While there is no specific offence for domestic assault in the Criminal Code of Canada, assault charges that are domestic in nature are taken very seriously by the police, the Crown Attorney’s Office, and our courts. One reason why domestic assault charges are taken seriously is because of how widespread the problem of domestic violence is in this country. Most Crown Attorney Offices now have lawyers designated to deal exclusively with domestic assault cases.
Getting charged with domestic assault and being convicted for a domestic assault can have very serious and long lasting consequences. If you have been arrested and charged with domestic assault, you need to know what you have to do to successful defend your charges and avoid receiving a criminal record.
Speak to a Criminal Lawyer
While this might seem like an obvious thing to do, it is amazing how many people still do not exercise their right to speak with a lawyer when they have been charged with domestic assault. Anytime you are arrested, you have several fundamental rights afforded to you under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the right to speak to a lawyer without delay.
A criminal lawyer will be in the best position to provide you with immediate legal advice upon you being arrested and charged with domestic assault. For example, you have a right not to make a statement to the police, and it is always recommended that you exercise that right and remain silent. While the police may tell you that this is your chance to tell them your side of the story, the reality is that whatever you tell the police is not going to change your situation or result in the charges being withdrawn. Click here for more information on the Challenges of Getting Domestic Assault Charges Withdrawn.
When you are arrested and charged with domestic assault it is very likely that you will be held for a bail hearing. By exercising your right and speaking with a criminal lawyer, a lawyer can advise about a bail hearing and what you need know and what you need to do to ensure you are granted bail. A lawyer may also be able to contact a friend or family member who can act as your Surety and speak with the Crown Attorney to negotiate the terms of your release.
Comply with Your Bail Conditions
Once the Court has granted you bail and you are released from custody, it is very important that you comply with your bail conditions. Anytime you fail to comply with your bail conditions, you are subject to further criminal charges. If you are arrested and charged with failing to comply with your bail conditions, you are going to be held for another bail hearing, and this time the onus is on you to prove to the court why you should be granted bail again. Being charged with domestic assault is already bad enough; you do not need to make things worse by being charged with failing to comply with your bail conditions.
Complying with your bail conditions requires that you understand your bail conditions. For example, anytime you are charged with domestic assault one of your bail conditions will be that you not have any communication or contact, directly or indirectly with your partner or spouse. This means that you cannot use a third party to contact or communicate with your partner or spouse. It also means that you cannot post messages on Facebook or Twitter directed at your spouse or partner and knowing that he or she is likely to see those messages.
Understanding your bail conditions is essential to ensuring you comply with them. A criminal defence lawyer will be able to explain all your bail conditions to you, which brings us to the third thing you need to know if you have been arrested and charged with domestic assault: Hiring a Criminal Defence Lawyer.
Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer
It is always recommended that you hire a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait to hire a lawyer, the more opportunity there is for something to wrong. There are a couple benefits to hiring a lawyer right away. First, when you hire a lawyer you have immediate access to legal advice and someone with experience dealing with these types of charges. Understanding the criminal justice system and how a criminal charge proceeds through our courts can be confusing and overwhelming. By hiring a lawyer you can get answers to all the questions you have about your charges and how they will be dealt with. Hiring a lawyer right away also allows a lawyer to appear in court on the first court date so that you don’t have to.
Hiring a criminal defence lawyer will also give you the best opportunity to successfully defend your charges. A lawyer will know how to negotiate a resolution on your behalf and know whether you should go to trial or not. If you choose not to go to trial or it is best that you do not go to trial, then a lawyer will also know what you need to do in order to resolve your domestic assault charges, including whether you need to attend counselling, complete volunteer work or any other requirements that may be necessary. If you do go to trial, a lawyer will know how to prepare you for trial, what questions to ask each witness, what witnesses to call, what defences to present, and how to advocate for you. Click here for more information on Domestic Assault Trials.
Simply put, when you hire a criminal defence lawyer, you are hiring someone to advise you of your rights, what your legal options are, someone to advocate on your behalf and achieve the best possible result for you, and also someone to guide you through the criminal justice system and ensure you are treated fairly.
Domestic assault charges can have very serious consequences. As a result of being charged with domestic assault, you will not be able to return home. If you have children, this can also have an impact on them. Your bail conditions can also make it more difficult for you to see your children while you are on bail. A conviction for a domestic assault can result in a criminal record, the loss of your employment, can prevent you from getting certain types of jobs in the future, and could prevent you from travelling to the United States.
Only Speak with Your Lawyer about Your Charges
It is not to your benefit to speak with anyone about your charges except your lawyer. Only if your lawyer advises you to speak with another individual about your charges should you do so. Family members, friends, co-workers, etc., are not going to be able to resolve your charges or get them withdrawn. Talking about your domestic assault charges with other individuals only draws more attention to you and your charges, and you cannot control whether a friend, family member of co-worker tells anyone else about your charges. While it may not seem fair or right, the reality is that many people will often view you and treat you differently if they know you have been charged with a criminal offence.
Write Down Your Version of the Events
While it is never recommended that you provide the police with a statement, it can be very helpful if you write down your version of the events as soon as possible after you have been released from jail. Over time memory fades, and writing down your version of the events can help you recall exactly what happened at a later date. Do not share this documentation with anyone except your lawyer, and make sure no one else can access this information.
If you have been charged with domestic assault contact me immediately and arrange a free consultation. I will explain to you;
- what your legal rights are
- what your options are
- what is the best and worst case scenario
- what I recommend you do
- how much it could cost to resolve your charges