminal cases on more than one charge, so criminal cases become very difficult to fight on one’s own. A criminal defence lawyer can help get charges reduced or dropped, mitigate any punishment or repercussions, and sometimes get a criminal record cleared. At Chadi & Company, we listen to our clients and provide specific, attentive legal counsel based on the specifics of your case. There are many sides to a prohibited weapons case, and our lawyers build a defence to address every possible path to our clients’ freedom.

Skilled Edmonton Weapons Defence Lawyers

Chadi & Company is an award-winning criminal defence firm that has successfully defended countless clients against weapons charges and other serious offences in Edmonton and across Alberta. We thoroughly investigate your case to determine how to proceed in building your case while ensuring that you fully understand your rights and options throughout the criminal defence process. Book a free initial consultation with Chadi & Company by calling (780) 429-2300 or contact us online today. We are here to help.

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