Domestic violence has gained much attention in the media in recent years and it is generally believed that domestic assault is a widespread problem throughout Canada and the rest of the world. Domestic assault is a “zero-tolerance” crime and family violence is taken even more seriously than stranger violence. It is mandatory for police and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute every allegation and 911 call to report domestic violence, assault and abuse, without discrimination. Even if all you had was a loud spousal argument, if a neighbor called the police you may be arrested and charged with domestic violence. The police are not authorized to use their discretion. Crown prosecutors and the police are under pressure to take any and all charges of domestic assault very seriously. Following a report of domestic violence, you may be forced to spend a few days in jail and prohibited from contacting your spouse or children. You need to immediately call a domestic violence criminal defence lawyer.
There are a few things you need to know if you are arrested and charged with domestic assault. There is no specific provision for domestic assault in Canada’s Criminal Code. Instead, domestic assault is included within general assault charges.
Under section 265 of the Criminal Code, a person commits an assault when,
- they apply force intentionally to another person, directly or indirectly, without the consent of the other person;
- or they attempt or threaten, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if they cause that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that they have the ability to carry out their purpose;
- or they accost or impede another person, while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or something that appears to be a weapon.Definition of Domestic Assault
Domestic assault is a form of assault and is defined as an assault against a family or an assault against an intimate partner. Domestic assault includes, but is not limited to, threatening death or bodily harm, murder, criminal harassment or any type of sexual assault.
The penalties for being convicted of domestic assault can be severe depending on the individual situation, but even if found guilty, we can argue for a discharge of the conviction and removal of your criminal record. We can also argue for your sentence to be suspended and you could receive probation.
In certain situations, a person found guilty of domestic assault may be ordered to pay a fine and sentenced to prison. More serious domestic charges like those where bodily injury is proven or a child’s welfare was put in danger carry more severe penalties.
Why Hire a Domestic Assault Defence Lawyer?
As surprising as it may seem, a person may not know that they need to hire a criminal defence lawyer if they are charged with domestic assault. Here are just a few reasons why you should.
Protect Your Charter Rights
If you are arrested and charged with domestic assault you must exercise your right to remain silent. The police and investigators will do everything in their power to get a confession from you by goading you into telling your side of the story. If you speak with them, the prosecution will use your statements in court against you. Nothing good can come from sharing information with the police and it certainly won’t change their mind or cause them to dismiss the charges. Only an experienced domestic assault defence lawyer knows how to deal with prosecutors and the police at the crucial initial phase of your arrest. Always remember that you have a right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to consult with a criminal defence lawyer and that’s what you should do. Do not speak with the police, investigators, family, friends or the media about your arrest or anything else.
Representation at the Bail Hearing
A domestic assault criminal defence lawyer can work with you to prepare effectively for your bail hearing. We can negotiate the terms of your bail and release with the Crown prosecutor and also contact any friend or relative that you trust to act as your surety. We will help you to fully understand the terms of your release so that you don’t complicate matters by failing to comply.
Preparing a Solid Defence
As your trusted legal advisers, we will ask you questions and listen carefully to your side of the story. Domestic assault charges and sentencing can be confusing and it is essential that you understand the exact charges and the minimum and maximum penalties that you are facing. Only when we are fully informed of the unique facts of your case, will we recommend a course of action to take. It may be possible to resolve the sexual assault charges against you without having to go to court, or perhaps it might be in your best interests to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Rest assured that if you choose to go to trial, we will leave no stone unturned in preparing your case, relentlessly gathering evidence to support your innocence, and presenting a zealous defence on your behalf. When you hire the experienced criminal defence lawyers at Kruse Law, you are not only being represented by knowledgeable and experienced lawyers, but also by lawyers who care about the outcome of your case and in ensuring that all of your legal rights are upheld.