Have you been charged with domestic assault? The scope of domestic assault includes all charges of assault between the accused and complainant involved in an intimate relationship. In addition to married partners, those involved in dating and common law relationships also fall into this category, regardless of opposite or same sex.
In Ontario, domestic assault laws are strictly enforced. Law enforcement can immediately lay charges against an individual on the spot, having done little investigation. Often the mere accusation of violence will provoke an arrest.
A charge of domestic assault differs significantly from a simple assault offence in Ontario. The assault of a household or family member is considered an “aggravating factor” during sentencing for convicted defendants, resulting in more severe judgements. Domestic assault conviction rates also tend to be much higher when compared to regular assault convictions, as charges are rarely ever dropped by prosecutors in domestic violence situations.
With respect to complainants being able to simply ‘drop’ charges of domestic assault, it’s in fact law enforcement who make the decision to charge individuals. And once charges have been laid by police, individuals don’t have the authority to dismiss or drop the charges, even if accusations were made frivolously in the heat of the moment.
Because jail time is always a possibility in domestic assault cases, ALL accusations, regardless of their merit, have to be taken seriously. As such, it’s critical for any individual involved in a domestic assault situation to reach out to a criminal defence lawyer for help immediately.
Common Domestic Assault Scenarios
Domestic assault situations often begin with a call being placed to police to request their intervention, with the expectation being that law enforcement will neutralize the dispute with their presence by simply responding to the call, and perhaps providing some mediation.
For most people who find themselves in this situation for the first time, the expectation is that the police will listen to their accounts of what happened and issue a warning before leaving.
Often people will make admissions of actions like grabbing, pushing or hitting, anticipating that the officer will empathize and urge them to exercise a greater degree of patience.
In actuality, the police will immediately get to work in isolating the parties to begin their investigation process. Law enforcement’s primary role in responding to domestic assault calls is not to mediate a dispute. It’s to gather enough information to charge one or more parties with a criminal offence. Police will ask a series of questions focused on the current situation and past history, and will more than likely lay charges based on their findings.
After police have gathered sufficient information from all involved parties, arrests will likely be made. Arrested parties are brought to the police station and often held for a bail hearing the following day. A court date is set to formally bring criminal charges.
The accused will have to find a new residence if their spouse or common law partner is the alleged victim in the domestic assault case. They may also have to live with a surety – an individual who acts as an accused person’s supervisor in the community while the case of the accused is before the courts. The surety must agree to take responsibility for the accused while they’re living within the community.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation and require help, it’s critical that you reach out to a criminal defence lawyer right away.
The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defence Lawyer
‘The right to remain silent’ is a right that should be exercised. Individuals are not required by law to give a statement to the police before speaking with a lawyer. It may seem like the appropriate thing to do in order to ensure your side of the story is being heard, but it can often lead to problematic complications for you.
Hiring a criminal defence lawyer is your most effective means of ensuring access to fair treatment in the legal system. An experienced, professional criminal lawyer will advise you of all of your rights and know what all your legal options and best strategies are, and they can represent you by advocating on your behalf to earn you the best possible results.
A strong criminal defence lawyer provides you with the best option to defend yourself and successfully navigate the legal system. Critical decisions will have to be made, and an established lawyer will draw on their experience to create the best defence strategy for your personal situation – a negotiated resolution, or going to trial. And if going to trial is the selected course of action, the right criminal defence lawyer will effectively prepare you for trial by knowing the best defence to present based on your unique circumstances.
If you’ve been charged with assault in relation to a domestic relationship, contact me immediately for a free consultation. I blend a professional approach with more than a decade of successful criminal defence experience to get the very best results for my clients. While I predominantly provide representation throughout the Greater Toronto Area, including Newmarket, Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, King City, Aurora, Burlington, Oakville, and Milton, I also represent individuals across the entire province of Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, and as far south as Windsor.
If you have been charged with domestic assault contact me immediately. 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