Domestic assault is one of the most common criminal charges in this country. They are treated with the utmost severity because of the impact they have on the victim and any possible children involved. In Canada, 26% of all reported violent crimes are a result of family violence. As far as intimate partner violence is concerned, 79% of the victims are women.
In Ontario, a majority of court houses have domestic assault courts with specially qualified lawyers and judges just to attend to these cases. The factors due to which a charge is classified as “domestic” aren’t easy to lay out precisely. The Criminal Code of Canada typically views it as one that occurs within the purview of a domestic relationship.
If you find yourself charged with an offense of this nature, we recommend contacting a domestic assault lawyer immediately. Even if no crime has been committed, police tend to make an arrest when responding to alleged incidences of domestic violence.
John Erickson is a qualified criminal defense lawyer in Toronto who can help you fight the allegations and negotiate a resolution with the Crown Attorney. Timely legal intervention makes all the difference between a conviction and an exoneration.
Domestic Assault Definition
What is domestic assault? Domestic assault is based on the relation between the complainant and the accused. Within the context of a domestic relationship, it could be a spouses, common law partners, parent and child, unmarried sexual partners, and siblings amongst others. To give a sentence, the court examines these factors to determine if the crime is “domestic.”
What to Expect When Police Respond to an Incident
Domestic assault allegations are usually treated with considerable severity, given the repercussions that these crimes have. When left unchecked, these crimes increase the normality of abuse in our society, create power imbalances between the sexes, risk the violence escalating and impact children who witness it.
When police are called in to intervene in a domestic assault incident, they first interview the alleged victim, the accused and other witnesses. After taking each person’s statement, if the police decide that reasonable grounds exist of the offense having occurred, they make an arrest. The accused is held until their bail hearing. Additionally, if the victim has endured any injuries, photographic evidence will be taken and the victim will be hospitalized if need be.
In certain cases, the victim may be put in touch with the Victim Witness Assistance Program if there are safety concerns. If children are involved, the Children’s Aid Society may provide the needed support.
Repercussions of a Conviction
- A domestic assault conviction creates negative ripples in your personal and professional life.
- Experience a decrease in career opportunities
- Receive a court injunction that restricts contact with family members
- Receive court orders dealing with child custody and access
- Defray significant penalties
- Be closed off to immigration and citizenship opportunities
- Be closed off to careers in law enforcement or working with vulnerable citizens (seniors and children)
- Lose your reputation within the community
- Face travel bans and/or travel restrictions
Penalties and Jail Time
What is the average jail sentence for domestic violence? Those found guilty of a domestic assault can face up to 5 years behind bars. For minor assault involving first-time offenders, there is a possibility of foregoing jail time altogether.
Prosecutors may suggest domestic violence programs that the convicted individual must complete in order to receive a lighter sentence. In some cases, the defendant’s lawyer may negotiate a withdrawal of charges if the defendant pays restitution or attends counseling. Because of the severity of these crimes, such outcomes are rare. Restitution serves as compensation to the victim. It can be a part of the offender’s sentence or a standalone order. A judge may issue a restitution order to cover the following damages;
Lost or damaged property due to the crime. Physical or psychological injury sustained by the victim during the crime (this also includes loss of income). Expenses for temporary housing, food, transportation and childcare. Costs of the victim enduring non-consensual online exposure of any intimate images during the proceedings
Can assault charges be dropped by the victim? It’s not up to the victim to drop these charges. The Crown gets to decide whether the charges will continue or be withdrawn.
One possible resolution for a domestic assault charge is a statutory or common law peace bond. These will require the offender to follow specific court-issued orders for a certain time. This may include not contacting the complainant, attending counseling and exhibiting good behavior. Based on how well the offender abides by these orders, the Crown may withdraw the criminal charges.
Charged With Domestic Assault?
Seek Qualified Legal Intervention Without Delay Assault charges are treated with considerable severity in Canada. If convicted, the offender stands to face several personal and professional consequences. John Erickson has been a practicing criminal defense lawyer in Toronto for nearly 20 years and knows the process like clockwork. To take advantage of his proven record of success and affordable legal counsel, call (416) 363-3612.