Domestic Assault Lawyer

One of the most common types of offences our lawyers defend are criminal charges relating to domestic violence.  These “domestic” charges can include assault, uttering threats, theft, mischief to property, and any type of criminal offence that happens in a domestic context.

Domestic Violence: a common criminal charge, but a specialized area of law.

What makes a charge “domestic” is not an easy thing to pin down. That is because there is actually not a specific charge of “domestic assault” or “domestic violence” in the Criminal Code of Canada. Rather, charges of a “domestic nature” are considered an aggravating factor on sentencing under section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

“Domestic” can mean a relationship between a husband and wife, a parent and child, sexual partners, siblings, or even other more broadly defined “domestic” relationships. This is ultimately a decision for the Court to conclude as to whether or not a crime is “domestic” for the purpose of sentencing.

In addition to the specific feature of sentencing explained above, the provincial Crown Attorney offices and Courts of Ontario often treat charges in a different manner than other sorts of courts. For example, most Courthouses in Ontario have special “Doemstic Violence Courts” that are dedicated to these cases. Highly specialized Crown Attorneys and specifically trained judges are often set aside to prosecute and hear such cases.

Therefore, when facing specialized prosecutors, it would be highly advisable to hire a lawyer who is equally qualified and experienced in domestic violence cases.

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Call (416) 999-8389 and speak to an experienced lawyer in domestic violence. We can provide helpful information over the telephone, or in person.  All our initial consultations are without cost or obligation.

The challenges facing people charged with domestic violence:

Crown policies mandate a serious and aggressive approach to spousal abuse, or “domestic assault” charges.  As mentioned above, “domestic relationship” can mean conflicts between people in a girlfriend and boyfriend relationship, a wife or husband, common-law partners, same-sex partnership, children, parents, and even relatives.

For the purpose of prosecution, what qualifies as “domestic” violence or domestic assault is a matter of discretion left with the Crown’s office. For the purpose of sentencing (if convicted), what qualifies as “domestic” is left to the Court to determine.

In the prosecutorial context, once the Crown considers the case  “domestic” in nature, there is a heightened concern in their approach. This can mean a greater difficulty in obtaining bail, an inability to return home, and many other conditions of release that are often reserved for the most serious of offenders. The philosophy behind this approach is a concern that people abused by their domestic partner will return and inflict greater violence upon them. Although an obvious concern in some rarer cases, the Crown will consider all domestic violence as possible worse-case scenario where further violence is inevitable. You will need legal representation to deal with these difficulties effectively and you should call a lawyer immediately.

It is not up to the victim to withdraw the charges.

A common misconception in domestic charges, is that the “victim” (often called the “complainant”) decides whether to go ahead with the charges. This is false: it is the Crown and police who decide whether the charges will continue or not. The Crown will not withdraw the case simply because it is against the wishes of the “victim”.

Why you should hire an experienced lawyer for domestic assault, or domestic violence

There are many options available to someone charged with domestic violence, domestic violence, or other domestic related charged. An experienced lawyer can assist in explaining what it means to fight the charges, plead guilty, accept a peace bond, or other offers.

One very common program offered to people charged with domestic violence is “PARS” or an “Early Intervention” program. As enticing as it may seem at first reading, understanding the practical effects of these programs may not be what a person is after. A lawyer can break down the terms and consequences of the nature, consequences, and long-term benefits and pitfalls of these programs are often misunderstood by accused people.

Before accepting any Crown’s offer to enrol in such domestic violence programs, you should speak to a lawyer experienced in domestic related charges to appreciate the effects of any guilty plea. PARS programs may be right for some, but not for others.  It’s necessary to have an experienced criminal lawyer explain to you the consequences before accepting any sort of “deal” from the prosecution who have no obligation to take your interests into account.

Examples of our lawyers’ past experience in cases of domestic assault, uttering threats, and other domestic violence:

Domestic Assault Lawyer
Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Allegations: Girlfriend alleged that in the course of an argument, accused threw a chair at her and broke her knee cap. medical reports corroborated the injury but the judge was left in a reasonable doubt about her truthfulness about how the injury occurred and her testimony in general.

Result: Acquitted after a highly contested multi-day trial.

Charges: Assault, Threats, etc. Allegations: Accused and girlfriend got into a heated argument while driving. Client alleged to have assaulted complainant after she destroyed his vehicle. Injuries sustained to both parties and photographed by police.

Contested trial: Not Guilty.

Charges: Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm. Allegations that woman went over to boyfriend’s home in the morning to bring him food. Upon arrival, she discovers him in bed with another woman. A confrontation occurs between the two individuals and the female accused was alleged to have brandished a knife, threw a pie, and assaulted him with a shovel. Complainant attended hospital to have his injuries treated.

Result: All charges withdrawn.

Charges: Assault, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Failing to Comply with a Recognizance. Allegations: During the course of an argument where the accused insisted on being taken to the hospital, the complainant alleged that he struck her and caused injuries. Some time after being released on bail, the complainant further alleged that the accused contacted her in violation of his bail conditions to abstain from communicating with her.

Result: After a contested trial in Bradford, Ontario. Mr. M. was acquitted of the domestic assault allegations. On an earlier occasion, the charges of failing to comply with a recognizance were withdrawn on the day of trial.

Charges: Domestic Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Possession of a Weapon for a Purpose Dangerous to the Public Peace, Uttering Threats to Cause Death. Allegations: Woman was alleged to have got in a violent fight with her boyfriend that involved biting and injuries as a result, holding a knife up to his chest and threatening to kill him, and then throwing the knife at his back when he attempted to flee.

Result: Acquitted on all counts.

Charges: Assault, assault with a weapon, possession of weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, and threatening. Charges against spouse where accused is said to have threatened complainant with knife. Contested trial commenced. Result: Acquitted (not guilty) on all charges against spouse where accused is said to have threatened complainant with knife. Contested trial commenced.

Result: Acquitted (not guilty) on all charges.

Charges: Assault, Threatening Bodily Harm. Allegations: Accused alleged to have threatened and assaulted spouse. Accused is professional who could not end up with any sort of criminal record.

Result: Application brought on his behalf to stay charges for constitutional violations for delay. In the face of this application, Crown withdraws all charges.

Charges: Assault. Allegations: Woman alleged to have threatened partner with knife after it was believed he was cheating on her. Complainant was chased around apartment until police arrived.

Result: Charges withdrawn.

Charges: Assault. Allegations: Accused alleged to have thrown plate of food on wife after argument in the presence of his mother.

Result: Bail amended to return home. All charges withdrawn.

Charges: Assault With a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm. Allegations: Husband alleged to have hit wife in the shoulder with a rolling pin. Complainant attends police station and reports incident. Police take photographs of injuries and a video statement under oath. Complainant testifies at trial that assault occurred in the fashion described to police.

Result: Acquitted on all counts. After cross-examination, Crown concedes that it would be unsafe to rely on her testimony. Charges dismissed. Client did not testify.

Charges: Assault. Allegations laid as a private complaint. Complainant counter charged A.G. after she called police and laying multiple charges.

Result: All Charges withdrawn.

Charges: Assault. Allegations that pregnant accused assaulted boyfriend/father-to-be in the course of an argument.

Result: All Charges withdrawn.

Charges: Assault allegations against daughter. Charged with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

Result: Client pleads guilty to sole count of assault (included offence) and receives and absolute discharge

Charges: (domestic) Assault With a Weapon, Assault, Uttering Death Threats Allegations: While moving out of the family residence, Mr. B was alleged to have held a knife to the throat of his common law spouse in front of their young daughter. Police were called and Mr. B was arrested shortly thereafter.

Result: After waiting over 14 months to come to trial, an application was brought forward to stay the proceedings on the basis that Mr. B’s constitutional right to a trial within a reasonable time was breached. Application granted: charges stayed.

Charges: Aggravated Assault (domestic) Allegations: Boyfriend assaults girlfriend and girlfriend loses one of her teeth as a result.

Result: Charges withdrawn – section 810 peace bond entered into.

Charges: Uttering Death Threats (domestic). Allegations: Death threats made to spouse over the telephone and in person. Other threats made to family members of the spouse.

Result: Charges stayed – Constitutional argument raised and judge stayed charges pursuant to s.11(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Charges: Assault (domestic) Allegations: Assault upon girlfriend.

Result: Charges withdrawn.

Charges: Assault. Allegations: Boyfriend assaulted girlfriend.

Result: Charges withdrawn – section 810 peace bond entered into.

Charges: Assault. Allegations: Husband accused of assaulting and choking wife.

Result: Charges withdrawn – section 810 peace bond entered into.

Charges: Assault. Allegations: Boyfriend assaulted girlfriend.

Result: Not Guilty on All Counts.

DISCLAIMER: Every criminal case is unique and every case has it’s own challenges.  Past acquittals, withdrawals, or other favourable results our lawyers have achieved for our clients in allegations of sexual assault or sexual interference does not mean the same result can be obtained for present or future clients.  We look at each case with it’s own unique characteristics and fashion our approach on the individual, not the crime itself.

Our Lawyers’ Approach Towards Domestic Violence Cases:

Although based in Toronto, the lawyers at Robichaud’s travel throughout Ontario defending people charged with domestic allegations. As you can see from our history of cases on this page, we not only have considerable experience, but proven experience with very favourable results for our client’s.

Domestic violence allegations often have a profound effect on an accused.  They can affect family court proceedings, result in strict bail conditions, and affect child custody issues.  Our lawyers do everything we can to put our clients’ lives back together after they are charged.

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