A domestic violence or domestic assault conviction can result in jail time and a criminal record, leading to future challenges such as employment, travel restrictions, and perhaps most importantly, it may result in not being able to see your children or fulfill an active role in their lives.
Domestic can mean a relationship between married or non married partners, a parent and child, sexual partners, siblings, or other more broadly defined domestic relationships.
Police will usually lay charges when they receive a complaint of domestic violence. Until your charge has been dealt with in court, you will be prohibited from having contact with the complainant and possibly even your children.
There is a common misconception in domestic charges that the charges will be withdrawn if the complainant no longer wants to press charges. That is not the case. The Crown and police are the ones who decide whether they will proceed with the charges or not. The Crown will not withdraw the case simply because the complainant wants them to.
Domestic Violence and Domestic Assault
In order to secure a conviction of domestic violence, the Crown must prove its domestic violence or family violence case beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that allegations occurred in a domestic relationship would be an aggravating factor on sentence.
Domestic violence charges can be laid as any form of assault, criminal harassment, uttering threats and forcible confinement.
If you have a restraining order against you in a domestic violence case which prohibits contact with your family, a criminal lawyer can assist in having the order lifted in a court of law, should circumstances warrant it.
The Criminal Code also contains special provisions that serve to protect victims of domestic violence.
The criminal defence lawyers at LZZ have extensive experience successfully defending against all types of domestic assault related allegations. If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic assault you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately to help determine the best defence. Call us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Common Questions Regarding Domestic Offences
Will my charges get withdrawn if the complainant advises the Crown they no longer want to proceed with the criminal charges?
No. Just because the complainant no longer wants to proceed with the charges or wants to recant their statement does not mean the Crown will automatically withdraw the charges. Although the Crown often seeks complainant input when deciding how to proceed with domestic charges, they do not have to withdraw the charges just because the complainant has asked them to or the complainant is no longer willing to participate.
Can I talk to the complainant to convince them to drop the charges?
No. You are unable to speak to the complainant either directly, or indirectly, for the duration of your criminal matter. Although there may be some exceptions to this, generally someone charged with a domestic offence cannot speak with the complainant until their charges are dealt with.
Why can I not talk to the complainant?
You cannot talk to your partner because you will be bound by a no-contact order for the duration of your criminal proceedings. If you contact your partner, either directly or indirectly, you may be charged with an additional criminal offence.
Can my partner talk to me?
Yes, they are able to contact you. However, you are restricted from contacting or responding to them.
What do I do if my partner contacts me?
You have to ignore them. You cannot respond to your partner through any form of communication.
When can I talk to my partner?
You will be able to speak with your partner once your criminal matter has been taken care of. If your sentence includes probation, you may be unable to contact your partner until you are completed probation as well.
What if the complainant and I have children together?
It is possible to be granted an exception to the non-communication order to allow communication with the complainant only for matters related to childcare. However, it is best that a neutral third-party assists in making any necessary childcare arrangements.
Can I see my children?
Likely, yes. This depends on the conditions of your bail. Typically, arrangements can be made to have contact or communication with your children through a mutually agreed upon third party.
Will I get a criminal record if I am convicted of a domestic assault?
The answer depends on the facts of your matter and whether or not you have a criminal record or a history of domestic related offences. After reviewing your matter, the lawyers at LZZ will be able to advise you about the likelihood of a criminal conviction.
Will I go to jail for a domestic assault?
It is possible. Whether or not you will be sentenced to jail is dependent on several factors, including, but not limited to, the seriousness of the allegations, your criminal record (including any previous convictions for domestic assault), and if the complainant chooses to cooperate with the police and Crown.
Does the complainant have to show up to court?
If the Crown subpoenas them to attend court, yes. If the complainant does not attend court, they may be charged with a criminal offence.
Can my lawyer give legal advice to the complainant?
No, your lawyer cannot properly represent you and provide legal advice to the complainant. However, the lawyers at LZZ will refer the complainant to another lawyer who would be able to assist them with any questions they may have.